Ed Kliszus

This evening, On Site Opera presented Giacomo Puccini’s opera Il Tabarro, the first of the composer’s collection of three one-act operas entitled Il Trittico. Set in Paris in 1910 on a barge docked on the Seine River in Paris, Il Tabarro is a moody, gripping work. The opera explores themes of love, betrayal, revenge, and the desperation and anguish of individuals trapped in harsh circumstances, painting a poignant and emotionally charged picture of the characters’ lives.

The setting for Il Tabarro by the One Site Opera. Photo by Edward Kliszus

The setting for Il Tabarro by the One Site Opera. Photo by Edward Kliszus

Here, on the docks of New York’s historical and beautiful South Street Seaport by the gangplank and main deck of the lightship Ambrose, through Il Tabarro, the company expressed plaintive resonances of the river, Cavalleria Rusticana emotions, and verismo effects of intense emotional expression. Puccini’s brief portentous, motivic musical references in Il Tabarro to his previously crafted opera La Bohème were delightfully relevant. Listeners may recall the opening melody of the aria Si, Mi chiamano Mimi portraying Puccini’s tragic character Mimi.

Scored for a large orchestra, Il Tabarro was accompanied at this performance instead by a chamber orchestra, providing listeners with an intimacy typically enjoyed at performances of works like Stravinsky’s Pulchinella or Histoire du Soldat. Instruments were amplified separately through an excellent sound system. Similarly, each vocalist used wireless body mics. This sound configuration resulted in immersive, intimate, visceral, and spellbinding access to the extraordinary artistry of the opera, the cast, and the orchestra. Sound, costumes, three-dimensional sets, and even the sound of the ship’s bells supported the expressions of musical beauty and contrasting raw, powerful emotions. We achieved unique access to the music’s psychological depths, vivid portrayals, and pivotal scenes.

The Cast in a scene from IlTabarro. Photo by Dan Wright Photography

The Cast in a scene from Il Tabarro by the One Site Opera. Photo by Dan Wright Photography

The doomed love triangle in Il Tabarro consisted of Luigi (Yi Li), Giorgetta (Ashley Milanese), and Giorgetta’s husband Michele (Eric McKeever).

The versatile and robust spinto tenor Yi Li was unswervingly magnificent as he expressed both Luigi’s simple and complex desires. In a duet with Giorgetta, O Luigi, Luigi, Li expressed Luigi’s yearning for a better life and passion for freedom. The profundity of his emotions was palpable as he longed for a world beyond the restrictions of the barge, free from monotony and rich with contentment. Giorgetta and Luigi’s forbidden love and passion reached intoxicating heights in this aria.

A standing ovation for the cast of Il Tabarro of the Onsite Opera. Photo by Edward Kliszus

A standing ovation for the cast of Il Tabarro of the Onsite Opera. Photo by Edward Kliszus

Soprano Ashley Milanese presented a passionate, poignant, and expressive Giorgetta through her delicate, brilliant, and soaring vocal lines above the orchestral textures. She exquisitely expressed her longing for love, unfulfilled desires, and the depths of her yearning. In O Luigi! Luigi, while expressing her forbidden desire for Luigi, she revealed her innermost feelings. Giorgetta’s duet with Luigi in E’ ben altro il mio sogno was mesmerizing and heart-wrenching and captured the depth of her sorrow, regret, and emotional pain.

The third member of the love triangle, Giorgetta’s husband Michele, performed by Eric McKeever, showcased the baritone’s ability to project through music the essence of human passion and intense emotions that drove the opera’s tragic events. In Scorri, fiume, McKeever’s magnificent voice resonated with melancholy and resignation, capturing the weight of Michele’s past and acceptance of life’s sometimes harsh realities. Later in O Luigi! Luigi! with Giorgetta, and while confronting his wife’s infidelity, he projects desperation and fury. In Nulla! Silenzo! McKeever trembled with grief and rage as he poured out Michele’s heart-wrenching emotions—the music built to a dramatic climax, reflecting the magnitude of anguish and unfolding of cataclysmic events.

The cast of On Site Opera's production of Puccini's Il Tabarro. Photos from OSOpera.org

The cast of On Site Opera’s production of Puccini’s Il Tabarro. Photos from OSOpera.org

Tonight’s soloists were consistently marvelous and presented a thrilling performance of a seminal artwork with the support of a splendid chorus, orchestra, and production team. With fine sound, staging, and costumes rendered in a unique maritime setting, we extravagantly experienced the opera’s dramatic and emotional depth characterized through Puccini’s rich, evocative inventions. The performance was a memorable, compelling, and immersive experience.

Il Tabarro (1918)

Music by Giacomo Puccini Libretto by Giuseppa Adami Based on Didier Gold’s Play La houppelande


Yi Li as Luigi Jose Heredia as Tinca Eric McKeever as Michele Ashley Milanese as Giorgetta Sharmay Musacchio as La Frugola Dane Suarez as Song Seller/Lover/Luigi Cover (absent for this performance and covered by Daniel Rosenberg) Daniel Rosenberg as Ensemble Tenor/Tinca/Song Seller/Lover Cover Artega Wright as Talpa Claire Coven as Ensemble Mezzo Yohji Daquio as Ensemble Soprano Lindsey Kanaga as Female Lover/Ensemble Soprano Paul La Rosa as Ensemble Baritone/Michele Cover Brian McQueen as Ensemble Bass/Talpa Cover Theodora Siegal as Ensemble Soprano Kiena Williams as Ensemble Soprano/Giorgetta Cover Joanna Vladyka as Ensemble Mezzo/La Frugola Cover

(Go to https://osopera.org/productions/tabarro/ for cast bios)


Costume Coordinator – Sophie Stratyner Costume Assistant – Ayden McKenzie Rehearsal Pianist – Cris Frisco House Manager – Ciara DiSeta


Intimacy Director – Katherine M. Carter Props Designer – Rachel Kenner Costume Designer – Howard Tsvi Kaplan Lighting Designer – Shawn K. Kaufman Stage Director – Laine Rettmer Sound Designer – Scott Stauffer Stage Manager – Mariko Takizawa Assistant Stage Manager – Tatyana Smith Fight Director – Jason Paul Tate Hair & makeup Designer – Gabrielle Vincent


Featuring members of the American Modern Ensemble Conductor – Geoffrey McDonald Concertmaster — Georgy Valtchev Violin 1 — Nikita Mozorov, Suzy Perelman Violin 2 — Hector Falcon, Victoria Paterson Viola — Artie Dibble, Jacob Rollins Cello — Peter Sachon, Laura Metcalf Bass — Pawel Knapik Percussion — Clara Warnaar Harp — Kristi Shade + cartage Flute — Ginevra Petrucci Oboe — Boris Baev Clarinet — David Valbuena Bassoon — Gilbert DeJean Horn — Will DeVos, Eric Davis Trumpet — Alejandro Lopez-Sammame Trombone — Karl Lyden

Runtime was about 55 minutes.


PO Box 231480 New York, NY  10023 347-394-3050 For information, donations, and tickets, go to https://osopera.org/

Staff Contacts

Eric Einhorn, General & Artistic Director eric@osopera.org Piper Gunnarson, Executive Director piper@osopera.org Pooja Saha, Development Manager pooja@osopera.org Emily Barber, Production Manager emily@osopera.org Bowie Dunwoody, Marketing Manager bowie@osopera.org

Readers may also enjoy our reviews of the Oratorio Society of New York performs Bach’s Mass in B minor, MasterVoices presents Iolanthe at Carnegie Hall, the Art Bath Salon Series, and Madama Butterfly at Lincoln Center.