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Introduction

Giorgetta, the wife of Michele, a Parisian barge owner, has fallen in love with Luigi, one of her husband’s stevedores. Michele’s growing suspicion and jealousy lead him to violent action.

Background

Giacomo Puccini’s triptych of operas, Il trittico, opens with Il tabarro (The Cloak) – a taut melodrama set in working-class Paris. It is based on the play La Houppelande by the French playwright Didier Gold, which Puccini saw in 1912. The libretto was created by Giuseppe Adami, with whom Puccini also collaborated on La rondine.

Il tabarro opens with an evocation of the rippling waters of the Seine – a musical motif that runs throughout the opera. The river is also powerfully represented in Utz’s stage designs, which re-create the moored barges and tall, soot-blackened buildings lining the Seine. The Royal Opera’s production opened in 2011 as part of the first complete staging of Il trittico at Covent Garden since 1965.

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