What is your favorite thing about opera? Is it Italian people yelling at each other and throwing things? It is? Well, then Gianni Schicci is the perfect opera for you! And it is often done in English, so you might have a chance at figuring out what is going on!
Gianni Schicchi is the story of a young, handsome tenor named Rinuccio, who, like many tenors, does not have any money. This would not be a problem, except that the girl he wants to marry also does not have any money, and she may or may not live on a farm, so Rinuccio’s mean family tells him he can’t get married. The show opens when Rinuccio’s uncle (who DOES have some money) dies. This makes everyone very happy, because they naturally assume that all his money will go to them.
Rinuccio finds his uncle’s will, only to discover that, since the whole family is full of jerks and weirdos, none of them are getting any of the cash. All the money is going to a bunch of apparently gluttonous and stupid friars at some annoying monestary. This is very upsetting, and so naturally everyone wants to eat, but our hero Rinuccio has come up with a clever plan to save the day! He has called his girlfriend’s dad Gianni “Johnny” Schicchi over to think of a clever plan.
Well, Gianni soon arrives with his daughter, Lauretta Schicchi, and they decide to help out. I am not going to reveal any spoilers here for those of you who like to be surprised, but if you want a hint, go rent “Weekend at Bernies.”
Now, while this plan is being set up, Rinuccio inexplicably leaves the stage for several minutes. Audience, this would be a good time to go to the bathroom or refill your personal snack trough. Obviously nothing interesting or important is going to happen when the tenor is not on stage. Luckily, Rinuccio returns, just in the nick of time, so the audience returns to their seats to watch Rinuccio’s clever plan go off without a hitch.
Seeing that his work is done, Rinuccio goes off to get some lovin’ from Lauretta and once all of his annoying relatives have left the stage, he comes back to sing about the first time he got some lovin’ from Lauretta. I think some other stuff involving doctors, lawyers and a mule happened earlier as well, but these are not big “Rinuccio moments,” so you can pretty much skip them. The point is, in the end, the brilliant, and now rich, tenor has solved all the problems and gotten the girl. And he did it all in about an hour. Shows just don’t get much better than that.