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Mascagni Zanetto & Puccini Gianni Schicchi

Opera Holland Park, London 26 June 2012

Zanetto – opera in one act to a libretto by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti & Guido Menasci after an Italian translation by Emilio Paga of Francois Coppée's play Le Passant

Silvia – Janice Watson Zanetto – Patricia Orr

Gianni Schicchi – Opera in one act to a libretto by Giovacchino Forzano after a pasage from Dante Alighieri’s narrative poem Commedia Part 1: Inferno

Gianni Schicchi – Alan Opie Lauretta – Anna Patalong Zita – Carole Wilson Rinuccio – Jung Soo Yun Gherardo – Neal Cooper Nella – Sarah Redgwick Betto – Simon Wilding Simone – William Robert Allenby Marco – Charles Johnston La Ciesca – Catrin Johnsson Master Spinelloccio – Aidan Smith Amantio di Nicolao – John Lofthouse Gherardino – Niall Windass Pinellino – Dickon Gough Guccio – Mark Spyropoulos

City of London Sinfonia/Manlio Benzi
Martin Lloyd-Evans – Director
Susannah Henry – Designe [Zanetto Set L]

A buzz of anticipation before OHP's novelty of the year, a not-quite one-acter by Mascagni, really a forgettable trifle, a mere sketch. A rich courtesan (Silvia, mezzo) dallies with a Cherubino-like young man (soprano) who enters dramatically by shattering her glass door, repeatedly puts down and picks up his "lute" but doesn't bother to tidy up the mess. At the end she sends him packing, then wistfully fondles a shard of the glass, but does nothing with it. Finis. (It prompts a good witty essay Not the marrying kind in the lavish programme book, about operatic nuptial opinions.)

Gianni Schicchi can't fail, and it didn't with a curmudgeonly Alan Opie as Schicchi, Anna Patalong his chaming daughter and Jung Soo Yun her forthright wooer, and Martin Lloyd-Evans (director of Guildhall Schools marvellously original Midsummer Night's Dream recently) to organise the mourning relatives.

Not a great evening, but worthwhile for an annual visit to Kensington's opera in a tent.

Peter Grahame Woolf