Giacomo Puccini

The Triptych

The Cloak - Sister Angelica - Gianni Schicci
 

Il Trittico

Il trittico (The Triptych) is the title of a collection of three one-act operas, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi, by Giacomo Puccini. The work received its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera on 14 December 1918.

Il tabarro
Place: A barge on the Seine in Paris.
Time: 1910.
The opera is very dark and brooding, full of the violence and grit associated with verismo opera.

Suor Angelica
Place: A convent near Siena.
Time: The latter part of the 17th century.
This second opera, Puccini's personal favorite, is an uplifting tale of religious redemption.

Gianni Schicchi
Place: Florence.
Time: 1299.
The third opera is the most popular, a farce full of greed and conniving.

Giacomo Puccini

Gianni Schicchi

Puccini - Gianni Schicchi 

Gianni Schicchi - G. Puccini 
Vienna - 2000 

Gianni Schicchi : Leo Nucci
Lauretta : Angelika Kirchschlager
Rinnucio : Juan Diego Florez
Zita : Mihaela Ungureanu
Gherardo : Herwig Pecoraro
Nella : Ingrid Kaiserfeld
Betto : Janusz Monarcha
Simone : Walter Fink
Marco : Istevan Gati
La Ciesca : Stella Grigorian
Spinellocio : Alfred Sramek
Amantio : David Cale Johnson
Pinellino : Hiroyuki Ijichi
Guccio : Michael Kuchar

Gianni Schicchi is the last and most successful of the three one-act operas that make up Puccini’s Triptych, the other two being II tdbarro and Suor Angelica. It is based on an incident that is actually supposed to have happened in Florence, in the year 1299, pretty much as given in the libretto.

Dante, who may well have known the jolly swindler Schicchi personally, put him, in the thirtieth canto of the Inferno
into the eighth circle of Hell among thieves, panders, and other such. His perpetual companion there is the incestuous Princess of Cyprus, who loved her father. But Puccini was probably not thinking of this literary detail when he composed the aria, O mio bdbbino caro (“Oh, My Beloved Daddy”).
 

Roles

GIANNI SCHICCHI

Opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini with libretto in Italian by Giovacchino Forzano


 


Gianni Schicchi
Lauretta, his daughter
Relations of Buoso Donati:    
Zita, his cousin
Rinuccio, her nephew
Gherardo, nephew of Buoso
Nella, his wife
Gherardino, their son
Betto di Signa, brother-in-law of Buoso
Simone, Buoso’s cousin 
Marco, his son
La Ciesca, his wife
Spinelloccio, a doctor
Amantio di Nicolao, a lawyer


Time: 1299    
Place: Florence    
First performance at New York, December 14, 1918    

 

Characters

Gianni Schicchi:.
Baritone. A 50‐year‐old peasant, father of Lauretta. She is in love with Rinuccio, whose elderly rich cousin, Buoso Donati, has just died and left all his money to the Church. Rinuccio's family is against his marriage to the daughter of a poor peasant. Rinuccio calls on Schicchi to help the family regain their inheritance. The cunning Schicchisuggests that they keep the death of Buoso quiet while he (Schicchi) poses as the old man and writes a will which he will hand to the lawyer as Buoso's last testament. The family agree, each trying to bribe him to leave them the most money. Schicchi writes the will and hands it to the lawyer. He reads it out—it states that Buoso has left the bulk of his estate to ‘my dear old friend Gianni Schicchi’! Without revealing their own part in the deception, the family is unable to protest. Schicchi can now give his blessing to the marriage of his daughter to Rinuccio. Created (1918) by Giuseppe De Luca
.
 

Lauretta Schicchi:

Soprano. Daughter of Gianni Schicchi. She is in love with Rinuccio, but her father is very poor and Rinuccio's family are against their marriage. When Rinuccio's wealthy elderly cousin Buoso Donati dies, leaving his money to the local church, Rinuccio arranges for Gianni Schicchi to rewrite the will in favour of all Buoso's relatives on condition that they then agree to his marriage. Schicchi cleverly wills the fortune to himself, thus ensuring Lauretta's future, so she and Rinuccio can marry. Aria: O! Mio babbino caro (‘Oh! My dear little daddy’, more often translated as ‘O my beloved father’). Created (1918) by Florence Easton.
 

