Opera Double Feature: Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Michael Ching’s Buoso’s Ghost

Friday April 13, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater

Tickets: $5-20

Generously supported by Ronald Thow and Carolyn V. Thow

 

This event also runs on Saturday, April 14.

UCF Opera commemorates the centennial of Puccini’s comedic opera Gianni Schicchi with fully staged performances, featuring UCF students and UCF Opera director Thomas Potter in the title role, and accompanied by an orchestra made up of UCF students and members of the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestras.

During intermission, immediately following the Puccini opera, the singers continue the story with American composer Michael Ching’s opera Buoso’s Ghost. The Donati family plots to pin Buoso’s death on Schicchi, but he once again outwits them and ends up with even more of the estate in his possession. Both operas will be sung in English with super-titles.

Gianni Schicchi

Florence, Italy, 1299. The greedy relatives of the wealthy Buoso Donati discover that the deceased has left his fortune to the local monastery. The young Rinuccio suggests that Gianni Schicchi, a shrewd, self-made man and the father of his intended, Lauretta, can help them. Schicchi appears with his daughter but is insulted by the family’s behavior and about to leave when Lauretta begs him (singing the famous “O mio babbino caro”) – he finally changes his mind. Reading the will, Schicchi devises a plan to impersonate the dead man. The relatives send for the notary and Schicchi, wearing Buoso’s nightshirt and cap, from his sickbed dictates a new will, in which he leaves the greater part of the estate, including the house they are in, to his “dear friend Gianni Schicchi.” The relatives are furious, and steal what they can from the house, chased out by Schicchi, who remains behind with Lauretta and Rinuccio. Turning to the audience, he points out how happy his fraud has made the young lovers and asks the audience to forgive him in light of “extenuating circumstances.”

Buoso’s Ghost

As this sequel to our first opera begins, we see Lauretta and Rinuccio planning their future. After sending the couple off to buy their wedding ring, Schicchi discovers that Buoso had been poisoned by the relatives. He imagines the relatives making their plans to poison old Buoso. When he hears the relatives approaching, Schicchi scribbles a note and tucks it into Buoso’s nightshirt. Just as the family members are about to beat Schicchi senseless, a magistrate arrives to try the case. The relatives accuse Schicchi of murdering Buoso. When Schicchi secretly tells each of them that he knows that they have poisoned Buoso, they each offer him a bribe if he will blame somebody else. The trial begins, and Schicchi defends himself, and eventually “finds” the note in the deceased’s nightshirt and reads it: Buoso has committed suicide. The magistrate is upset that he can’t condemn anyone, and leaves. Alone, the relatives realize that Schicchi has outwitted them again. Jokingly, Betto says that they will get the money back in the long run because Rinuccio and Lauretta are getting married. They realize they can just kill Schicchi now and inherit everything, but Schicchi summons the spirit of Buoso Donati and scares the family from the house. In an echo of the end of the Puccini opera, Schicchi asks the audience to forgive the “upstart composer” for writing the sequel.

Friday Cast

Lauretta – Natalie Almeter
Rinucco – Deyvion Norris
Schicchi – Thomas Potter
Nella – Alyssa Cassidy
Ciesca – Joyce Camille Hernandez
Zita – Lisamarie Guadalupe
Gherardo – Yuting Zhang
Marco – Matthew Fackler
Betto – Dylan Courtney
Simone – Jose-Manuel Lopez
*Spinelloccio – Taneesha Bridenback
*Nicolao:  Ben Watson
*Pinellino:  Dezi Rodgers
*Guccio:  Bryant Jay
*Gherardino:  Charlotte Bergholz
**Magistrate:  David Goodwill
**Friar I:  Sarah Brickeen
**Friar II:  Dezi Rodgers
**Magistrate’s Guards:  Bryant Jay & Ben Watson

Saturday Cast

Lauretta – Linsey Duca
Rinucco – Deyvion Norris
Schicchi – Thomas Potter
Nella – Rachel LaVo
Ciesca – Maeghin Mueller
Zita – Gayssie Lugo
Gherardo – Yuting Zhang
Marco – Matthew Fackler
Betto – Dylan Courtney
Simone – Jose-Manuel Lopez
*Spinelloccio – Taneesha Bridenback
*Nicolao:  Ben Watson
*Pinellino:  Dezi Rodgers
*Guccio:  Bryant Jay
*Gherardino:  Charlotte Bergholz
**Magistrate:  David Goodwill
**Friar I:  Sarah Brickeen
**Friar II:  Dezi Rodgers
**Magistrate’s Guards:  Bryant Jay & Ben Watson

* Role only appears in Gianni Schicchi;    ** Role only appears in Buoso’s Ghost

Orchestra

Conductor: Hanrich Claassen
Violin:  Caitlin Pequignot, Julie Di Lecce*, Ariah Deason*, Alyssa Orantes*
Viola:  Alex Koller*
Cello:  Brenton Zhang*
Bass:  Edwin Rivera
Flute (double piccolo):  Julia Sills*
Oboe:  Sara Hrkach
Clarinet/Saxophone:  Jonathan Gray*
Bassoon:  Bing Gu*
Horn:  Molly Kaplan* & Brendan Eisner*
Trumpet:  Jacob McKey*
Trombone:  Brian Ildefonso
Percussion:  Sebastian Suarez Solis*
Keyboards:  Robin Jensen

*Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra member

Creative Team

Production Manager: Ryan Douglass
Stage Director: Thomas Potter
Music Director: Robin Jensen
Stage Manager: Bridget Reagan
Assistant Stage Manager: Emma Catherine Brenner
Set Building: Ryan Douglass
Costumes: Pierre’s Costumes (Philadelphia)
Puppet Designer: Madeline Rose
Props Master: Rachel Lavo
Videographer: David Brancato

Special Thanks

UCF School of Performing Arts: Michael Wainstein
UCF Opera Board: Matthew Fackler, Robin Jensen, Judy Lee, Rachel Lavo, Treva Marshall, Ginny Osborne, Mary Palmer, Sibille Pritchard, Kara Richardson, Deede Sharpe, Rita Wilkes
Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra: Heide Evans Waldron