Ravel and Puccini for the last appointment with the opera at the Social photo

The last appointment of the 2019/2020 opera season at the Teatro Sociale in Como contemplates a diptych composed of two unique acts of comic matrix, exhilarating, rarely combined with each other, but of equal musical importance and absolute pleasantness: L’heure espagnole by Maurice Ravel (1875 – 1937) and Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924); the two operas will be staged at the Teatro Sociale di Como on Friday 10 January, at 20.00 and Sunday 12 January at 15.30; the orchestral direction is entrusted to Sergio Alapont, the direction to Carmelo Rifici, with the scenes by Guido Buganza, the costumes by Margherita Baldoni, the lights by Fiammetta Baldiserri, a co-production of the OperaLombardia circuit.

If Puccini’s work, from 1932 to today, has been performed several times in Como, it is instead a first at the Social for Ravel’s L’heure espagnole.

Time is the real protagonist in both plots, in very different meanings, which lend themselves to ironic, sometimes tragicomic situations, with the lightness that the librettists (Franc Nohain, pseudonym of the writer Maurice-Étienne Legrand, and Giovacchino Forzano) they developed in an exciting and lively way, even in the synthesis of a single act.

In L’heure espagnole, set in Toledo in the eighteenth century, the wife of the watchmaker Torquemada, Concepcion, used to receive lovers during the absence of her husband … there are many twists, daring, double senses in the verses, which they follow each other in a pressing manner in Ravel’s style, with a tinkling, which returns to mark time, in the rhythmic obsession dear to the author, present in many passages of his production, especially those inspired by
Spanish atmospheres – from Habanera in the Spanish Rhapsodies of 1907–08 to the famous Bolero of 1928- The premiere of the Spanish Heure took place in Paris, Théâtre National de l’Opéra-Comique, on May 19, 1911.

social theater opera gianni schicchi
Gianni Schicchi tells the story, already referred to Dante (Inferno XXX, vv. 32-33, “He said to me:” That goblin is Gianni Schicchi, / and he is angry with others so tanning “) which took place at the Buoso Donati palace in Florence in 1299 (Goodbye Florence, goodbye divine sky / I greet you with this stump / and I stray like a Ghibelline – Gianni Schicchi).

The greedy relatives of the wealthy landowner Buoso Donati find themselves watching over the deceased’s Gianni Schicchi is called in an unscrupulous way to impersonate Buoso Donati to change, in the presence of the notary, the will … but, surprisingly, without obeying the suggestions provided by the heirs … Famous and often used as a soundtrack of cinematographic films, the air of Lauretta O my dear baboon.

Gianni Schicchi is the third and final act of the Triptych (which initially contemplates Il tabarro e Suor Angelica) which was staged for the first time on December 14, 1918 at the Metropolitan in New York.