L’AMICO FRITZ by Mascagni at the Royal Danish Opera

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The Old Stage, Copenhagen, OCTOBER 25, 2015

L’amico Fritz  is an opera in three acts by Pietro Mascagni, premiered in 1891 from a libretto by P. Suardon (Nicola Daspuro) (with additions by Giovanni Targioni-Tozzetti), based on the French novel L’ami Fritz by Émile Erckmann and Pierre-Alexandre Chatrian.

The opera enjoyed some success in its day and is probably Mascagni’s most famous work after Cavalleria rusticana. Today it is performed far more rarely than Cavalleria, so this is a great opportunity to watch it!! The “Cherry Duet” between Fritz and Suzel in Act 2 is the best known piece in the opera and has never left the duet repertoire.

Cast

Fritz: Scott Quinn

Suzel: Natalya Romaniw

David: Lars Møller

Beppe: Andrea Pellegrini

Federico: Alexander Grove

Hanezò: Jesper Brun-Jensen

Caterina: Christel Smith

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SYNOPSIS

Time: indefinite; sometime in the 19th century Place: indefinite; probably somewhere in Alsace

Act 1

The dining room of Fritz Kobus’ house

Fritz Kobus, a wealthy landowner is in discussion with his friend David, the local rabbi. Despite his disdain for marriage Fritz agrees to provide the dowry for a young couple. Fritz’s friends join him to celebrate his birthday. He is presented with a bouquet by Suzel, the daughter of one of his tenants. She joins the birthday celebration and is moved when the gypsy Beppe enters playing his violin. When Suzel leaves David comments that she will make a good bride and that he will find her a husband. Fritz protests that she is too young. They argue about marriage and Fritz bets David one of his vineyards that he will never marry.

Act 2

The courtyard of a farm

Suzel is preparing to pick cherries as the farmers go out to the fields. Fritz approaches and helps her.. They sing of the enchantment of the spring and the flowers. Fritz’s friends arrive and Fritz leaves to look over the farms. David stays behind to talk to Suzel. When he suggests that she might be a bride, she becomes embarrassed and leaves. Fritz returns and David mentions that he thinks he has found the right man for Suzel to marry. Fritz becomes visibly upset and, left alone, realizes that he is in love with the girl.

Act 3

The dining room of Fritz Kobus’ house

Fritz cannot banish thoughts of Suzel. Beppe enters and attempts to cheer him up with a song, but Fritz becomes even more depressed. David arrives and tells Fritz that Suzel is engaged to a fine young man and her father will soon ask for Fritz’s blessing. Enraged, Fritz says that he will refuse and leaves. Suzel enters sadly but David insists that everything will be all right. He leaves her alone and she voices her despair and love for Fritz. Fritz enters and asks about her engagement. He quickly senses that she does not love her intended. Fritz reveals his feelings for her and the two admit their love. David enters and declares that he has won his wager with Fritz, telling him that he is going to give his winnings, Fritz’s vineyard, to Suzel as a wedding present. <Sarasota Opera program notes, 2009>

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