The Sunday Opera: Puccini's "Gianni Schicchi" and Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" from LA Opera On Air

Oct 11, 2018

Original costume designs for Schicchi in "Gianni Schicchi" (1918) and Canio in "Pagliacci" (1896)

A trickster and a vengeful husband are featured on this week’s Sunday Opera (10/14 3:00 p.m.) in Giacomo Puccini’s “Gianni Schicchi” from his collection “Il Trittico” and Ruggero Leoncavallo’s “Paglicacci” from Los Angeles Opera On Air.  The afternoon begins with Placido Domingo as the scheming Schicchi who tricks the bickering Donato family out of part of their inheritance by pretending to be their dead relative, Buoso, and writing the will Buoso left unfinished.  Joining Domingo are Andriana Chuchman as Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta, who sings the much loved aria “O mio babbino caro,” her beloved Rinuccio is Arturo Chacon-Cruz, and Meredith Arwady as the imperious Zita.  

Domingo switches roles during the break to come back as conductor for Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci” which features Marco Berti as Canio, the jealous head of a commedia dell’arte troupe who, through the spying of an even more jealous troupe member Tonio, George Gadnidze, finds that his wife Nedda, Ana Maria Martinez, has a lover named Silvio, Liam Bonner, with whom she hopes to escape Canio’s jealousy which ends with tragic consequences.  We can’t have your afternoon of opera end on a sad note, so stay tuned after the operas from LA for another opera when Michael Kownacky brings you a somewhat forgotten opera written to be performed by marionettes, Ottorino Respeghi's “La bella dormente nel bosco” (“The Beautiful Sleeper in the Woods”) which, of course, is “Sleeping Beauty.”  The libretto by Gian Bistolfi is based on the fairy tale by Charles Perrault but its happy ending culminates in a fox trot led by Mr. Dollar Checques!