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History & Politics, Music, Theater & Dance

Puccini’s “Trittico” at 100

Honoring the centenary of the world premiere of Puccini’s triptych

November 30, 2018
1:00 pm - 4:30 pm

There was a world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera House last night when three one-act operas by Puccini were sung and acted… We do not doubt that it could not have been bettered at Milan, Paris or London…The success of the new triple bill is unquestionable.

                        – James Gibbons Huneker, The New York Times, December 15, 1918

Honoring the centenary of the world premiere Puccini’s triptych of one-act operas—Il trittico—at the Metropolitan Opera, we celebrate with a one-day event entitled Puccini’s Trittico at 100, featuring outstanding experts in the field, special archival videos and photographs, and musical interludes.  It will be held at NYU’s Casa Italian Zerilli-Marimò on Friday, November 30, 2018, from 1-4:30pm.  Featured speakers are Met archivist Peter Clark, Met radio commentator and staff writer William Berger, Puccini specialist and Boston University Associate Professor Deborah Burton, Verdi and Puccini expert and Cornell Professor emeritus David Rosen, Santa Fe Opera Dramaturg Cori Ellison, and Met historian and Associate Professor of Musicology at the SUNY-College at Buffalo Carolyn Guzski.


Participants (in alphabetical order):

William Berger, author of Puccini without Excuses (Vintage, 2005) has worked at the Metropolitan Opera since 2006 as a writer, producer, and on-air commentator for the live, weeknight broadcasts on Met Opera Radio. He is also a writer and producer for the Metropolitan Opera’s famed Quiz, heard as part of its live, international Saturday broadcasts. He is a frequent speaker and lecturer, and his recent articles have appeared in the publications of the opera companies of San Francisco, Los Angeles, and elsewhere internationally.

Deborah Burton, author of Recondite Harmony: Essays on Puccini’s Operas (Pendragon, 2012), is a Puccini specialist, and an Associate Professor of Music at Boston University. In December 2010, in honor of the centenary of Puccini’s La Fanciulla del West, in conjunction with the Met, she created a website, and moderated a special panel discussion on the opera at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, with guests tenor Marcello Giordani, conductor Nicola Luisotti, Harvey Sachs, Walfredo Toscanini, Simonetta Puccini, Allan Atlas (CUNY) and representatives of the Metropolitan Opera.

Peter Clark, Archives Director, Metropolitan Opera.  For most of his 36-year career at the Metropolitan Opera, Peter Clark served in the company’s Press and Public Relations department as company spokesman, publicist, and press director working with management, artists, journalists, and photographers. Clark’s background before the Met included a Master’s degree in vocal performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, summer study programs in the U.S., France, and Italy, and positions as personal assistant to Leonard Bernstein and as an editor at Stagebill Magazine.

Richard Cordova, pianist, has collaborated with such notable singers as Martina Arroyo, Frederica von Stade, Renato Bruson and Ailyn Pérez. He has been a member of the music staffs for such organizations as Istanbul Opera, LA Philharmonic, Des Moines Metro Opera, New Orleans Opera, New York City Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Dallas Opera, and Chautauqua Opera, and has conducted for Oper der Stadt Bonn, Opera North NH, Sarasota Opera, Opera Company of Boston, Long Beach Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Baltimore Opera, the Martina Arroyo Foundation Prelude to Performance Program and the Little Opera Theatre of New York.

Maria D’Amato, soprano, is a recipient of awards including Opera Index, Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation grants and appearances at Alice Tully and Rose Halls, Giulio Gari Foundation grants, and the Lendon Todd Munday Encouragement Award from the Jensen Foundation. Currently in her seventh season as a full-time member of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, she has sung roles with Ash Lawn Opera, Sarasota Opera, Seattle Opera Young Artist Program, and Opera North, NH. Ms. D’Amato graduated magna cum laude from Boston University with a Bachelor of Music in vocal performance and from the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music with a Master of Music degree.

Cori Ellison was recently appointed staff Dramaturg at Santa Fe Opera, and has previously served in that role at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and New York City Opera.  She is a member of the Vocal Arts Faculty at the Juilliard School and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute.  Active in developing contemporary opera, she teaches dramaturgy for American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program. She has often written for the New York Times and has contributed to books including The New Grove Dictionary of Opera and The Compleat Mozart.

Carolyn Guzski, a specialist in the history of the Metropolitan Opera, is an Associate Professor at the State University of New York, College at Buffalo. Her publications on American music and cultural institutions include contributions to the Grove Dictionary of American Music, Saint-Saëns and His World, Les Cahiers de la Société québécoise de recherche en musique, and The Hudson Review. She has recently been investigating the 1918 “American triptych” produced by Met general manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza (Cadman’s Shanewis, Gilbert’s Dance in Place Congo, Leoni’s L’Oracolo), inspired by Puccini’s model.

David Rosen, is an eminent scholar of Italian opera and Professor of Music emeritus at Cornell University.  Some of his many publications include a critical edition of Julius Speck’s Mise en scène for Puccini’s La fanciulla del West, co-edited with Ellen Lockhart (in progress), Words on Music: Essays in honor of Andrew Porter on the Occasion of his 75th Birthday, co-edited with Claire Brook, “Un ballo in maschera” di Giuseppe Verdi, Musica e Spettacolo: Collana di Disposizioni sceniche, co-authored with Marinella Pigozzi, Verdi: “Requiem” (Cambridge Music Handbooks), Verdi’s “Macbeth”: A Sourcebook, co-edited with Andrew Porter, and the Critical edition of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem, in The Works of Giuseppe Verdi. He has recently been exploring the relationship of the libretto of Puccini’s Il tabarro to its literary model. 


Followed by a reception.