Next up at the inventive Northwest Puppet Center is a marionette classic of the Neapolitan carnival, Pulcinella Vendicato, an 18th century opera buffa, long-lost and still not often performed. Giovanni Paisiello, the great composer of Naples, created this comedy for audiences at Carnival. Now it's being staged for the first time in North America, not on a opera stage but in its original form: as a puppet show.
The character of Pulcinella, also known as Punch (of Punch & Judy shows), is a stock character, but this version, by the Northwest Puppet Center, adds enchanted genies, misguided lovers, wild antics at the fish market, and a steamy scene atop Mount Vesuvius to the mix.
The Carter family's production retains the charm and craft of 18th century Italy with a cast of hand-carved marionettes, colorful stage decor created with dry-pigment paints, and a dose of crude humor for the cast of Commedia dell'Arte characters. Live music is provided by an ensemble of top-notch baroque musicians and singers.
If you go: Northwest Puppet Center, 9123 15th Ave. NE, Seattle Tel: 206-523-2579. Performances April 23 through May 2: Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm and 8 pm, Sundays at 2 pm. Tickets: $28 adults, $25 youth and seniors.