Friday, June 14, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 13


Last night was the final dress rehearsal.
There I was, pretty in pink, imaging I could put my feet up, watch the show, make a few notes and enjoy.
Be the daddy. My work is done.

I'm so naive. I'm not aware of any creative endeavor anywhere that doesn't suffer agony at the last minute. We did. Or at least I did. The old adage, "bad dress rehearsals equal great performances" is a comfort.

Not that we had a bad dress rehearsal. We were to run the opera twice, with a short break in between. Start cues were straightened out. The orchestra was sounding great in the warm ups. All of the players weer accomplished and professional. Some of very young. It is a band of winners.

Curtain call!
We hung around on stage, the singers partially dressed (No, no, no...get your mind out the gutter. Jeez) The overworked and under loved volunteers were continuing to stitch costumes, often in the dark. There was a delay as everyone was dressed and adjusted. Then phew! The show began.

Hissy fit number one when the coordination was thought to lag between orchestra and singers. Adjust, adjust, Move around. Some singers wherever they were had eyes glued to the Maestro. Not a way to perform. Hissy fit number 2. Done to blow off steam, not meaning much, certainly nothing personal, but may be disconcerting to some. Not to me. Hell, it was like Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, may they rest in peace.

But I could tell the singers were getting annoyed. I was getting the snarls and WTF out in the house. They shoulda seen my mug out there in the dark. Thee were a few tempi problems as a few were in a s-----l-----o---w mood . About that I will need to speak up and will  have done so by the time you read this.
Curtain call!

Gianni Schicchi's pants fell off. Best part of the show was when he took the god damned things off under his nightie and flung his pants and undies into the audience, Well, not quite. But I woulda done that. My Schicchi handled everything with aplomb, as did the entire cast all night, giving the audience the music, performances and the show-through a good bit of muttering and gnashing of teeth (me.)

Nice press coverage thus far.  There were a couple of audiences members over the past two nights. I was on my way to passing a hat to them. (Not you, Ryan) Cough up. No free rides. I wish I had but it's not my job, tactful guy that I am.I'm going to a wake this afternoon and a funeral in the morning. No, no my own. Don't get excited. For the rest I'm eating pizza and chocolate and doing two live broadcasts. And so it went. The shows themselves will be capital W Wonderful. This thanks to the artists and staff of Opera Project Columbus. Give them money.

P.S. To singers. This is one of my all time favorites. Helen of Troy after her wedding night In one of the great great great performances. Too bad she can't sing with all of YOU!

Thursday, June 13, 2013


Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Sat 8 pm Sunday 3 pm
Jewsih Community Center of Columbus
tix at the door

Christopher Purdy

Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924) spent some of his time writing the wonderful operas we love today, among them: Madama Butterfly, La boheme, Tosca and Gianni Schicchi,  and spent most of his time chasing down subjects for his next opera, arguing with librettists, placating singers, supervising rehearsals, and trying to stay clear of his bad tempered wife, Elvira.

Like Verdi before him and Mozart before him, Puccini was never satisfied until he had found a new subject for an opera. Later in his career he found three subjects. He planned an evening of three one -act operas and called the grouping Il trittico.
He completed a one act grande-guignol shocker, Il tabarro, (The Cloak) and the story of a young woman who bears a child she is forced to give up, and made to enter a convent: Suor Angelica.  Gianni Schicchi , Puccini’s only comedy,  was the only one of the three to achieve success in the composer’s life time. It was the last opera Puccini completed.

Puccini’s librettist for Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi was Giovacchino Forzano (1884-1970). Forzano had studied singing and medicine before turning to journalism. He continued his career as a stage director at La Scala and as a playwright. For Gianni Schicchi ,  the writer turned a few lines from Dante’s Divina Commedia. The story of Gianni Schicchi is expanded upon in Commentary on the Divine Comedy by an Anonymous Florentine of the 14th century. The subject didn’t immediately interest Puccini, who thought the plot too complicated.

Here’s the deal: In 13th century Florence, old Buoso Donati has just died. A rumor has
Giuseppe DeLuca as Figaro. He was the first Gianni Schicchi
been going around that Buoso has left his entire estate, including his house, his mule (la mula) and the mills at Signa (I mulini di Signa) to the local monks. This will never do. Buoso’s family searches frantically for the will (‘il testamento’) and find the rumors to be true. Young Rinuccio suggests calling on Gianni Schicchi, a wily soul of lower classes who is nevertheless the smartest guy in the room. The fact that Rinuccio is in love with Schicchi’s daughter Lauretta doesn’t hurt. The family is outraged. They want no part of this low rent upstart and his daughter.

