“Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” are two one-act operas about familial love, involving hopeful tragedy and uproarious comedy all in one evening. Puccini’s reputation for soaring melodies, vivid orchestrations, incredible singing and flawlessly integrated drama are well represented in these two timeless works. Originally premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 1918, both operas have remained audience favorites for over a century.
Sister Angelica is a young noblewoman who has been forced to become a nun by her family after having had a child out of wedlock. Her aunt arrives with news that the child has died. Angelica loses her reason and takes poison so that she can be reunited with her son in heaven. A miracle occurs at the end of the opera when a vision of the Virgin Mary and Angelica’s child appears to Angelica, offering her forgiveness and welcoming her into Heaven.
Based on a short scene from Dante’s “Inferno,” the wily peasant Gianni Schicchi manages to swindle the members of the wealthy Donati family out of their inheritance in order to provide a dowry for his daughter, who is engaged to a member of the Donati family – but the family has not approved their relationship due to the difference in station between the wealthy Donati’s and Gianni Schicchi. Appropriate for ages ten and up. Sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Music by Giacomo Puccini; libretto by Giovacchino Forzano; stage direction by Dale Dreyfoos; music direction by Brian DeMaris.