Gianni Schicchi wins the day this week 12/27 on the Lyric Stage
In his one act comic opera, Gianni Schicchi, the third of his set of one acts, Il Trittico, Giacomo Puccini was inspired by a serious story from Dante's Inferno about the true swindling of the Donati family by the real Gianni Schicchi. Using this solemn source, Puccini created one of the finest of comic operas, turning the events into the triumph of a loveable rascal.
In 13th century Florence, the greedy Donati family is stunned when Buoso Donati leaves all of his rich estate to the Monks. With reluctance - Gianni Schicchi is beneath them after all, since he is from the country - they ask him to use his cunning to change the will before anyone else can find out Buoso is dead. Schicchi seems to have a certain reputation for skill in that area. At first Schicchi refuses to help "people like that", as he calls the Donatis, but in the aria "O Mio Babbino Caro" his daughter pleads with him to do as they ask so that she can marry Rinuccio, who is a member of the Donati family. Schicchi can't refuse her. He changes the will, and leaves the money not to the Donatis, but to himself, planning to use it least some of it for his daughter's dowry to marry Rinuccio.
Il Trittico premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 1918, but it took forty years for the first complete recorded performance of Gianni Schicchi to appear. It features Tito Gobbi and Victoria de los Angeles, and we have it for you this week on The Lyric Stage.