These performances were way below what one would expect from La Scala. Though my least favorite of the Trittico was always 'Tabarro', it's the best one here as far as set, performances and direction. The three leads were all good, but the direction was adequate at best and besides, it's still the weakest of the trio and least performed for that reason.
Suor Angelica had a good orchestral performance, but that was it. I'd never seen Plowright live and based on this would avoid any performance she was in. The few high notes she did get (and they were few) were short and harsh as if she were a mezzo asked to hit a high C. The staging was grand but in an inappropriate way. It looked more like a stark palace than a cloistered convent. The ending was such a disappointment to me since I'd seen Scotto do this at the Met. Though I never liked the idea that the miracle is only seen by Angelica and not the audience, it requires an astounding performance to pull that off. Lastly the Gianni Schicci production gave me the sense that I was watching a production as staged by a 2nd rate Music College. Adequate, predictable, and limited. As if there were a bunch of musicians and theater people who got together to do something that they had never done before and, though talented, had no inspiration to do something special with it. It's as if they new it was a comedy, but had never seen one before.
There are a number of recordings out there and all are better than this.
If the current new production (2007) at the Met ever goes to DVD, I'd pay $100 for it without blinking an eye. There, a standard has been set.