This is a wonderful production of Puccini's mini masterpiece. Annabel Arden has done a marvelous job of drawing out the dark side of humanity, which keeps the piece from veering into caricature and slapstick; yet humor is still here in abundance. Vladimir Jurowski leads the London Philharmonic in a brilliant reading of Puccini's motif-packed score.
In the title role, Alessandro Corbelli once again shows us why he is one of today's most sought-after singing artists. His expressive face, a marvel of muscular mobility, mirrors every fleeting thought and emotion, and every gesture is telling; yet one never feels that any of this is contrived, but only a natural consequence of Corbelli's total identification with his character. He uses his considerable vocal resources intelligently and respectfully, always in service of the music and dramatic situation, and never for the sake of pure vocalism. Corbelli is a Schicchi for the ages.
The supporting cast are all top drawer. One could not wish for a better Zita than Felicity Palmer; Sally Matthews and Massimo Giordano (not to be confused with Marcello Giordani, another fine tenor) are touching and ardent-voiced as the young lovers.