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We Are Richer Having Lost Him 

Death is the last great mystery; it’s also a bit of a pickle for the survivors of the deceased. What’s the appropriate response to the death of a loved one? Giacomo Puccini examines the aftermath of death in his one-act operas Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicci, and the results are wildly divergent in tone and plot. In Suor Angelica, the titular nun, Angelica, longs for news of her noble family -– and also of the child she was forced to abandon. In the seven years since her cloistering, Angelica has had no word from the outside world. But when the news finally comes, it’s not all good; her response is an act of passion, but one that yields a holy vision of peace and reconciliation. In Gianni Schicci, the news of a man’s death brings out something much worse in the relatives -– greed for his soon-to-be-disbursed worldly possessions. Clever Gianni sees the family’s turmoil as an avenue to marrying the woman he loves, and so he assumes a new identity and uses everyone’s avarice as a means to an end, with hilarious results. The Union Avenue Opera presents both Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicci at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday (July 20 through 28) at the Union Avenue Christian Church (733 North Union Boulevard; 314-361-2881 or www.unionavenueopera.org). Tickets are $25 to $50.
Fridays, Saturdays. Starts: July 20. Continues through July 28

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