Arias in April features a Puccini double header this weekend with Opera at Luther’s productions of Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, airing on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 26 at 10:00 p.m.
Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi are the second and third one-act operas in a three-opera collection by Puccini entitled Il trittico. Suor Angelica, the most frequently omitted opera despite being Puccini’s favorite, is a tale of religious redemption. Sister Angelica, once a member of a noble and wealthy family, seeks to reunite with her illegitimate son and the rest of her family. Soprano Andrea Keuper performs the role of Sister Angelica, with mezzo-soprano Kari Jensen portraying her aunt, the Princess, mezzo-soprano Elisabeth Athas singing the role of the Monitress, and soprano Mary Lieberman performing as Sister Genevieve.
Gianni Schicchi, the most popular of Il trittico, is a comic opera based on a brief reference in Dante’s Inferno. After the family of recently deceased Buoso Donati discover that he has left his considerable fortune to the monastery, they devise a plan with Schicchi to hide Donati’s body. Schicchi will then impersonate Buoso, while at the same time creating a new will and obtaining Donati’s fortune for themselves. Baritone Evan Mitchell sings the role of Schicchi. Soprano Jennifer LeDoux portrays his daughter, Lauretta, along with mezzo-soprano Kelley Lokensgard as Buoso’s cousin Zita and tenor Pat Fagan as Zita’s nephew, Rinuccio. Tune in for our broadcast of two of Puccini’s famous one-act operas on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 26 at 10:00 p.m. on Iowa Public Radio Classical.