The video below presents the telecast of Puccini’s Il Tabarro. The performance by the Metropolitan Opera was on November 14, 1981. The cast is also below. The recording was apparently made from a home TV. The sound and picture quality are marginable, but just north of acceptable. I doubt the Met will have YouTube take the recording down, but just in case a link to the audio of the performance is also given.

This is a very good performance. Renata Scotto, who also sang the other two soprano leads, in this staging of Puccini’s Trittico was at least 20 years to old for the part and the TV closeups. But she was a very convincing Giorgetta both vocally (excepting one screamed high C) and dramatically. Her’s was a restrained impersonation compared to that of Teresa Stratas who assumed the role latter in the decade.

Romanian tenor Vasile Moldoveanu looked the part of the boat-hand Luigi. He had a pleasant tenor, but his problem which characterized his work was a dry and strained top register.

The great American baritone Cornell MacNeil was well past his prime in 1981, but the wobble that he had developed before this time and which characterized his last years at the Met was absent during this performance. The result was a bravura interpretation of the cuckolded barge captain.

 

Il Tabarro Met 1981

 

IL TABARRO

Giorgetta……………Renata Scotto
Luigi……………….Vasile Moldoveanu
Michele……………..Cornell MacNeil
Frugola……………..Bianca Berini
Talpa……………….Italo Tajo
Tinca……………….Charles Anthony
Song Seller………….Jeffrey Stamm
Lover……………….Michael Best
Lover……………….Louise Wohlafka

Conductor……………James Levine