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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 dies. 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!

Characters in Gianni Schicchi:
Gianni Schicchi (baritone) – Mikael Horned
Lauretta (soprano) - his daughter – Annika Beinnes

The relatives of Buoso Donati:
Zita (mezzo-soprano) - Buoso's cousin – Christina Jønsi
Rinuccio (tenor) - Zita's nephew, and Lauretta's boyfriend – Markus Bjørlykke
Gherardo (tenor) - Buoso's nephew – Ian Marcus Bjørsvik
Nella (soprano) - Gherardo's wife – Eva Langeland Gjerde
Gherardino (mezzo-soprano) - Gherardo's and Nella's son – Wilma Kvamme
Betto di Signa (bass) - Buoso's brother-in-law – Slava Grabovsky
Simone (bass) - Buoso's cousin – Jacob Abel
Marco (baritone) - Simone's son – Stian Jebsen
La Ciesca (soprano) - Marco's wife – Mathilda Bryngelsson

Maestro Spinelloccio (bass) - doctor – Johannes Sejersted Bødtker
Ser Amantio di Nicolao (bass) - notary – Johannes Sejersted Bødtker

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