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Gianni Schicchi, Opera by Giacomo Puccini (2015)

It's mid-twentieth century Florence. Wealthy Buoso Donati has just died in his bed, his extended family the only people around him at the time. Rumors abound within the family that he has ... See full summary »

Director:

Matthew Diamond

Writer:

Giovacchino Forzano (libretto)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Plácido Domingo ... Gianni Schicchi
Andriana Chuchman Andriana Chuchman ... Lauretta
Meredith Arwady Meredith Arwady ... Zita
Arturo Chacón-Cruz Arturo Chacón-Cruz ... Rinuccio
Greg Fedderly Greg Fedderly ... Gherardo
Stacey Tappan Stacey Tappan ... Nella
Craig Colclough Craig Colclough ... Simone
Philip Cokorinos ... Betto di Signa
Liam Bonner Liam Bonner ... Marco
Peabody Southwell Peabody Southwell ... La Ciesca
E. Scott Levin E. Scott Levin ... Maestro Spinellocio
Kihun Yoon Kihun Yoon ... Ser Amantio di Nicolao
Isaiah Morgan ... Gherardino
Daniel Armstrong Daniel Armstrong ... Pinellino
Gabriel Vamvulescu Gabriel Vamvulescu ... Guccio
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Storyline

It's mid-twentieth century Florence. Wealthy Buoso Donati has just died in his bed, his extended family the only people around him at the time. Rumors abound within the family that he has left his entire estate to a nearby monastery, which if be the case would place him in an even worse view by his family than he already is, and place them all in a state of poverty. They are able to locate his will, which indeed confirms the rumors. Rino, Buoso's nephew who wanted some of that inheritance to be able to marry Lauretta - something that will not happen without that money - believes that Lauretta's father, Gianni Schicchi, may be able to help them with the issue of finding a loophole in the will to order for them to inherit Buoso's estate. Gianni, formerly a rural peasant, has only recently arrived in Florence and is trying to make a name for himself, and as such is someone that Rino's image conscious aunt, Zita, does not want in their lives in their current state. Gianni does believe ... Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Comedy | Musical

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Site

Country:

USA | Germany | Japan | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

21 December 2015 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Puccini: Gianni Schicchi See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

16:9 HD
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User Reviews

 
Interesting but odd
11 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Gianni Schicchi' is by far and away Puccini's funniest opera, his only one in fact. When done well it brings so much fun and joy, and the music is typical Puccini.

To me, this production is not a patch on the Glyndebourne performance with Alessandro Corbelli and Sally Matthews, still the best one on DVD, though the Royal Opera, Covent Garden also did an excellent one a few years back. It's interesting but also rather odd, notable for starring Placido Domingo, cast against type in the title role, and for being directed by film director Woody Allen with help from Kathleen Smith Belcher.

As somebody who considers Domingo one of her favourite singers and somebody who loves a lot of Allen's work (mostly his late 60s to mid-90s), though he has become hit and miss for a while with 'Midnight in Paris' and 'Blue Jasmine' being his only outstanding films in recent years, this is nowhere near the best of either of them but it does maintain interest.

Domingo actually takes a noble stab as Schicchi, a rare comedy role in a career mostly consisting of amorous lovers like 'La Traviata's Alfredo, tortured characters like Otello, regal father figures like Simon Boccanegra and even occasional villain roles like 'Il Trovatore's Count Di Luna (if more a conflicted sort of villain, not the irredeemably evil villain like 'Otello's Iago or 'Tosca's' Scarpia). It mostly comes off well, it is a very funny, sometimes sincere and occasionally menacing interpretation and while he is well past prime vocally with less of the burnished sound in his 20s to 40s and a more unsteady and less attractive sound he still uses it with great musicality and character, a much better performances than his Berlin and Salzburg Di Luna which were rare misfires in a great career.

He is well supported by mostly solid performances from the rest of the cast, particularly Andriana Chuchman's charming and touching Lauretta, singing the opera's most well known bit "O Mio Babbino Caro" beautifully. The character/comedy roles are well-filled and characterful, if hindered by the staging. The orchestra play with tender lyricism, a humorously light touch as well as a twisted darkness that one wishes was matched by the staging. Grant Hershon's conducting is accommodating and sympathetic but also energetic and alert to the drama.

The DVD is good enough, with only some uneven sound balance underwhelming with some of the voices sounding distant and not always audible, Arturo Chacon-Cruz's Rinuccio being the worst case. The picture quality is focused and the video directing expansive and intimate.

Chacon-Cruz is the weak link casting-wise of the production as Rinuccio too. It's not the most interesting of roles to begin with, but Chacon-Cruz constantly sounds under-powered and lacking in energy and emotion, and is pretty bland as an actor.

Visually, the only thing this reviewer liked was the set backdrop of Florence, but one wishes it was utilised more. The mix of 50s Italian and even some overtones of mafia didn't gel with the style of the opera, and looked pretty cheap. But the staging that hurt it the most. The comedy needed to be more consistent and funnier, there could have been a darker edge to balance it all out and there are far too oddities and mismatches that add absolutely nothing and distract hugely rather than entertain. Listing any examples would be pointless, because the production was filled with them and showed a lack of respect for the opera and Puccini. Some may disagree but that's just my honest opinion.

Overall, an interesting production in some ways but odd and disappointing. 6/10 Bethany Cox


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