Young Artists Opera

Synopsis

Enchanted Child
(L’enfant et les sortilèges)

Returning from school one afternoon, the Child neglects his responsibilities. After being chided by an adult, the Child acts out violently against everything and everyone around him. One by one, the victims confront their tormentor. Broken and dejected, they voice their dismay at not being able to fulfill their accustomed roles in the Child’s life. Eventually the Child goes outside and encounters strange creatures who appear to be waiting for him. In the melée that eventually ensues, the Child helps a fellow creature in distress. All acknowledge the transformative power of empathy and lead the Child to reunite with the Mother.

Gianni Schicchi

Buoso Donati, a rich and aristocratic Florentine citizen, dies. As his body, still warm, lies on his bed, his greedy, cash-poor relatives fret about the contents of his will, because they have heard rumors that he has left everything to the monks at the Monastery of Santa Reparata. They scramble around the house, looking for the precious document.

Young Rinuccio finds it, but refuses to hand it over to his Aunt Zita until he has her permission to marry his sweetheart, Lauretta, daughter of the upstart commoner Gianni Schicchi. His aunt replies that if they all receive their inheritance, he can marry whomever he likes. The contents of the will confirm their suspicions: Buoso has left everything to the monks!

Rinuccio suggests calling for Schicchi, whose inventive ideas can always be counted upon to avert a crisis. Schicchi arrives with Lauretta, and is enraged at the way he is treated by the snobbish Donati clan. He tries to leave with his daughter, but relents after Lauretta pleads with him to find a way to help the family claim the inheritance so that she and Rinuccio can marry. He looks at the will, and at first says that nothing can be done. Then, he begins to hatch a plan. He sends Lauretta out of the room, and orders the body to be moved. Suddenly, the doctor Spinelloccio arrives for the daily examination. Gianni jumps into the bed and imitates Buoso’s voice, convincing the doctor that he is indeed Buoso.

The plan becomes clear: Schicchi will impersonate the dying Donati, call for the Notary, and dictate a new will leaving the dead man's estate to the family instead of to the monks. He reminds the relatives that they must forever remain silent about this fraud, for those implicated in the crime of forgery of a will face two penalties: the right hand is cut off, and they are exiled from Florence.

The relatives make specific requests to Gianni for their inheritances, and then they each attempt to bribe Gianni to give them the three high-ticket items that are still up for grabs: the best mule in Tuscany, Donati’s house in town, and the mills of Signa. Schicchi listens and tells each of them what they want to hear. The Notary and witnesses arrives, and Gianni, alias Donati, dictates the new will, making some bequests as the family has requested, but leaving the mule, the house, and the mills of Signa to himself. The outraged family remembers the penalties for forgery and stays silent. As soon as the Notary leaves, they attack Gianni , who in turn chases them from what is now his own house. Lauretta and Rinuccio remain, dreaming of their future happiness together, while Gianni Schicchi turns to the audience to justify his actions.

Young Artists Program
206-389-7680, ext. 1310
young.artists@seattleopera.org

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