Canadian Opera Company presents

Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi

After Buoso Donati—the patriarch of a Florentine family—dies of old age, his remaining relatives are more interested in getting paid than in paying their respects. They hire local schemer Gianni Schicchi to sort out the estate, but get much more than they bargained for with the quick-thinking and enterprising Schicchi.

Staged by British theatre director Amy Lane, this lighthearted, brilliantly paced comedy stars rising South Korean soprano Hera Hyesang Park alongside baritone Roland Wood. The famous one-act opera features some of Puccini’s most memorable music, including the show-stopper soprano aria, “O mio babbino caro”.

Jader Bignamini conducts the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.

Buoso Donati’s bedroom; Florence, 1299

Buoso Donati’s family is gathered around the bed where he lies dead. A rumour circulates that Donati has left his fortune to a monastery, and the family’s only hope is to find Donati’s will before a lawyer does. They start hunting, turning the room upside down.

Rinuccio hopes that some of the money will allow him to marry Lauretta, the dowry-less daughter of Gianni Schicchi. Feeling optimistic, he sends Gherardino to fetch Schicchi and his daughter.

Zita opens the will and discovers that Donati has indeed left his fortune to the Church. Rinuccio declares that the only person who can help is Gianni Schicchi, who, though he’s a newcomer to Florence and not of their class, is a crafty, astute joker who might have a solution.

Schicchi enters and agrees to try and help. As nobody outside the family – not even the servants – knows that Donati is dead, Schicchi sends Lauretta out to feed the birds while he poses as the dead man, now somewhat recovered. Spinelloccio, the doctor, visits and is assured that his patient is better. Schicchi then sends Rinuccio for a notary to rewrite Donati’s will.

The relatives argue over how to divide the fortune, but finally agree to leave it to Schicchi’s judgment. They individually make secret offers to him to benefit themselves, and Schicchi reminds them all that it is forbidden by law to interfere in the creation of a will.

Rinuccio returns with the notary and two witnesses. Schicchi, as Donati, bequeaths a tiny sum to the monks, equal money and holdings to the relatives, but finally leaves the best mule, the house in Florence and his mills to “my dear friend, Gianni Schicchi.”

The relatives are outraged but silenced. When the notary leaves, they attack Schicchi and plunder the house before being angrily expelled by him. Seeing Rinuccio and Lauretta, unaware of the chaos and blissfully happy now that they can marry, Schicchi asks the audience if Donati’s money could have had a better purpose.

Saturday, October 30, 2021 at 7:30 pm ET

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Canadian Opera Company
Based in Toronto, the Canadian Opera Company is the largest producer of opera in Canada and one of the largest in North America. The company enjoys an international reputation for artistic excellence and creative innovation. The company presents six fully-staged productions at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts annually.

The COC’s repertoire spans the history of opera from the baroque to the 21st century and includes several commissioned works and Canadian premieres. Professional opera artists from all over the world are engaged for COC productions, including a significant number of Canadian singers, directors, conductors and designers.  The company performs with its own professional Chorus and Orchestra.  The company also fosters emerging Canadian talent through its Ensemble Studio, Orchestra Academy and Company-in-Residence programs.