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf - O Mio Babbino Caro - Giacomo Puccini

Maria Callas - O Mio Babbino Caro - Giacomo Puccini

Kiri te Kanawa - O mio babbino caro - Giacomo Puccini

Buoso Donati:

This character, a wealthy old man, is dead at the start of the opera—his relatives are gathered round his bed waiting to find out what his will contains. Rumour has it that he has left all his fortune to a monastery.

 

Rinuccio:

Tenor. Nephew of Zita (cousin of the recently deceased Buoso Donati). He is in love with Lauretta, daughter of the poor peasant Gianni Schicchi, but his relatives (gathered for the reading of Buoso's will) are against the marriage. They search for Buoso's will, worried by rumours that he has left his fortune to a monastery. When the will is found, they discover that he has indeed left everything to the church. Rinuccio suggests prevailing upon Gianni Schicchi to help them by forging a new will, on condition that they will then withdraw their objection to his marriage with Lauretta. Schicchi agrees to help, but when the new will is read out they discover that Schicchi will inherit the money himself. There can be no further barrier to the marriage of Lauretta and Rinuccio and Schicchi gives them his blessing. Aria: Firenze è come un albero fiorito (‘Florence is like a flowering tree’). Created (1918) by Giulio Crimi.

 

Zita:

Contralto. Known as La Vecchia (‘the old one’), she is aged about 60, a cousin of the recently deceased Buoso Donati, and aunt of Rinuccio. Created (1918) by Kathleen Howard.

Synopsis

When the opera opens, the wealthy Buoso Donati has just died, and a gang of his relatives is hanging vulturously about his bed. For their names and the relationships they bear to the corpse let me refer you to the cast of characters above. Ostensibly they are there to mourn; but their avariciousness soon gets the better of their manners, and they start to search for the will. It is Rinuccio who finds it and Zita who first reads it. Their worst fears are realized: Buoso has left everything to the monks of a monastery.
 

Now it happens that young Rinuccio is in love with Lauretta, the daughter of Gianni Schicchi, and Gianni is a shrewd peasant of infinite resourcefulness. Secretly Rinuccio has sent for Gianni Schicchi, and the artful young fellow urges his relatives to consult his prospective father-in-law. He ends his argument with an eloquent paean in praise of Florence (Firenze d come un albero fiorito), but they protest right up to the arrival of Schicchi himself.
 

Lauretta, whom her father loves very much, urges him to find a solution to the troubles of the Donati so that she may marry Rinuccio (O mio babbino caro), and, thus inspired, Schicchi contrives a plot. He has the body of old Buoso removed and he himself takes its place in the bed. He fools the doctor when he comes by imitating Buoso’s voice and saying he is better. Then he listens to what each relative wishes to have of Buoso’s riches, and he promises to dictate a new will accordingly.
 

A notary is summoned, and Schicchi dictates the new will. However, in this will he leaves everything—to himselfl The relatives are wild when the notary leaves, but there is nothing they can do. For Schicchi has pointed out to them that whoever helps falsify a will must, according to the laws of Florence, lose one hand and be forever banished. The maddened flock steal whatever they can, and Schicchi chases them out of the house. Only the lovers remain to sing a happy duet; and when 
 

Schicchi returns, he presents them with the stolen articles he has managed to recapture.

Then, as the opera closes, Schicchi addresses the audience in spoken words: he asks whether Buoso’s money could serve a better purpose and suggests that though Dante consigned him to Hell, perhaps the amusement he has afforded the audience will make them reach a verdict of Extenuating Circumstances. And he starts the applause himself.
 

Puccini "Gianni Schicchi" 
1962

Gianni Schicchi: Fernando Corena
Lauretta: Renata Tebaldi
Zita: Lucia Danieli
Rinuccio: Agostino Lazzari
Gherardo: Renato Ercolani
Nella: Dora Carral
Gherardino: Antoine de Ninno
Betto di Signa: Giovanni Foiani
Simone: Paolo Washington
Marco: Silvio Maionica
Ciesca: Miti Truccato Pace
Spinelloccio: Giuseppe Morresi

Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Orchestra del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Dirigent: Lamberto Gardelli