Gianni Schicchi is a comic opera in one act writte by the Italian composer Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Giovacchino Forzano based on an episode of Canto XXX of the Hell in Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy. The Opera is the third and final part of Giacomo Puccini's Il trittico. When Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi debuted on the Metropolitan Opera House' stage, the critics welcomed them with mixed feelings. Gianni Schicchi was actually praised, while the other two weren't much appreciated. After the American premiere, Il Trittico arrived in Italy in January 1919, conducted by Gino Marinuzzi, who took Arturo Toscanini's place because of the hard feelings between the latter and the composer. Arturo Toscanini had, in fact, labeled the libretto of Il Tabarro despicable and the music boring and unexceptional, and Giacomo Puccini, offended, refused to commit the conduction of the opera to him when it was to debut at Covent Garden in London.
Synopsis Gianni Schicchi
Buoso Donati lies dead in his bed, his relatives gather round to mourn his passing, but are mostly more interested in learning the contents of his will. Among those present are his cousins Zita and Simone, his poor-relation brother-in-law Betto, and Zita's nephew Rinuccio. The family soon finds out that Buoso has left everything he owned to a monastery. Rinuccio suggests that only Gianni Schicchi, a man from Florence who's famous for his inventive ideas, can advise them what to do. Rinuccio goes looking for him for help. Lauretta, Gianni Schicchi's daughter who's in love with Rinuccio, begs the father to help his fiancé's family, so the man agrees to look at the will. An idea occurs to him: he sends his daughter outside so that she will be innocent of what is to follow. First, Gianni Schicchi establishes that no one other than those present has to know that Buoso is dead. He then orders the body removed to another room. A knock announces the arrival of the doctor, Spinelloccio. Schicchi conceals himself behind the bed curtains, pretending to be Buoso, and declares that he's feeling better; he asks the doctor to return that evening. Schicchi then unveils his plan to Buoso's family: having established in the doctor's mind that Buoso Donati is still alive, Schicchi will disguise himself as Buoso and dictate a new will. All are delighted with the scheme, and importune Schicchi with personal requests for Buoso Donati's various possessions, the most treasured of which are "the mule, the house and the mills in Signa". The relatives agree to leave the disposition of the mule, the house and the mills to Gianni Schicchi, though each in turn offers him a bribe. Before taking his place in the bed, Schicchi warns the company of the grave punishment for those found to have falsified a will: exile from Florence together with the loss of a hand. The notary arrives, and Schicchi starts to dictate the new will. To general satisfaction he allocates the minor bequests, but when it comes to the mule, the house and the mills, he orders that these be left to "my devoted friend Gianni Schicchi". Incredulous, the family can do nothing while the lawyer is present. Their outburst of rage when the notary leaves. Rinuccio and Lauretta are the only two happy about the trick, there is now no bar to their marriage, since Schicchi can provide a full dowry. Gianni Schicchi chases the relatives out of what is now his house.