Italian Opera rings in HFAC

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    By Dylan Haney

    Opera may not be for everyone, but starting this week, students have a chance to see a performance that may make opera more appealing.

    “Gianni Schicchi,” BYU”s spring opera, will be presented at the deJong Concert Hall starting tonight.

    With music by Giacomo Puccini, libretto by Giovacchino Forzano and the English translation by Ann and Herbert Grossman, the light-hearted “Gianni Schicchi” offers something for everyone, according to Larry Vincent, director of the opera program for the BYU School of Music.

    “This is a perfect opportunity to be exposed to opera for first time,” Vincent said. “Gianni Schicchi is a short, comedic, intimate performance in English. It”s a great way to hear opera for what it really is.”

    The one-act opera written in 1918 features the Giannia Schicchi and is part of a trio of operas, “Il Trittico” written by the Italian opera master Puccini, with “Il Tabarro” and “Suor Angelica” rounding out the set.

    “It”s a comedy about a rich man from Florence who passes away. His greedy relatives show their mourning, and then their true selves come out,” Vincent said.

    Vincent said the opera involves a lot of students. “It is an ensemble opera, so many students get to sing. There are 15 roles, and some are double cast.”

    Cast members include Rob Brandt and Henry Patterson as Gianni Schicchi, Cari Bacon and Rachael Holmes as Lauretta, Heather Wells and Shari Erickon as Zita, and Jonathan Yarrington and Daniel Webb as Riunuccio.

    Scenic design is by Stori Lauritzen, costume design by Carolyn Smith and lighting design by Michael G. Handley.

    “It”s a charming story, well written, funny and poignant,” Handley said. “Gianni Schicci is a delightful little opera about morality, greed, and passion. Somehow, they manage to tell the story in 55 minutes.”

    Handley also said that with most operas, you have to wade through a lot of music to get to the story. This one is different, because it”s an engaging story right from the beginning.

    “It”s not heavy, overbearing opera. It”s a light comedy,” Handley said.

    Regular performances, including a dinner theatre option, begin nightly at 6:30 p.m. with the opera commencing at 7:30 p.m.

    Show-only tickets are $7 with BYU or student ID, $8 for senior citizen/alumni and $9 for the general public. Tickets for the dinner and show are $20 and must be purchased two days in advance. For more information or to order tickets, contact the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-4322.

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