Arts & Culture

L'Opera on Wheels Explores The Divine Comedy With This Comic Opera

The titular character dwells in the eighth circle of hell, together with forgers, cheats, and con-men.
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To help bring Italian opera to a wider audience, Societa Dante Alighieri Comitato di Manila and Lyric Opera Philippines have formed L’Opera on Wheels. For its debut production, it stages Giacomo Puccini’s comic opera, Gianni Schicchi. For an opera full of laughs and misadventures, one would hardly think that its inspiration would come from Dante’s dark and terrifying Divina Comedia, which envisioned the torments in the various circles of hell. In the eighth circle, where forgers, cheats, and con-men dwell, we met Gianni Schicchi. But what brought him there?

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Noel Azcona as Gianni Schicchi and Elisanta Gregorio Cortes as Lauretta lead the cast of Puccini's comedic opera

For the opera, Puccini expounds on Schicchi’s life story, one that originally had good intentions—and we know where that leads. A poor man, Schicchi is persuaded by his daughter Lauretta to alter the last will of a dying man, so she can gain wealth and marry Rinuccio, the man she loves. After she sings the famous aria “O mio bambino caro,” how can Schicchi resist? Noel Azcona and Greg de Leon alternate in the role of Gianni Schicchi; Jasmin Salvo and Elisanta Gregorio Cortes take turns as Lauretta, and Randy Gilongo and Nomher Nival play Rinuccio.

February 12, 18, 25, and 26, TIU Theater (formerly Louie’s THX Cinema), Mile Long Compound, Amorsolo Street, Makati; tickets available through TicketWorld, 891.9999, ticketworld.com.ph. For more information, contact Societa Dante Alighieri Comitato di Manila 759.2016, 0998.8589613; [email protected]

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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