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Saint Mary’s Presents “Gianni Schicchi”

| Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Saint Mary’s Department of Music will perform Giacomo Puccini’s one-act opera “Gianni Schicchi” this weekend.

The show, which opens Thursday night, focuses on the recent death of Buoso Donati, whose relatives have gathered to mourn him. The relatives call in Gianni Schicchi to fix the will of Donati so that they can inherit the riches that he left to a monastery.

Dr. Laurel Thomas, associate professor of music at Saint Mary’s and director of the production, said while the cast has had fun with this particular show, it constantly presents new lessons and challenges.

“Puccini’s music requires so much independence and commitment from everyone in the cast,” she said. “It takes extremely solid musicianship to produce the lines accurately.”

Auditions and casting began towards the end of the fall semester, so the cast began working on their individual parts over Christmas break. The cast, crew and musicians have been officially rehearsing since the first day of class in January.

The opera, which originally takes place in Florence, will take on a local twist with a South Bend setting. Thomas said the performance will capture the essence of the city throughout the whimsical journey.

“We thought it would be more fun to refer to South Bend than Florence,” Thomas said. “It is an anniversary year for the town, so it seemed to make sense.”

Senior Sarah Miller, who will be performing in the show as the romantic lead Lauretta, said all students will enjoy “Gianni Schicchi,” whether they are familiar with opera or not.

“This opera is the perfect show for novice opera-goers and experienced music connoisseurs alike,” she said. “It is short — only one hour — and is extremely funny. The music is absolutely beautiful. The entire experience should be educational and entertaining.”

Both Thomas and Miller said they have gained new knowledge and experiences throughout the process of preparing “Gianni Schicchi.”

“I have learned a lot about the effort that it takes to put on an opera,” Miller said. “There are a lot of hours that go into a one-act production.”

“A small group of talented people can really do anything if they put their minds to it,” Thomas said. “It’s all about the team.”

“Gianni Schicchi” will run from March 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. and March 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Little Theatre of Moreau Center. Tickets can be purchased from Moreau Center for the Arts online, over the phone or in person. The cost is $8 for students, $10 for faculty, $13 for adults and $12 for senior citizens.

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