28 January 2016 at 12.15pm | 6 Comments
In 2011, prior to the premiere of Richard Jones’ subsequently acclaimed production of Puccini's Il Trittico, Conductor and Music Director of The Royal Opera Antonio Pappano presented an Insight event focused around two of the three operas, Il tabarro and Suor Angelica.
‘He was always searching for a reason to create a different canvas with each opera', says Pappano. 'Tosca sounds completely different from La bohème; La bohème sounds completely different from Manon Lescaut.'
Antonio Pappano on Il tabarro
‘The idea of repeated bits of music, is akin to a groove in pop music or a riff in jazz music', says Pappano.
The second of these techniques is parallelism - the parallel movement of two or more chords. 'It is one of the most important devices Debussy created', says Pappano. The harmonic variation this creates is one of the ways in which the music depicts the 'seedy' dock-side setting of Il tabarro. Throughout the one-act opera, there's a sense of undulation, the feeling of water, there’s even sounds of a tugboat.'
Antonio Pappano on Suor Angelica
In Suor Angelica, Puccini builds the anticipation of seeing the lead characters through off-stage singing and bell-like melodies, a device regularly employed by the composer thoughout his works:
'It's almost a zen feel', said Pappano. 'You hear this voice from off-stage, from afar. You also hear [music like] bird-song using piccolo off-stage. It's such a tender and sweet atmosphere'.
For Pappano it is not simply the musical techniques that hypnotise the audience but Puccini’s ability to employ them around the stage and draw the audience in. 'Puccini was a fantastic theatre man', says the conductor.
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Il trittico runs 25th February - 15th March. Tickets are still available.