Rincuccio prevails and Schicchi and Lauretta arrive. Gianni has as little use for the Donati as they for him. Nevertheless he has Buoso’s body taken out, dresses in Buoso’s clothes, summons the lawyers and dictates Buoso Donati’s new will leaving the mills at Signa, the house and the mule to…Gianni Schicchi. Lauretta and Rinuccio chirp away romantically. The relatives loot everything they can carry and Gianni Schicchi, consigned to hell by Dante, asks for our applause.

Work on Il trittico began around the beginning of World War I. Puccini’s recent opera The Girl of the Golden West, was written for the Metropolitan in New York. That premiere, with Caruso, Toscanini and Emmy Destinn had been a success, but as the years went by critics carped this was not Puccini at his best. World War I made a production of his newest effort, La rondine difficult. Domestic problems and supervising productions of his operas in Europe and America kept Puccini pre -occupied. Finally the Met asked him for another new opera, and wound up with three.
Florence Easton the first Lauretta

Opening night in New York, December 14, 1918, was THE musical event of the season, as The Girl had been eight years earlier. No expense was spared. The first casts included some of opera’s  greatest names: Giuseppe de Luca, Claudia Muzio, Geraldine Farrar and Luigi Montesano. British soprano Florence Easton as Lauretta made O mio babbino caro an instant hit. De Luca, adored by New Yorkers, delighted with his Gianni Schicchi. The audience laughed and applauded the wily Gianni and the horrible Donati relatives. Il tabarro and Suor Angelica were another story. Neither rose above a success d’estime. Not even Farrar, opera’s most glamorous soprano,  could save Puccini’s doomed nun. Puccini was heard to say, “La Farrar has lost her voice!” Il tabarro was thought too dark and heavy. The opening night audience, having endured two operas they didn’t like, may have lost hope until the curtain rose on the dead Buoso Donati, his awful relatives, a pair of young lovers and a smart and shifty title character.

The years have been good to Il tabarro and Suor Angelica. Gianni Schicchi was an
Geraldine Farrar the first Suor Angelca
immediate hit, needing no one’s help. O mio babbino caro was encored. De Luca was cheered to the walls.  The New York Times feared critic W.J. Henderson was polite to Farrar and Muzio and called Gianni Schicchi “one of the most delightful bits ever put on the Metropolitan stage.” Puccini, womanizer he was, was one of very few men who never cared for Geraldine Farrar,  but the success of Gianni Schicchi didn’t surprise him. He turned his attention to the Italian premier scheduled for later that December, and went to work on his opera Turandot. But that is another story. 

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 12

This is the Spanish tenor Hipolito Lazaro (1887-1974).  Puccini was a big fan. He tried to get Lazaro for Turandot but senor tenore anted too much money. La Scala wouldn't pay it. I love Lazaro's ego: "Caruso is my understudy!" he would cry. As if.

Late rehearsals often go to shit. Here's the combination. Italian conductor leading a newly formed band, mostly young people. A cramped performance space. Lights being run for the first time. An antsy 11 year old. Balance issues. Oh, and did I mention we were told a tornado was en route. If you have opera, who needs a tornado? We didn't get one.

We did get, against the odds, a wonderful tech run last night. I sent out a few notes. None to Gianni himself because there's nothing I can add to his performance. Lauretta isn't too sweet and it just bitchy enough. Bitchy is more interesting any day. Simone practically re-staged the finale, thanks be to God, lugging the very table off stage with the other loot. Nella and Ciesca don't have enough to do vocally, but on stage throughout they are gorgeous. this lady known for her equanimity can be such a meany on stage is a testament to art. Rinuccio is just horny enough without being a pig. I myself have no objections to horniness, distant memory it may be, but there's a fine line to vulgarity. I hate vulgarity in opera. Did I tell you about the production of Un ballo in mashera in Spain...where the curtain opened on a row of men sitting on toilets with their pants down. One critic was smart enough to say, "The beasts didn't even wipe their bottoms!"

