The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra is set to present an uproarious double-bill, bringing together Giacomo Puccini’s comic opera in one act, Gianni Schicchi, combined with the modern sequel, Buoso’s Ghost, by contemporary composer Michael Ching, from November 16 – 18, 2017.
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. Stage Director David Ward notes, “Gianni Schicchi is Puccini’s only comedy – which is tragic because he writes such funny things in this opera.”
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 ….”
Led by Musical Director Kirk Severtson, the production of “Gianni Schicchi” and “Buoso’s Ghost” features students and faculty from The Crane School of Music in the cast and orchestra, as well as students from Crane and the SUNY Potsdam Department of Theatre and Dance behind the scenes. Faculty member Dr. Jonathan Stinson, baritone, will sing the title role alongside the students in the cast.
About the Crane Opera Ensemble:
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble provides exciting opportunities for students to experience all facets of opera performance and production, through rehearsals, coaching and classes related to performance practices and production techniques. The ensemble’s productions have garnered awards from the National Opera Association (2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003), The American Prize (2011), and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2010).