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What happens in Gianni Schicchi?

A huge heritage, two young lovers – and the very cunny Gianni Schicchi. Here are the highlights of the comic one act opera our academists will dive into summer 2022.

Time and place:
The original story takes place in 1299 in Florence. Giovacchino Forzano’s text is based on an excerpt from the Divine Comedy by Dante. Puccini's opera received its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera in New York December 1918, as a part of Il trittico.

The story:
The aristocrate Buoso Donati has just died. His greedy relatives find his will, and are devastated when they realise that Donati has left all of his possessions to a monastery. Desperately they try to find a way to get hold of the money, and the young Rinuccio suggests to ask the cunny outsider and enterpriser Gianni Schicchi for help. Rinuccio is deeply in love with Schicchi's daughter Lauretta, but the Donati family is against this relationship, since she has no dowry.

Gianni Schicchi arrives together with Lauretta, but he is not very well received by Donati’s relatives. Schicchi is insulted, but Lauretta manages to bright him up, singing the sweet and pleeding “O mio babbino caro”. Not everybody knows that this famous opera gem is from Gianni Schicchi, and some also anticipate it is a lullaby for a baby. But Lauretta sings this aria to her “dear, little daddy”, where she begs him to please let her marry Rinuccio.

Enjoy Ekaterina Siurina as Lauretta in this recording from the Royal Opera House in London (with English subtitles):

Gianni Schicchi now launches a daring idea: Since only the relatives are informed about the death of Buoso Donati, Schicchi himself can pretend that he is Donati, and dictate a brand new will in favor of the relatives. But he also reminds them all that forgery is a severe crime. The relatives are eager to tell Schicchi how they plan to divide the properties amongst themselves: Everybody is dreaming about the house, the mills and the mule - and each of them try to charm and manipulate Schicchi to get the best catch.

The notary arrives to write the new will for the "dying” Donati , alias Gianni Schicchi. Everything goes smoothly, untill the relative hear – unable to reveal the truth about their fraud – how Schicchi dictates who is inheriting the house, the mills and the best mule in Tuscany: Well, that is of course Donati’s “dearest friend”, Gianni Schicchi himself!

Schicchi throws the relatives out the estate which now belongs to him, and Lauretta and Rinuccio can celebrate their happiness.

Characters in Gianni Schicchi (in our version summer 2022):
Gianni Schicchi (baritone)
Lauretta (soprano) - his daughter

The relatives of Buoso Donati:
Zita (mezzo-soprano) - Buoso's cousin
Rinuccio (tenor) - Zita's nephew, and Lauretta's boyfriend
Gherardo (tenor) - Buoso's nephew
Nella (soprano) - Gherardo's wife
Gherardino (mezzo-soprano) - Gherardo's and Nella's son
Betto di Signa (bass) - Buoso's brother-in-law
Simone (bass) - Buoso's cousin
Marco (baritone) - Simone's son
La Ciesca (soprano) - Marco's wife

Maestro Spinelloccio (bass) - doctor
Ser Amantio di Nicolao (bass) - notary

Latest news

Opera by the fjord 2022

Opera by the fjord - Summer academy 2022

Bergen National Opera welcomes young singers, instrumentalists, conductors and repetiteurs to apply for our summer academy Opera by the fjord 2022, where Gianni Schicchi and more will be performed on July 2nd.

Opera by the fjord 2022

Are you a young instrumentalist?

Bergen National Opera welcomes young instrumentalists to apply for our summer academy Opera by the fjord. Deadline 1st of April 2022

Opera by the fjord 2022

Are you a young repetiteur?

Bergen National Opera welcomes young repetiteurs to apply for our summer academy Opera by the fjord. Deadline 1st of March 2022

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Are you a young conductor?

Bergen National Opera welcomes young conductors to apply for our summer academy Opera by the fjord . Deadline 1st of March 2022

Opera by the fjord 2022

Are you a young singer?

Bergen National Opera welcomes young singers to apply for our summer academy Opera by the fjord. Deadline 15th of February 2022