The Maestro just phoned. He was full of praise for the singers and orchestra. His greatest concern  balance. It was good last night and it will be better with an audience.

I e mailed my buddy Charles Long abut this production and about our Schicchi in particular. Charles was a New York City Opera baritone with a strong regional carer through the 1980s. He's just published a memoir called Adventures in the Scream Trade. Anyone wanting a career in opera needs to read this book. Go to confession first, if you're Catholic because you are going to die laughing. I discuss the book elsewhere on this blog. Do a search. Charles and I were lamenting the shitti-ness of some of the opera business-getting in always about who you  know and often about who you shtup (and I'd get it in writing) I needed his advice about how to help singers up the next step. Read his book.

Final dress tonight. Two complete runs. Stage the curtain call in between. And so to bed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 11

I must admit last night had me nervous. It was the first rehearsal with orchestra. With the band on stage, would the singers even be heard? Would the Maestro freak that the staging doesn't keep in line line of the singer's vision?

No worries. All sounded great. The reduced orchestration is fine for the hall. I'm still moved when in the midst of the yammer Puccini cushions all with the magnificent 'babbino caro' melody, and I was thrilled hearing it last night. One thing I'm grateful for. The music I loved fifty years ago I love still, and it always sounds new and wonderful to me.  When you work up close and personal with any music you thought
 you knew so well, you always get to hear and learn new things. The Maestro discussing context has me realizing once and for all that fine composers always put stage directions in the music. In the music.
I never knew what singers like Domingo and Caballe meant when they insisted that stage directions are in the score. Now I know better. The old words v. music argument is baloney. They work together. One does not function without the other--obviously--but when you really listen for this fusion the score tells you what to do.

Met with the lighting designer last night. Previously when I'd ask for lighting I'd be told you want 'em on or off? Not here. This fella has lit GS before and has often worked in our space. His knowledge and manner were very re- assuring.

La Scala, Milan-full house. If they can do it so can OPC
Tonight is the last time I'll be able to impose changes in staging (Ethel Merman used to day, Call me Miss Birdseye, honey. I'm frozen in.) The family will wait in the front of house and begin moaning and wailing there. Gherardino will fetch them as before. (He's the only one of us all who can really run!) I want the cast to be onstage-apron is fine-at the first 'Povero Buoso!" Gherardino and Rinuccio will fetch the Notary, Gubbio and Pinellino. The front and center entrance I wanted won't work now. They will walk straight back of stage and swing down to the table. Rino will  usher them forth!


For the very top of the show. The Maestro will enter and bow. Before the downbeat, Nella,  Gherardo, Gherardino will come in form stage right...Gherardo will be carrying a huge bunch of flowers (you saw them last night-wonderfully hideous) They will go over to kiss Buoso and realize he's dead. Then the pantomime and sending Gheardino out. Gherardino's exit is the downbeat.)

(It's been a rough week. A dear friend died of cancer on Monday. The next day another phoned to say she's just been diagnosed. A third friend has been struggling with cancer for the past year. I'm grateful to be surrounded by Puccini and all this excellence even while texts messages beep in from hospitals. )

He may just buy a seat to Gianni Schicchi
I have no idea about ticket sales. I prefer not to know. I have enough to worry about. But with all the fine musicianship in this town it would be shame not to have two filled houses. During all the CSO troubles a few years ago I went on air and said-me being me-that the audience has a responsibility, too. It's fine to say "Oh, yes, it's great to have a _____(symphony, opera, ballet, chamber orchestra, museum, fill in the blank)" but bottoms in seats and drachmas spent at the box office are better than lip service.
It's long been my experience that rehearsals seldom yield believable performances. But once the curtain goes up, the characters are there to savor. I've never seen a strike out in this respect, and I won't now. And I have a new job back stage with a walkie-talkie, shortening my life!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 10

Giuditta Pasta 1797-1865

Getting ready to produce a slew of radio shows including a writer's round table and a chat show this Friday about summer day trips to museums (like I would know),  I was pleased when the mail brought my Father's Day present, the new recording of Bellini's Norma with Cecilia Bartoli.. Loud is the gnashing of teeth among the informed over a lyric mezzo attacking this opera. They forget, Giuditta Pasta, the first Norma,  was herself probably a lyric mezzo. Descriptions of her singing-she died 150 years ago-note a shrill and incomplete technique, many notes missing-especially in the middle of the voice-and an astonishing musicianship and presence. Bartoli's voice is lovely and complete. No problems. She does not sing Norma-as-Amazon but Norma, suffering mother and discarded wife. So far, tenor John Osborn is too soft grained for my idea of Pollione. But the recording engineers didn't ask me for ideas, now did they?

