Opera Scotland

Gianni Schicchi 2023Fife Opera

Read more about the opera Gianni Schicchi

Fife Opera is the most significant of the surviving amateur community groups in Scotland. Their full-scale shows have been sadly missed during the closure of the Adam Smith Theatre, first due to Covid restrictions and then for a very welcome renovation. 

They now returned in full cry with a popular double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi - or perhaps Schicchi and Cav, as the shorter comedy was played before the more widely familiar serious piece.

This re-ordering worked well, partly because the Mascagni was actually more successful than the Puccini. Mainly, Puccini's orchestration for a work premiered at the New York Met is more detailed than Mascagni's, so despite conductor Alistair Digges' best efforts he was more successful after the interval.

For this farcical comedy, young director Eleanor Felton took a decision, fairly common, to update the setting from medieval Florence to 'a Tuscan village in the 1880s'.  At curtain-rise Buoso is still just alive, though with the exception of the child all the relations are dressed in black. The walls are black and the curtains (also black) are already drawn.  Clearly the family can't wait for him to depart, which he does immediately.

The presentation played up the grotesque. In addition to the generally oppressive colour palette, the make-up of the family members was ghoul-like - everyone, again apart from the child, had smears of black on their faces - at the eyes and lips, some on cheeks and side-burns.

As Schicchi arrived the atmosphere lightened slightly. He was more up-market than usual, in a fawn frock coat, and Lauretta was also attractively presented in brighter colours.  One novel touch as the defeated relations depart was for them to remove a large painting from the wall behind the bed.  This portrait, presumably of Buoso in his prosperous prime, was the only decoration in the room.

The cast was rightly dominated by the Schicchi. Ivor Klayman is a veteran of work with the various amateur groups round the East of Scotland, especially Edinburgh, and his Schicchi was full of excellent detail.  Lauren McKinney made a highly attractive Lauretta. Sebastian Penalver sang well in his paean to Florence, though his voice was a bit light elsewhere.

Perhaps because the women in the company outnumber the men, there were a few changes of gender among the lesser roles. The irritating boy became a stroppy teenage girl, Gherardina. The lawyer and both witnesses were also female with the medieval tradesmen, the cobbler and dyer, becoming Pinellina, a laundress, and Guccia, a cook.  This was of no great moment, and certainly did not detract from the effectiveness of the production.

Performance Cast

Buoso Donati the deceased

Richard Brewster

Zita a cousin of Buoso, aged sixty

Amy Wallace (Nov 10)

Helen Lee (Nov 11)

Rinuccio Zita's nephew, aged twenty-four

Sebastian Peñalver

Gherardo Buoso's nephew, aged forty

Euan McDonald

Nella Gherardo's wife, aged thirty-four

Laura Curran (Nov 10)

Louise Martyn (Nov 11)

Gherardino Gherardo's son, aged seven

Lauren Forrest

Betto di Signa a cousin, age unknown

Peter Saunders

Simone a cousin, aged seventy

Malcolm Crosby

Marco Betto's son, aged forty-five

Tony Pearce

La Ciesca Marco's wife, aged thirty-eight

Frances Taylor (Nov 10)

Hanna de Bruin (Nov 11)

Gianni Schicchi aged fifty-one

Ivor Klayman

Lauretta Schicchi's daughter, aged twenty-one

Zara Wardrop (Nov 10)

Lauren McKinney (Nov 11)

Maestro Spinelloccio a doctor

Tom Kelman

Ser Amantio di Nicolao a notary

Eleanor Hubbard

Pinellino a cobbler

Clara Marks-Lewis

Guccio a dyer

Pat Fraser

Performance DatesGianni Schicchi 2023

Map List

Adam Smith Theatre | Kirkcaldy

10 Nov, 19.15 11 Nov, 16.00

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