21 Dec 2008

PUCCINI: Suor Angelica — La Scala 2008

Suor Angelica: Opera in one act (no.2 of Il trittico).

Composed by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano.

First Performance: 14 December 1918, Metropolitan Opera, New York

Principal Roles:
Suor Angelica Soprano
La Zia Principessa [The Princess, her aunt] Contralto
La Badessa [The Abbess] Mezzo-Soprano
La Suora Zelatrice [The Monitress] Mezzo-Soprano
La Maestra delle Novizie [The Mistress of the novices] Mezzo-Soprano
Suor Genoveffa Soprano
Suor Osmina Soprano
Suor Dolcina Soprano
La suora infermiera [The nursing sister] Mezzo-Soprano
Le cercatrici [The alms sisters] Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano
Le novizie [The novices] Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano
Le converse [The lay sisters] Soprano and Mezzo-Soprano

Setting:The courtyard of a convent, towards the end of the 17th century


As the nuns talk and attend to their duties, the question of earthly desires is raised. Suor Genovieffa confesses that she would love to hold a lamb again and Suor Dolcina longs for rich food. Suor Angelica says that she has no unfulfilled wishes, but her colleagues do not believe her, as they know she has been longing to hear from her noble family for seven years, since she had been forced to enter the convent. One of the sisters has been stung by a wasp and Angelica, who has extensive herbal know-ledge, provides the appropriate medication. Two nuns who have been out in the world in search of food report that a fine carriage is outside the gates, but are unable to answer Angelica’s questions about its coat of arms. She is summoned by the abbess: her aunt the princess has come to see her, not from sympathy but because, as the legal guardian of Angelica and her sister Anna Viola, she needs Angelica’s signature to a document. Anna Viola is to be married, to a man, she adds harshly, who has forgiven the stain on the family honor caused by Angelica’s sin.

Angelica longs for news of her baby son, but is told that he had died. Left alone in her grief, she mixes a fatal brew and drinks it. Realising that she has committed a mortal sin, she prays for forgiveness. As she dies she sees a vision of the Virgin leading her child to her.

[Synopsis Source: Opera~Opera]

Click here for the complete libretti of Il trittico.