Most recent performance
There are currently no scheduled performances of Gianni Schicchi. It was last on stage 25 February—15 March 2016.
When Buoso Donati dies, his family are horrified to learn that he has left all his money to a monastery. They turn to the cunning Gianni Schicchi to help them change his will. But will their plan backfire?
Read more… (Contains spoilers)
Giacomo Puccini created Gianni Schicchi – the final work in his contrasting triple bill of operas, Il trittico – from a ‘desire to laugh and make others laugh’. It is his last comedy and its robust humour recalls some of the great Italian comic operas of the 19th century, such as Giuseppe Verdi’s Falstaff. Puccini based the opera on a passage from Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, and engaged writer Giovacchino Forzano to create the libretto.
Richard Jones’s production places the action in Italy in the mid-20th century and John Macfarlane’s designs provide a lively backdrop for the twists and turns of the plot. The score displays a kaleidoscope of different musical styles, including Lauretta’s famous aria, ‘O mio babbino caro’, in which she begs her father to intervene to help her marry her sweetheart Rinuccio, and the grand comic ensemble in which Schicchi impersonates the dying Buoso and remakes his will.
News and features
22 May 2017
There's more to the art form than doom and gloom, as a number of comic gems prove.
26 February 2016
What did you think of Richard Jones' Royal Opera production of Puccini's triptych?
19 February 2016
Like a collection of short stories or the B-movies of the 1940s and 50s, grouping operas together allows us to appreciate their contrasts.
11 February 2016
Lauretta’s lovely little aria is key in shaping the black comedy of Gianni Schicchi, the final opera in Puccini’s triptych.
10 February 2016
Our quick introduction to Puccini’s trio of short operas, bringing together the dramatic, tragic and comedic best of this giant of Italian opera.
4 June 2015
The Italian composer created some of opera’s most enchanting romances.
Gianni Schicchi (Italian pronunciation: [ˈdʒanni ˈskikki]) is a comic opera in one act by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano, composed in 1917–18. The libretto is based on an incident mentioned in Dante's Divine Comedy. The work is the third and final part of Puccini's Il trittico (The Triptych)—three one-act operas with contrasting themes, originally written to be presented together. Although it continues to be performed with one or both of the other trittico operas, Gianni Schicchi is now more frequently staged either alone or with short operas by other composers. The aria "O mio babbino caro" is one of Puccini's best known, and one of the most popular arias in opera. Puccini had long considered writing a set of one-act operas which would be performed together in a single evening, but faced with a lack of suitable subjects and opposition from his publisher, he repeatedly put the project aside. However, by 1916 Puccini had completed the one-act tragedy Il tabarro and, after considering various ideas, he began work the following year on the solemn, religious, all-female opera Suor Angelica. Gianni Schicchi, a comedy, completes the triptych with a further contrast of mood. The score combines elements of Puccini's modern style of harmonic dissonance with lyrical passages reminiscent of Rossini, and it has been praised for its inventiveness and imagination. When Il trittico premiered at New York's Metropolitan Opera in December 1918, Gianni Schicchi became an immediate hit, whereas the other two operas were received with less enthusiasm. This pattern was broadly repeated at the Rome and London premieres and led to commercial pressures to abandon the less successful elements. Although on artistic grounds Puccini opposed performing the three operas except as the original triptych, by 1920 he had given his reluctant consent to separate performances. Gianni Schicchi has subsequently become the most-performed part of Il trittico and has been widely recorded.