Department of Theatre Arts and School of Music Collaborate to Present Two Puccini Operas

02/06/2013

Contributed by Susan Monagan

Beginning the new year at the Dillingham Center at Ithaca College will be two one-act operas by Giacomo Puccini, “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi”. Performances of this annual collaboration will be held at 8 p.m. on Feb. 20, 22, 26, 28, and March 2. A 2 p.m matinee will be offered on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a talk-back led by conductor and music director Brian DeMaris immediately following the performance. 

Ticket prices for the event range from $5.50 and $11 and are on sale at all Ticket Center outlets, including Ticket Center Ithaca on the Commons and the Dillingham Center Box Office. For tickets, call (607) 274-3224, (607) 273-4497, or visit www.ithacaevents.com. For further information, visit www.ithaca.edu/theatre or www.facebook.com/ICtheatrearts.

Written in 1918, Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” belong to the composer’s “Il Trittico” (The Triptych) series of three one-act operas. “Suor Angelica” explores the dark past of Sister Angelica in 17th- century Siena. When a grand coach arrives outside of the convent, Angelica’s reasons for joining the religious order are exposed and lead to her final desperate act.

Speaking about working with the all-female cast of “Suor Angelica,” Brian DeMaris says, “At Ithaca College, it's a joy because of the strong choral traditions in our School of Music. But what's dramatically interesting is that when the miracle occurs at the end of “Suor Angelica,” Puccini also adds men's voices.”

“Gianni Schicchi,” a farcical tale based on an incident in Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, begins in Florence with the final days of Buoso Donati, a wealthy and deeply religious man. When his ill-willed brother-in-law mentions that Buoso plans to give all his fortune to a monastery, his family searches frantically for the will. As his family members struggle for the remnants of Buoso’s fortune, Gianni Schicchi makes the scene. The true motives of Buoso’s family are soon revealed, for better or for worse, and this comedy of misconceptions unfolds.

In reference to “Gianni Schicchi” and “Ill Trittico,” DeMaris says, “Though Puccini had originally set out to write three operas based on excerpts from Dante's ‘Divine Comedy,’ ‘Gianni Schicchi’ is the only one that ultimately retained any connection. Instead, the three works are unified mainly in that each involves death. In ‘Schicchi’ the death is comic. Musically, each opera stands on its own. Puccini intended for them to be performed together, but they are most often performed on their own or even paired with other one-act operas by other composers.”

This production features two one-acts with one intermission. David Lefkowich is the director; Brian DeMaris the conductor and music director. Gregory Robbins, associate professor of theatre arts, designed the costumes. Other designers include Renny Cullen ’13 and Heather Huang ’13 (scenic) and Michael Lonuzzi ’13 and Maxwell Robin ‘14 (lighting). Stage managers are Benjamin Shipley ’13 and Miriam Salzman ’13. William Burns ’13 is the technical director. Assistants include graduate student Patrick Valentino M.M.’13 (conducting), Lydia Kubiniec ’13 and Sara Stevens ’13 (directing), and Ashlynn Abraham ’15 and Emmanuel Garcia ’15 (assistant costume design.)

A nationally recognized theatre-training program, the Department of Theatre Arts attracts students from across and outside the United States. Throughout the season, students present all aspects of theatre in a professional model.

Dillingham Center accommodates all patrons. Individuals with special needs are asked to contact (607) 274-3224 to request accommodations as soon as possible

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Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi
Directed by David Lefkowich and Brian DeMaris
Written by Giacomo Puccini
February 20- March 2
Ticket prices range from $5.50- $11
Ithaca College Theatre – 953 Danby Rd, Ithaca, NY
Box Office: (607) 274-3224 – www.ithaca.edu/hs/depts/theatre/mainstage/

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