“Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi,” two operas in a double feature, will premiere at 7:30 p.m. Friday in the Musical Arts Center.
Both operas were composed by Giacomo Puccini and first performed in 1918. They are part of “The Triptych,” a set of three operas that Puccini composed that were intended to be performed together. The Jacobs School of Music decided not to perform the first opera, “Il tabarro.”
“Suor Angelica" or “Sister Angelica," is a dramatic opera about a woman who became pregnant out of wedlock. Her family puts her in a convent because she has brought shame to the family, and the child lives with the family. She does not hear from her family for seven years until her aunt comes to take money away from her.
Emily Michiko Jensen, a post graduate student pursuing a performance degree, plays Suor Angelica. She is pursuing a Performance Degree at Jacobs.
“What keeps her focused in her daily tasks while at the convent is the hope to hear any word from her family, especially any word about her son,” Jensensaid.
"Gianni Schicchi" is a comic opera, Stage Director James Marvel said. It is about a man whose family was not left any money in his will. The premise is that they work with Schicchi, a witty con man, and he pretends to be the dead man in order to change the will.
Steele Fitzwater, who is playing Schicchi, compared the contrast in operas to watching “Grey’s Anatomy” when your favorite doctor dies and watching “Saturday Night Live.” Fitzwater is a last year master’s student studying voice.
“I think that it’ll be impossible for people during 'Suor Angelica' not to be weeping,” Marvel said.
“Gianni Schicchi” will make your face hurt from laughing so much, Marvel said.
The double bill will be performed four times over the next two weekends. There are two separate casts, which are nicknamed cream and crimson, Fitzwater said. Jensen and Fitzwater will both perform this Friday and Feb. 15th.
“There isn’t a weak link among anyone in the entire cast,” Fitzwater said. “They are all well-prepared. They are funny when they need to be or tragic when they need to be.”
Marvel has directed “Suor Angelica” five or six other times and “Gianni Schicchi” twice before, he said. He also directed this double bill at IU nine years ago.
Marvel has directed opera internationally in every continent except for South America, he said.
After opening night this Friday, “Suor Angelica” and “Gianni Schicchi” shows are also at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 8, 14 and 15, all in the Musical Arts Center. Tickets for students and children are as low as $10, and adult general admissions tickets are as low as $16, according to the Jacobs website.