Let us start with what was WRONG with this evening. It wasn't the performance itself, but rather other happenings. It started with the ROH box office informing that my programme voucher that was supposed to have been posted to me ahead of the performance (a novel idea, I know) which hadn't turned up could not be used this evening. They did have the ability to print me another, but wouldn't as they claimed I could have returned and used on another evening. This didn't sit too well with me and resulted in a mini argument with the box office staff, namely over why they would even give you the option to have a voucher posted to you that couldn't arrive in time for the intended performance. Not off to a good start.
The second negative experience came in the form of the audience themselves. Not to be rude, but those attending last nights performance of Il trittico were the epitome of opera goers. Namely, geriatric millionaires who are on the brink of death who probably live in west London and shout at each other about the time they saw the perfect 'Trittico' in 1965 with Tito Gobi. If they didn't fall into this category they were middle aged Hampstead residents who have probably been dragged to the ROH from a young age and know nothing else in life. There were some exceptional characters up in the gods with me and my friend. The most repulsive being the obese gentleman who took up at least one seat he hadn't paid for due to his size and leapt up at the end of each performance and SCREAMED 'Tado' at the top of his voice. I think what he was trying to say was 'Bravo'...He had a lovely habit during the interval of exclaiming 'excuse me!' at the top of his voice and then bumping out of the way with his beer gut before you could even move. Some toes were also crushed under his immensity due to a lack of time to actually move out of the way of his body mass. The gentleman sat next to me was also a joy. An angry little man who irritatingly pointed out that I was partially sat in his seat and could i move down. To which i asked where exactly he wanted me to move down to since there was no actual space left (due to Mr Bravo down the row i expect). Anyway, i eventually managed to squeeze up a bit, which still didn't please him, so i kindly pointed out where his seat began and mine ended and that there was no more room to move into.
Anyway. Despite these human disasters, the evening was largely enjoyable. Il trittico is a rarely performed trio of operas by Puccini: Il tabarro; Sour Angelica; Gianni Schicchi. Each are an exploration of a different aspect of human emotion. I won't go into depth, read about it yourself or even better go and see it! Il tabarro is especially dark, dealing with a husband and wife and the wife's lover. Needless to say it ends very, very badly for all involved. Sour Angelica is especially emotive. the tale of a nun, Sister Angelica, who learns of the death of her son who was taken from her years before. It ends in tragedy and suicide and has some moving arias. The lead in this opera was pretty exceptional. Gianni Schicchi is on a much lighter note. The story of a man who dies leaving all his belongings to a local monestry near Florence and the family's extreme disappointment over this. What ensues is a farcical attempt to get the will re-written to leave everything to the family members. Enter wide boy Gianni Schicchi, who comes up with a cunning plan to draw up a new will which ends up backfiring in the bickering family's face. Set in the 1960s for this production, it was a genuine joy to watch and a happy way to end the night!
Overall I really enjoyed Il trittico. It was an emotional roller-coaster with some great tunes and three very different stories. Two thumbs up from me, and thank god the show was good - it would have been a total disaster if that had been as shocking as the audience and the start of the evening!
Summary: If you have time before the end of the month this is worth checking out. It's actually a good option for an opera novice as it offers up three different aspects of opera.