Thursday, October 6, 2016

Pittsburgh Savoyards Start 79th Season with Bicentennial Celebration

Pittsburgh Savoyards Launch New Season

The Pittsburgh Savoyards prepare to launch a new season of topsy-turvy fun with Giacomo Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi, followed by Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury. The production is set to run Oct. 7-9 and 13-16, 2016 at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library and Music Hall at 300 Beechwood Ave, Carnegie, Pa 15106.

Longtime music director and conductor Guy Russo will lead the ensemble and orchestra, and stage director Jim Critchfield will bring both operas to life, giving them a fresh Pittsburgh-themed interpretation in honor of the city bicentennial.

Both one-acts, the comic operas will be performed together each night as a double feature. The operas will also be performed in English and with supertitles projected above the stage accompanying the song lyrics each night. Adult general admission tickets will be $25 each at the box office, with discounted admission available for children, students and seniors.

Those who order tickets by Oct.4 can take advantage of the special early bird discount. Local non-profit organizations have the opportunity to apply for limited blocks of free tickets to any of the performances.    Interested organizations can direct inquiries to or call 412-734-8476. If the number of applications exceeds the amount of available tickets, non-profits with an educational mission will take precedence.

The company invites all attendees of the opening night performance to attend a free reception, located upstairs from the music hall and scheduled to immediately follow final curtain call. There, audience members can celebrate the show’s opening over food and wine with the cast, crew, orchestra, and administrative board.

Critchfield’s Pittsburgh-themed version of Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi centers on the Donati family, who mourn the loss of their patriarch Buoso. Upon discovering that Buoso left his entire fortune to a monastery, the greedy family members hire title character Gianni Schicchi, a self-made man, to attempt to rewrite Buoso’s will by having Schicchi impersonate the dead man and trick the notary into signing the new will. A series of secret deals and ridiculous plans that lead to a twist provide the comedic element of the work.

Following Gianni Schicchi, Trial by Jury brings the audience to the court case of plaintiff Angelina and defendant Edwin. After breaking off his engagement with Angelina, the fickle-hearted Edwin tells the court he has fallen in love with another woman and eventually proposes to simply marry both women, a suggestion met by strong objection from Angelina. More issues ensue when the judge and the entire jury fall in love with Angelina, and in typical Gilbert-esque style, the situation resolves in a most nonsensical way.

        Fact Sheet  

The Pittsburgh Savoyards is a semiprofessional non-profit theatre company based in the Pittsburgh community, founded in 1938.

The group’s name comes from the Savoy Theatre in London, where many of the operettas originally premiered.  

The current President of the company’s board of trustees is Michael Greenstein. Vice President is Andrea Carriker, Secretary is James Newsome, and Treasurer is Lynette Garlan. Board members serve two terms with alternating election years.  

he Trial by Jury and Gianni Schicchi double feature kicks off the Savoyards’ 79th season. Show dates and times are Oct. 7 at 8pm, Oct. 8 at 8pm, Oct. 9 at 2:30pm, Oct. 13 at 8pm, Oct. 14 at 8pm, Oct. 15 at 8pm, and Oct. 16 at 2:30pm. *Multiple roles are double cast.

The company will perform both operas each night.

A reception will follow the opening night performance. Those who attend the performance are invited to attend.

 Trial by Jury is the second collaboration between W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan. The comic opera is one act and originally debuted Mar. 25, 1875 at the Royalty Theatre in London.  Gianni Schicchi is a one-act comic opera by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini. The libretto is by Giovacchino Forzano. The opera premiered on Dec. 14, 1918 at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.

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