I guess I digressed, huh?

Last night. First night in the hall. We had our indispensable pianist making music on an electric keyboard. He was sweet and firm with out Gherardino leading me to think that his future Father's Days will be a love fest.Our three pianists hear things in this score I've never imagined, and I'm old enough to be-well, their fathers.

(I need to keep Gherardino occupied on stage)

We had a carpet, a couch, nice stage dressing, some furniture set up by 7 p.m. when the onstage festivities began. I have almost no aesthetic sense. I drive a shit box car and live in thrift shop clothes. I've worn the same coat for thirty years. I could buy a new coat ad better clothes. Am I naked? No. (God is merciful) With the money I save I can buy Cecilia Bartoli in Norma. That said, I'm not one to judge the look of the sets and props. All seemed attractive and functional. There were some inevitable traffic jams onstage. Even with much more space  than in rehearsal, the tendency is still to bunch up.That will pass.

Spinellocchio's sweet bumbling was a nice surprise and a job well done. I need to make better use of  Nella and Ciesca-both great looking and sounding women.

I can't explain to the cast how to really react to one another without them clearly understanding the words being sung to them and the responses Puccini/Forzano has them deliver. In this opera  it is more important to be present when you have nothing to sing. Edward Downes told me that Callas was impressive while singing but incredible when onstage listening and watching.

Simone is an inventive fellow coming up with some good stage business and Zita has the Callas message pretty down. I love that, when an artist takes the role and the direction and then goes. That, plus listening and watching in character is what separates the singers from the artists.That and coloring the words. One of my favorite examples of immediately setting a mood with a few notes comes from Lotte Lehmann's performance of Seit ich ihn gesehn, the first lied in Schumann's Fraunenliebe und-leben

She creates a mood, the wonder of a young woman in love for the first time, just with the first intake of breath. We aren't used to this level of personal communication today. We've all been diluted by too much information...things that matter are harder to discern. Schumann got it and so did Lehmann. The Schicchi cast is getting there,.

Orchestra tonight. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 9

Frank Corsaro
Experience tells me that there is at least one day in any rehearsal period where people are pissy to the extreme. I was not in a great mood this past Saturday. I had expected the entire cast for the first time, and we got very close I must say, only one absence. That in fact was the closest we've had to the complete cast since rehearsals began in mid-May. And yes, I'm just being a culo about this, but sometimes being so is necessary and fun. Almost every one is off book, and Saturday we did have a fine pianist. She claimed to be sight reading. I'll tell you, the general level of musicianship in this town is very high.

Our Gherardino was present. I have to make more use of him on stage. The trick is to keep him busy but not have him upstage the show. Adorable kids can do that, without meaning to.
Tito Gobbi, a great Schicchi shown here as Scarpia
It serves no one to keep an 8 year old unoccupied for long period of time. He opens the show, and has the business and two lines dictated by Puccini and Forzano.

He hadn't been able to count his line properly. (I can't either)  Too excited. The Maestro, as I knew he would, worked patiently and in a matter-of fact way. No dippy shit some adults use when working with kids. Luckily, Gherardino seems very well adjusted and he enjoyed the extra rehearsal.

In short, I as the only one of Saturday who seemed pissy.

Here's a magnificent distraction. The great Tito Gobbi (1913-1984) on Italian television in the 50s. There were many greater voices. Few greater artists. Find out more about him.

Tonight please God we will have the entire cast for the very very very first time. Its just us family at the Jewish Center. I'm told there'll be an electric piano, and one of our regular-highly gifted pianists. This will be the first time cast works in the space. We have worked in quite the cramped quarters prior to tonight. Tonight well be about starting and stopping for physical readjustments to the space. I also have to insure that all can see the Maestro and vice versa. Is a mother's work never done or what?

