A lighthearted tale of familial feud, Giacomo Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi arrives on our free digital streaming platform next Saturday, October 30! The one-act comic opera includes many unforgettable melodies, with “O mio babbino caro” often recalled as the show-stopping aria. Since its premiere in in 1918, the opera stands tall today amongst icons of the opera repertoire, and has featured such world-renowned talent as Florence Easton (at the 1918 premiere), Montserrat Caballé, and Maria Callas.
Familiar or not with the opera itself, you are likely to recognize “O mio babbino caro” for its swelling, memorable melody, ubiquitous in its many appearances across a wide range of popular culture. The aria has popped up in movies, TV shows, cartoons, commercials, and even video games! Today, we’re looking at just a few such moments throughout the aria’s history.
To start off, hear the aria as performed by Hera Hyesang Park, the rising South Korean soprano star playing Lauretta in this fall’s COC production, directed by Amy Lane.
Puccini’s tune has been featured in many movies throughout its 103-year history, including major Hollywood productions like The Truman Show and Rocky Balboa, indie favourites like The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Julien Donkey-Boy, and even as recently as the 2021 Pixar film, Luca.
In James Ivory’s Academy Award-winning A Room with a View, the film foregrounds the aria, welcoming the audience through the credits with the tune.
Bringing his signature brand of physical comedy to the aria’s performance, English actor Rowan Atkinson delivers a full two-minute performance in Mr. Bean’s Holiday.
Iconic TV series dip their toes into “O mio babbino caro” regularly, with the aria appearing in shows like Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Home Improvement, and even Seinfeld.
As seen in our article on The Barber of Seville, cartoons often look to opera for inspiration, as seen in the 1997 Peanuts special, It Was My Best Birthday Ever, Charlie Brown.
Far from the first time Peanuts showed its operatic inclinations, Woodstock brings Snoopy to tears with his whistling rendition in She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown.
Finally, even video games offer nods to Puccini, most notably in the 2001 commercial for the hit Grand Theft Auto III.
Enjoy this classic tune through our second free digital streaming offering of the season, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, streaming to the public starting Saturday, October 30. Sign up for your Free Digital Membership today!