Tabarro, Il (The Cloak)
  • Giacomo Puccini. Opera in one act. 1916.
  • Libretto by Giuseppe Adami, after the play La Houppelande (The Great-Coat) by Didier Gold.
  • First performance at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, on 14th December 1918.
CHARACTERS

Michele, a barge-owner, aged 50

baritone

Giorgetta, his wife, aged 25

soprano

Luigi, a stevedore, aged 20

tenor

Tinca, a stevedore, aged 35

tenor

Talpa, a stevedore, aged 55

bass

Frugola, his wife, aged 50

mezzo-soprano

On a barge moored in the Seine in Paris, Giorgetta suggests that Michele should offer the stevedores a drink, as they finish their work. In her husband’s absence she dances with the men, most closely with Luigi, but dancing stops as Michele returns. They all have their dreams and Michele approaches Giorgetta with the plea that they renew their love for each other. She, however, has planned to meet Luigi. Michele sees her still dressed and is suspicious. He lights his pipe, unwittingly giving the signal agreed between Giorgetta and Luigi, who now steals aboard, to be strangled by the wronged husband. Michele hides the body under his cloak, and when his wife comes to him, asking him to warm her under his cloak, he opens it, to reveal the body of her lover.

Il tabarro is the first of the trilogy Il trittico (The Triptych), with Gianni Schicchi and Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica). The three form an interesting contrast of comedy and tragedy.