Gianni Schicchi

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Gianni Schicchi is a comic opera in one act by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) and librettist Giovacchino Forzano.

The original text

The action in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi takes place in Donati’s bedroom immediately after his death, as his greedy relatives feign grief and search for his will. The mood shifts to anger when the relatives discover that they have been disinherited. They seek out the clever and resourceful Schicchi to make a counterfeit will. Schicchi, however, turns their scheme against them, bequeathing most of the dead man’s fortune to himself while the relatives, all parties to the crime of forgery, are forced to sit by silently.

The opera premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera on December 14, 1918.

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1958: Presented in English by the South African Opera Federation.

1970: Presented by PACT Opera.

1973: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1978: Presented by CAPAB Opera.

1986: Presented by CAPAB Opera in a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana (9–27 May)

2000: Presented by Cape Town Opera in a double bill with Suor Angelica (21–26 August)

2005: Presented in the Drama at the State Theatre by Black Tie Ensemble in a double bill with a reduced version of Il Barbiere di Siviglia (April 2005). Conductor - Graham Scott; Director - Leonard Prinsloo; Assistant director - Vanessa Nicolau; Décor - Colin O'Mara Davis; Costumes co-ordinator - Bronwen Lovegrove; Lighting - Declan Randall; Repetitors - Susan Steenkamp-Swanepoel and Engeli le Roux; Barber script - Leonard Prinsloo; Stage manager - Eugéne Prinsloo; Orchestra - Johannesburg Music Initiative; Concert master - Irene Tsoniff. With the following cast: Michael Dungel, Zanele Gumede, Rheinaldt Moagi, Raymond Tyack, Loveline Madumo, Delsy Mooki, Dikgang Mantoro, Paul Madibeng, Thabang Senekal, Teresa de Wit, Linda Zitha, Bongiwe Madlala, Obakeng Molepe, Jonathan Boinamo and Itumeleng Tladi.

2005: Presented by Cape Town Opera in a double bill with Cavalleria Rusticana (18–27 November)

2011: Presented by Cape Town Opera in a double bill with Suor Angelica (16–21 April)


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

Cantoni, Linda and Schwarm, Betsy. "Gianni Schicchi". Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Jan. 2015,

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

Antoinette Johanna Olivier. 2014. 'Exploring contributions to opera by The Black Tie Ensemble: a historical case study'. Mini-dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master‟s in Music at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University.

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