I wish I had the one one hundreth talent of the great Frank Corsaro (years ago I was lucky to be in the same
ROOM with Frank Corsaro, and if you don't know him look him up) Corsaro would demand very intricate stage business and if the singers complained he would say, Really ? Well,  you have a problem then, don't you? This from a guy who directed Tennessee Williams and Bette Davis at their drunken worst and told them both to fuck off, more than once. You gotta love a guy like this . By the way, if you're singer/performer, .or anyone else reading this blog, you should run not walk to any library and read Corsaro's book, Maverick..

 (I know this is too long. There's a 7 minute abridgement on youtube, can't be embedded. But go find it)

Also tonight, props, linens, the couch and the screen, etc. I don't know what the hell they want the screen for but Linda will schlep along in her van, God love her.

Stop- start. Moves in the space. See the conductor-who will be absent. That's tonight. Tomorrow we have Himself and the orchestra. And the shit may fly. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 8

Puccini in 1917

I sat there last night in this dingy church basement with a crummy piano and I listened to our cast sing this show for the 768th time...and I marveled all of the voices and enjoyed every moment of what I was hearing. I still am not tired of Gianni Schicchi. I still get a real lift when Lauretta and Rinuccio begin their duet "addio, speranza bella"...I still laugh at Gianni's first lines: What a sad looking bunch of people. Buoso Donati must be recovering! I still chuckle when Zita crows, "No No No un momento! Pezzo di lei!"

The longer I study this score the more I marvel and how well constructed this opera is. Puccini was such a master. He mixes exquisite melody with cynicism, romance and comedy. All is 53 minutes.

All of our cast have voices appropriate to their roles. Our Schicchi is a world class baritone. I'd tell you to write his name down but I promised not to use names on this blog. All the more reason for you to come to the show:


   go to

 Adorable soprano and a tenor who has a nice macho swagger and is not afraid of sweetness. Our Zita isn't afraid to be nasty. Last night she channeled Miss Gulch, pretty woman that she is. And a fantastic voice. One is a Verdi mezzo waiting to happen. Another is working on a big boy tenor career.

Something else happened last night. After a photo shoot a few of the cast went out for pizza. I took the opportunity to tell something of our Maestro's background. The artists he grew up hearing.The level of music making that was put into his bones as a young child. He knew and worked with Tebaldi, Bastiannini, DiStefano, Callas, Muti, de Sabata, huge names. Huge huge huge names. And here  he is in a church basement teaching young artists Gianni Schicchi word by word. Count your blessings. If you listen enough and apply what he says to characterizations you may very well go to the head of the class in auditions.

Okay, here's a story and a voice. Puccini died in 1924. A few months before his death he was sitting at an outdoor cafe near his home with a few hunting buddies. A woman with long black hair came up behind him, hit him on the back and said-in Italian-Hi there, I'm a red skin from New York. Apparently the Maestro was not impressed and was this close to calling the carbinieri when the lady laughed and revealed herself to be Rosa Ponselle. In 1924, Ponselle, who was 27,  was already considered THE great Italianate soprano (She was born Rose Ponzillo in Meriden, Connecticut) Puccini got the joke and Ponselle later sang Vissi d'arte for him. Puccini remarked, "What a shame I have heard this voice, too late."

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 7

Gilda Dalla Rizza (1892-1975)
 This is Gilda Della Rizza. She was one of Puccini's favorite sopranos. Known as a great beauty, she was a celebrated Tosca and Madama Butterfly. Puccini wrote the role of Magda in La rondine for her. Puccini was more interested in the Italian opening of Il trittico than in the Metropolitan Opera performances a few weeks earlier. La Dalla Rizza was Suor Angelica and Lauretta in the Italian premiere. She it was who made Suor Angelica a hit after it died onstage in New York. She gave quite the testy interview a few weeks before her death:

 "After coming in and standing silently, Lauretta must quickly establish her character in the midst of all the confusion, with Donati's family running around. She is no coy or modest well brought up Florentine girl, but a determined young woman. Her first phrase, "Rinuccio, non lasciami", Puccini wanted fairly loud so that it would be heard distinctly over the din of the action, but not overly so. To find just the right volume caused me much worry. 'You must let them know what you want with that first sentence',  Puccini kept saying."

