In April 2018, University of Central Florida will stage Buoso’s Ghost by Michael Ching in their UCF Celebrates the Arts Festival. The date for the performance will be announced soon. UCF plans to pair Ching’s opera with Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi.
Based on part of Dante’s Divine Comedy, Gianni Schicchi (the final installment of Puccini’s Il Trittico) is the beloved comic opera about the conniving Donati family’s attempts to change their deceased uncle’s will for their own gain.
Buoso’s Ghost was first staged with the Pittsburgh Opera in 1996, and received the official premiere at Opera Memphis in 1997. The opera begins where Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi ends, and traces the sinister dealings of Buoso Donati’s family, who have allegedly poisoned Buoso. Throughout the opera, Schicchi exploits the family’s plot to outwit them time and time again. The Chicago Tribune remarked that “Composer and librettist Ching … borrows snatches of Puccini tunes and weaves them into his own conservative-eclectic idiom, tossing in bits of American pop … for merry measure. The vocal writing is expert, the orchestration light enough to allow the singers to project the text clearly. Buoso is charming and unpretentious ….”