Il tabarro / Il castello del Principe Barbablù
This season, the Teatro Costanzi in Rome is presenting a rare double bill that includes two legendary composers – Giacomo Puccini and Béla Bartók – and some of their darkest works. Il tabarro and Il castello del Principe Barbablù, two unique one-act operas, paint violent and fearful scenes with musical mastery and dramatic flair. Together, the two pieces produce a distinctively ominous atmosphere that will frighten people of all ages. Audiences of Teatro dell’Opera di Roma are in for a thrilling experience.
Il tabarro, also known as The Cloak in English, was one of three one-act operas in Puccini's ‘trittico’, which made its debut at the New York Metropolitan Opera on 14 December 1918. Giuseppe Adami's libretto was based on Didier Gold's play La houppelande. A classic love triangle drives the action between the barge owner Michele, his young wife Giorgetta, and her lover and barge worker Luigi. Because his wife has been acting out of character, Michele feels more and more unsure of her fidelity. When hard times force staff reductions, Giorgetta springs to Luigi’s defence, increasing her husband’s suspicions. As the lovers plan their escape, Michele remembers how his cloak could hide both Giorgetta and their son, now tragically deceased. As fate would have it, other bodies are about to find their way under the barge owner’s spacious cloak.
Then comes the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's Il castello del Principe Barbablú (or Duke Bluebeard's Castle in English). It debuted on 24 May 1918 at the Royal Hungarian Opera House in Budapest. Coming from Charles Perrault’s fairy tale La Barbe bleue, Béla Balázs developed the libretto. We are introduced to the two main characters: Duke Bluebeard and his new wife Judith. Darkness permeates every area of the Duke’s palace as he welcomes the young lady in. Judith, guided by equal parts curiosity and genuine love for her husband, insists on letting more light in and opening the castle’s seven secret doors. Although she discovers blood-soaked scenes and disturbing sights, she perseveres until the final shocking discovery makes her want to leave. Sadly, it is all too late. Teatro Costanzi stages two classic horror stories by the great Puccini and Bartók this season.