Let me say at the outset: It was a long night. Monday was a long night and it seemed long. We were missing a few people. We're at the point that continued runs of the show without the Maestro don't have much point. Also, I'm going back to look at the theater tonight. I hope I'll be able to picture the staging in the actual performance stage, and begin adjusting accordingly.

I knew on my first visit to the JCC that the space would be problematic for staged opera with orchestra. The pit accommodates ten, not helpful with Puccini. I sheepishly suggested using piano but reminded tartly (and appropriately) that we are trying to grow and expand the company and the audience and a piano accompanied Italian opera is not the sway to go. That's correct. Point taken.

The entire auditorium has to be used. I've staged using deliberately a smaller on stage space than I expect to have. We are on the floor at the very foot of the sage. In the two aisles, even scrounging through the audience looking for the testamento. I'm trying to avoid line-ups. Hell, the Met does line ups but I'm trying to at least do triangles with the occasional parallelogram.

Gianni wore his costume last night--snappy black number with a cap on OSU shorts. Lovely. The MAestro does't easnt him bare legged. He won't be. I still want him to wear adoavle underpants -for when the ladies strip and re dress him as Buoso,.

Ah, the Maestro. He spent 20 minutes on one word. The young woman was far more patient that I ever would have been. She probably realized that in this seemingly endless coaching, the character emerged-with the turn of one word. Likewise a number of our signers were getting pissy. This was a micro-rehearsal by a native  Italian speaker who has known Puccini's operas since he was ten. I thought one of the guys was going to deck him. The stops were quite long. But even the feistiest fella, after a few repeats began to show the character in his face. I saw people become Betto, Simone, Zita, Lauretta und so weiter .

Our Spinelocchio hadn't been doing much. The Maestro took hold of him like a hungry puppy. AH! I want you to do this bolongnese! He demonstrated a whistle-y diction and our Spino mastered it-and a tall young man became a grimy, elderly doctor.

So yes, it was long, hot and maybe annoying. You won't gt this kind of detailed rehearsal many places. You;'ll be thrown on and told to get the hell off. I learned how important the language is, how crucial it is to investigate alternate meanings (sub- text). I know enough to establish characterizations and give moves, blocking. The Maestro knows how to get those characters to live.

I'll try to bring a muffin basket. Let's all drink extra coffee, take an extra potty break or two and gear up for the final run of rehearsals. Deliziosa. 

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Gianni Schicchi Diary pt. 6

Giotto di Bondone 1266-1337

Lotta music yesterday in a beautiful private home. Our hosts are Italian speakers and supporters of the opera and the Maestro, who came in around 4.30. Immediately Gianni Schicchi the opera became more focused. Seriously, it pays to work with a native Italian speakers in an ensemble opera like this once. Especially since many of the ensembles are presto-quick. You need the dental consonants
, the  liquid vowels and the crispness of the diction. Puccini's music doesn't let you wallow in the words, but use them as intended, for expression.
Piazza Santa Croce

he Maestro also challenged me a bit with Puccini's stage directions as indicated i n the score. I see that our Gherardino will have more to do, especially at the beginning of the opera. Nico Castel suggests the boy's restlessness means he has to go to the bathroom. Fa il pipi...Maybe. The Maestro talked of a Florentine loving a bouncing ball. Whether he was kidding me-and he does have humor with an edge-a bouncing ball is not a bad idea.  He can run and bounce through the aisles. Problem is he's a cute kid and we do after all want people trained on the singers and the music,. What a balance between active stagings and respect for the music. It is possible to achieve both.  A gifted director knows how to do it. I will keep on leaning.,

Rinuccio gives us a travelogue of Florence, likening it to a tree  in flower. There are references to Giotto and the Piazza Santa Croce

I'm counting on the Maestro to keep Firenze in front of us. He is Fiorentino. Yesterday he touched briefly upon the differences in accent between a Roman and a  Florentine. A Florentine will make a lisping sound more than a Roman. Rinuccio tells us what Florence means-in beauty, trees, flowers, art, the Arno:

It's that first opening of the shutters I want you to see, from this lovely film.

And Gianni Schicchi himself reminds the Donati that nobody wants to be exiled from Florence, much less have their hand chopped off for falsifying a will:

Onward! Next rehearsal this Tuesday. Staging review for one hour followed by music rehearsal. Some of us go to visit the performance space on Wednesday. Fingers crossed.