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Opera Evening of one-act operas: "Suor Angelica", "Gianni Schicchi"
World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera Theatre - Opera and Concert Hall


Schedule for Evening of one-act operas: "Suor Angelica", "Gianni Schicchi" 2022

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Stage Director: Walter Le Moli

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Suor Angelica

CREDITS
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giovaccino Forzano

Musical Director: Gianandrea Noseda
Stage Director: Walter Le Moli
Set Designer: Tiziano Santi
Costume Designer: Giovanna Avanzi
Lighting Designer: Claudio Coloretti
Musical Preparation: Natalia Mordashova
Children’s Chorus Master: Irina Yatsemirskaya

SYNOPSIS
The idea of performing three one-act operas in one evening, sharply contrasting in theme and mood, came to Giacomo Puccini as far back as 1900, after Tosca. At the time, his thoughts were consumed by one of the greatest books in the history of world culture – Dante’s The Divine Comedy. From people close to Puccini we know that when on trains he was never without his pocket-sized edition, and when talking he would often quote “eternal words”. “Hell”, “Purgatory” and “Heaven” seemed to him ideal material for a triptych. There were diverse reasons why he had to abandon the plan – as a result, essentially it is only Gianni Schicchi that is connected with Dante’s text (Hell, the thirtieth song). The remaining parts of the triptych – Il tabarro and Suor Angelica are based on literary works by other writers.
Formally speaking, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi have nothing in common with one another, they are not united either by a common story or any other obvious ties. Perhaps that is why the composer never ceased to have doubts as to the justification for I trittico. At the same time, if we immerse ourselves in the unique atmosphere of each of the parts, then a certain very broad meaning, unseen at a fleeting glance, nevertheless comes into view. Its roots bring it to the very forefront, while The Divine Comedy formed the basis of Puccini’s thoughts.
It may be supposed that somewhere on a subconscious level in this work by composer the idea that runs through Dante’s book is reflected. The idea of moving from darkness through purification to light. Then Il tabarro with its predominant cruelty and hopelessness may be likened to Hell. Suor Angelica, like a tale of mortal sin and of salvation through Divine forgiveness, brings us to the idea of purification, and Gianni Schicchi is a hymn to a joyful disposition, unusual for Puccini, giving rise to a dream of Heaven on Earth.
Viktor Borovsky

A spring evening in the garden of a convent.
Sister Angelica, the daughter of a noble Florentine family, has taken the veil in order to atone for her sin: an illicit passion when young which resulted in the birth of an illegitimate child. Seven years have passed, though she is unable to forget her son.
The strains of an Ave Maria can be heard from the convent chapel. A group of nuns emerges from the chapel after the service. The Monitress admonishes those who are late for vespers. For missing the service they will be punished and the latecomers enter the convent in order to fulfil the wishes of the Monitress.
Sister Genovieffa observes that the fountain is on the verge of turning gold from the rays of the setting sun as it always does for three evenings during May, a sign of divine grace from the Blessed Virgin Mary. A melancholy moment follows as the nuns recall a sister who died a year ago. Sister Genovieffa suggests that “Perhaps her soul might desire a libation from the fountain?” Answering her question, Sister Angelica declares that desires only come to fruition for the living – the dead have already fulfilled their earthly purpose and their destinies cannot be changed. Displeased with the theme of the conversation, the Monitress reminds them that, as nuns, all desires are forbidden to them. Sister Genovieffa begs to differ: she, for example, yearns to hold a pet lamb. And yet another sister has a wish. The nuns laughingly reply that it must be for something tasty to eat. Drawn into the conversation, to the amazement of all Sister Angelica denies wishing for anything. Their surprise is easily explained – all know that she has been craving news from her family – that same family which forced her to take the veil.
The Nursing Sister rushes in, much distressed: a nun has been stung by a wasp and is in great pain. Angelica swiftly prepares a herbal remedy. The Nursing Sister leaves, praising Angelica’s skill. Two Alms Sisters appear. They mention that a magnificent carriage with a coat-of-arms has arrived at the convent. The Abbess enters and summons Sister Angelica into the hall. Some important visitor has arrived. Before her, Sister Angelica sees her aunt the Princess. The latter exudes coolness and severity. She has come to demand that her niece sign away her share of the family heritage in favour of a younger sister. Her fiancé is willing to overlook the dishonour Angelica brought upon the noble household’s reputation. She must pay, in part at least, for her actions. Unmoved by Angelica’s protests and desperate enquiries about her son, the Princess brutally informs her that her son died two years previously.
The document is signed and the Princess departs. Grieving in the utmost despair, Angelica begs for divine mercy. The nuns proceed to their cells. Angelica follows but then returns to prepare a lethal draught distilled from herbs and flowers. Bidding a tender farewell to the sisters, Angelica swallows the poison but is suddenly overcome by guilt at having committed the mortal sin of taking her own life. Again she prays to the Virgin Mary for salvation. Her prayer is answered. Angelica’s young son approaches his mother and kisses her.


