For Judith Barnes,
founder and artistic director of Vertical Player Repertory, which
specializes in performing rarely-heard operatic works, presenting
a piece by the composer of "La Boheme" and "Madama
Butterfly" is a no-brainer.
"I think it’s a great piece," Barnes says about "Il
Tabarro," the one-act that Puccini originally penned as
part of an operatic triptych, "Il Trittico." Vertical
Player Rep will stage "Il Tabarro" beginning Jan. 27.
The tragic opera, which is a hard-hitting, dramatic portrait
of a marriage irrevocably ruined by the death of a child, is,
according to Barnes, "so compact. It describes the psychology
of its characters vividly and realistically and describes this
troubled marriage in very powerful, humanistic terms."
Although the libretto is better than most operatic fare, it’s
Puccini’s music that, as usual, is the drawing card.
"The score is very hypnotic," explains Barnes, who
sings the wounded wife Giorgetta in this production, opposite
baritone Zurab Ninua, as the husband Michele. (The performers
are pictured above.) "It’s hypnotically powerful as it builds
to its climax."
The relative obscurity of "Il Tabarro" puzzles the
"It may not be as sentimental as ’Boheme’ to my ear,"
admits Barnes, "but it’s accessible and there are great
"Il Tabarro" takes place on a small Parisian barge,
"which is good for us," Barnes admits. "Some works
are suited to smaller spaces - and this helps to make it very
confining and claustrophobic."
Even if you see "Il Tabarro" this month or next, Vertical
Player Repertory hopes you see it again this summer, when the
company plans to stage it on a real barge, outdoors.
Barge Opera, anyone?
Puccini’s "Il Tabarro" is performed by Vertical Player
Repertory at 219 Court St. between Warren and Wyckoff streets
in Boerum Hill, Jan. 27 and Feb.3 at 8 pm and Jan. 29 and Feb.
5 at 4 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. For more
information, call (212) 539-2696.
Updated 4:00 pm, November 10, 2010