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Slovene National Theatre Maribor
Gianni Schicchi <em>Photo: Tiberiu Marta</em>
Photo: Tiberiu Marta

Giacomo Puccini

Gianni Schicchi

Gianni Schicchi
Director: Paul-Émile Fourny
Premiere: 27 September 2013, Grand Hall

Il trittico (Triptych), Puccini's probably most unusual work, consists of three one-act operas: Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. It is carefully balanced in order to contrast three distinct moods: dark, violent jealousy in Il Tabarro, tearful sentimentality in Suor Angelica, and satirical wit in Gianni Schicchi. In broader sense of Italian verismo, Puccini's opera Il trittico can be viewed as a journey of a human soul through different stages of incarnation, from darkness to the light, which in spite of significant differences loosely resembles to the plot of Dante’s Divine Comedy. Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) wrote the first part of the Triptych around 1916, but the completion of his tripartite masterpiece was postponed until the creative collaboration with the librettist Giovacchino Forzano, who wrote the libretto for Suor Angelica, as well for the "musical comedy" Gianni Schicchi. Il trittico was premiered on 14th December in 1918 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In the following season 2013/2014, Il trittico will be performed for the first time in Opera Maribor, being also the first complete production of this Puccini’s opera in Slovenia.

The opera Il tabarro (The Cloak) is derived from the one-act play La houpelande by a French playwright Didier Gold. The play, nowadays often classified as a naturalistic thriller, ends with a double murder. Although the librettist Adami "settled” with only one murder, thus eliminating the supporting action from aside (the jealous husband Michele murders Luigi, the lover of his wife Giorgetta), the opera’s atmosphere is still gloomy, libidinal and imbued with harshness. In contrast to aesthetically pleasing Puccini’s lyrical music, as often reflected in the score of his other operas, the dissonant impulse shows a rather different aspect of the composer’s artistic expression that can closely be linked to true Italian verismo.

The tragic fate of sister Angelica, who was banished by her own family to a monastery after giving birth to an illegitimate child, in order to maintain its reputation, ignited the imagination of the composer, which elicits lovely, but deeply felt lyrical moments. These are presented throughout the opera, starting with the introductory idyllic soundscape picture of the monastery. The lyrical pathos of the opera Suor Angelica gradually intensifies into overall emotional catharsis, placed in a duet of Angelica and her princess aunt, and subsequently ends with deep regret and confession of a loss of a child who died without his mother (Angelica’s heart-throbbing aria Senza mamma).

The final musical comedy Gianni Schicchi, which represents the second culmination of Puccini's opus (the first undoubtedly being the opera La bohème), is quite different, in terms of the complexity as well as the play’s spirit then the other parts of the triptych. The opera’s protagonist originates from Dante's Inferno (from the Divine Comedy), where it is mentioned as the artful Florentine forger Gianni Schicchi. Forzano’s libretto in satirical way reveals the two most typical human weaknesses – pride and greed –, while its comical atmosphere reminisces of Boccaccio’s Decameron, and creates a credible story of the hopes of the relatives who are competing for the inheritance of the just deceased wealthy man, Buoso Donati. But even the dead can still play pranks on destinies of the living, as Donati bequeathed all of his property to a nearby monastery. In this frivolous comedy of errors, Gianni Schicchi plays a crucial role, dressed up as the deceased man (upon the request of Donati’s heirs), and dictates a new will. However, an unexpected outcome of the new will make Gianni’s daughter Lauretta an eligible partner with rich dowry, and she can now marry her beloved Rinuccio, also being Donati’s relative. In spite of Schicchi’s trickery, the comedy’s resolution becomes a symbol of reconciliation between the material affairs and love, as the Donati’s legacy remains preserved in the newly, but somewhat "extended” one big happy family.

Cast

Conductor: Simon Robinson

Photo gallery

Gianni Schicchi <em>Photo: Tiberiu Marta</em>

Gianni Schicchi Photo: Tiberiu Marta

Gianni Schicchi <em>Photo: Tiberiu Marta</em>

Gianni Schicchi Photo: Tiberiu Marta

Gianni Schicchi <em>Photo: Tiberiu Marta</em>

Gianni Schicchi Photo: Tiberiu Marta


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