Music with Ease > 19th Century Italian Opera > L'Amico Fritz - Mascagni
(English title: Friend Fritz)
An Opera by Pietro Mascagni
Opera in three acts, by Pietro Mascagni; text by Suaratoni, from the story of Erckmann-Chatrian. Produced, Rome 1891. Philadelphia, by Gustav Hinrichs, June 8, 1892. New York, Metropolitan Opera House, with Calvé as Susel, January 10, 1894.
FRITZ KOBUS, a rich bachelor
DAVID, a Rabbi
FREDERICO, a friend of Fritz
HANEGO, a friend of Fritz
SUSEL, a farmers daughter
BEPPE, a gypsy
CATERINA, a housekeeper
Time: The present.
Act I. Fritz Kobus, a well-to-do landowner and confirmed bachelor, receive felicitations on his fortieth birthday. He invites his friends to dine with him. Among the guests is Susel, his tenants daughter, who presents him with a nosegay, and sits beside him. Never before has he realized her charm. Rabbi David, a confirmed matchmaker, wagers with the protesting Fritz that he will soon be married.
Act II. Friend Fritz is visiting Susels father. The charming girl mounts a ladder in the garden, picks cherries, and throws them down to Fritz, who is charmed. When Rabbi David appears and tells him that he has found a suitable husband for Susel Fritz cannot help revealing his own feelings.
Act III. At home again Fritz finds no peace. David tells him Susels marriage has been decided on. Fritz loses his temper; says he will forbid the bans. Susel, pale and sad, comes in with a basket of fruit. When her wedding is mentioned she bursts into tears. That gives Fritz his chance which he improves. David wins his wager, one of Fritzs vineyards, which he promptly bestows upon Susel as a dowry.
The duet of the cherries in the second act is the principal musical number in the opera.