Musical materials provided by G. RlCORDl & CO., Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH, Berlin (Germany)

World premiere: 14 December 1918, Metropolitan Opera, New York
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre and premiere of this production: 17 April 2003
Running time: 55 minutes

Age category 12+


Gianni Schicchi

CREDITS
Music by Giacomo Puccini
Libretto by Giovacchino Forzano

Musical Director: Gianandrea Noseda
Stage Director: Walter Le Moli
Set Designer: Tiziano Santi
Costume Designer: Giovanna Avanzi
Lighting Designer: Claudio Coloretti
Musical Preparation: Natalia Mordashova

SYNOPSIS
The idea of performing three one-act operas in one evening, sharply contrasting in theme and mood, came to Giacomo Puccini as far back as 1900, after Tosca. At the time, his thoughts were consumed by one of the greatest books in the history of world culture – Dante’s The Divine Comedy. From people close to Puccini we know that when on trains he was never without his pocket-sized edition, and when talking he would often quote “eternal words”. “Hell”, “Purgatory” and “Heaven” seemed to him ideal material for a triptych. There were diverse reasons why he had to abandon the plan – as a result, essentially it is only Gianni Schicchi that is connected with Dante’s text (Hell, the thirtieth song). The remaining parts of the triptych – Il tabarro and Suor Angelica are based on literary works by other writers.
Formally speaking, Il tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi have nothing in common with one another, they are not united either by a common story or any other obvious ties. Perhaps that is why the composer never ceased to have doubts as to the justification for I trittico. At the same time, if we immerse ourselves in the unique atmosphere of each of the parts, then a certain very broad meaning, unseen at a fleeting glance, nevertheless comes into view. Its roots bring it to the very forefront, while The Divine Comedy formed the basis of Puccini’s thoughts.
It may be supposed that somewhere on a subconscious level in this work by composer the idea that runs through Dante’s book is reflected. The idea of moving from darkness through purification to light. Then Il tabarro with its predominant cruelty and hopelessness may be likened to Hell. Suor Angelica, like a tale of mortal sin and of salvation through Divine forgiveness, brings us to the idea of purification, and Gianni Schicchi is a hymn to a joyful disposition, unusual for Puccini, giving rise to a dream of Heaven on Earth.
Viktor Borovsky

Setting Florence, 1299

The rich old Buoso Donati has died. His family express their grief to one another. However, in reality they are all thinking of the deceased’s will. There are rumours that he has left everything to a monastery in San Reparata. Surely this can’t be true? The relatives turn for advice to the seventy-year-old Simone, the cousin of the dead man, who was once mayor of Fuccecio. Simone says that if the will is in the house something may yet be done. Everyone starts to search for the document that will reveal the dead man’s wishes. It is found by Rinuccio, the young nephew of Zita, Buoso’s cousin. Unlike the deceased’s other relatives, he thinks little of money. His thoughts are taken up with Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi’s daughter. They love one another. But the elderly aunt is indifferent to the match. Zita promises her blessing on one condition – if the testament fills their pockets and there is no longer any need to think of the potential income from a dowry. Full of hope at the deliverance the will might lend, Rinuccio sends the young Gherardino for Schicchi and his daughter. The reading of Buoso Donati’s last will confirms the worst – all is to go to the monks. The relatives react with rage. Rinuccio suggests getting advice from Gianni Schicchi. Buoso’s relatives want nothing to do with him, considering him a vulgar peasant who is below them. Rinuccio defends the father of his beloved, praising the ingenuity of those who have, like him, come from outside Florence to make it a greater place. Gianni Schicchi appears with his daughter Lauretta. He is insulted almost from the outset, and the marriage refused on the grounds that Lauretta has no dowry to offer. Initially refusing to help, his daughter’s plea convinces him to intervene. Sending his daughter onto the balcony, Schicchi orders the body be taken into another room, the bed to be made and that all traces of mourning be removed. Suddenly there is a knock at the door – Dr Spinelloccio has come to see his patient. Hidden, Schicchi imitates Buoso Donati’s voice, telling the doctor he is much better and asking him to return later. The doctor leaves singing the praises of Bolognese medicine.
Gianni Schicchi reveals his plan. All are convinced that he can copy the dead man’s voice to perfection. And if he can imitate his appearance too then he can dictate a new will to the notary. The relatives are delighted and begin to discuss the division of the property. Outside the window a funeral bell sounds and excitement turns to terror – surely Buoso’s death has not been discovered? But it is a false alarm. One after the other, Donati’s relatives, unknown to each other, try to bribe Gianni Schicchi to give them the most valuable share of the inheritance. Schicchi promises to do as each asks, but reminds them that forgery is punishable by law and the penalty the cutting off of a hand. The relatives are worried. But even fear of a frightful punishment cannot stop them dreaming of riches. Having changed his clothes, Schicchi gets into Buoso’s death bed.
Accompanied by two witnesses – Guccio and Pinellino – Ser Amantio di Nicolao the local notary appears. The “dying man” informs him that his paralysed arm has left him unable to write, so his will must be dictated. He asks for “his family” to be present when the document is prepared. Then, after initially sharing the wealth as agreed, the false Buoso wills his most valuable property to his “great friend Gianni Schicchi”. The relatives are beside themselves in fury but are powerless. If they expose this crafty villain they will put their own necks in the noose. When the notary departs, all the cousins and their spouses fall upon Schicchi. But as the new master he orders them all out. Rinuccio and Lauretta are able to love in peace and sing of their future together. The old Zita cannot prevent their marriage. Gianni Schicchi turns to the audience and asks them to forgive him his little deceit because of the mitigating circumstances. Despite being banished to hell, he argues that all could not have turned out better. He says that the great Dante also forgives him and expresses his gratitude for providing the subject of the work.


Musical materials provided by G. RlCORDl & CO., Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH, Berlin (Germany)

World premiere: 14 December 1918, Metropolitan Opera, New York
Premiere at the Mariinsky Theatre and premiere of this production: 17 April 2003
Running time: 1 hour

Age category 12+





Schedule for Evening of one-act operas: "Suor Angelica", "Gianni Schicchi" 2022


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