Seattle Opera presents Puccini’s Suor Angelica

Photo by Teatro Verdi Trieste photo courtesy of Seattle Opera
Photo by Teatro Verdi Trieste photo courtesy of Seattle Opera

(Photo by Teatro Verdi Trieste photo, courtesy of Seattle Opera)

Puccini’s one-act Suor Angelica is not an opera I was much acquainted with before researching this article. Puccini is a master at presenting deep emotions set to sublime music. After listening to the music from the opera I discovered that Suor Angelica is no exception to that rule.

Check out the track: “The Princess Narrative” on this link (the introduction starts first, simply choose the next track): http://www.seattleopera.org/_audio/angelica_01.aspx

The Seattle Opera is presenting the premiere of two very interesting works, both short works that explore the fates of women who must come to grips with grave disappointment. In Poulenc’s sensual, captivating 40-minute monodrama called “La Voix Humaine” (literal translation human voice, but interpreted as “One Woman’s Voice”), a desperate woman is shunned by her lover over the telephone and stumbles through a minefield of emotions towards an unknown fate. In Puccini’s sentimental one act Suor Angelica, a noble-born woman who has joined a convent is disowned by her family, takes poison in despair, and miraculously passes into a state of grace.

For more information on the production, here is the link: http://seattleopera.org/tickets/production.aspx?productionID=123

Mezzo Soprano Rosalind Plowright is The Princess in Suor Angelica. Photo courtesy of Seattle Opera © Teatro Massimo, Palermo
Mezzo Soprano Rosalind Plowright is The Princess in Suor Angelica. Photo courtesy of Seattle Opera © Teatro Massimo, Palermo

(Mezzo Soprano Rosalind Plowright is The Princess in Suor Angelica. Photo courtesy of Seattle Opera © Teatro Massimo, Palermo)

According to the summary in Wikipedia, Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica) is an opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an original Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano. It is the second opera of the trio of operas known as Il trittico (Triptych). It received its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on December 14, 1918. So, this opera has a close connection with America, which is what sparked my interest in writing about it.

Photo of Soprano Nuccia Focile by Alan Alabastro courtesy of Seattle Opera
Photo of Soprano Nuccia Focile by Alan Alabastro courtesy of Seattle Opera

(Photo of Soprano Nuccia Focile by Alan Alabastro courtesy of Seattle Opera)

The Soprano, Nuccia Focile that is singing “La Voix Humaine” is Sicilian and she sings the entire opera in French ( with English subtitles). It is a huge challenge to sustain such an intense role. For those of you that are not aware, Sicily has been the cross-roads of many cultures, and therefore many languages. It is not uncommon for people of that region to speak multiple languages, including French. Here is a video clip of the opera: http://seattleopera.org/tickets/2012-2013/humaine/videos.aspx

I was privileged to interview Nuccia and get her perspective both on her role in “La Voix Humaine”, which she sings but also get her perspective on her career. Here is the link to the interview with Nuccia Focile:http://www.madeinitalymall.com/blog/interview-with-sicilian-soprano-nuccia-focile

Ci vediamo all’opera. Allons a l’opéra.

Lina

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