Opera on Screen
Cosi fan Tutte: Paris National Opera
June 25 & 28
Prompted by Don Alfonso, a cynical old philosopher, two young idealists decide to put their lovers’ fidelity to the test. But love will teach them a bitter lesson: those who believe themselves phoenixes and goddesses will discover the desires of the flesh… In 1790, one year after the French Revolution, in what would be their final collaboration, Mozart and Da Ponte conduct a scientific investigation of love. The music of Così fan tutte is truly extraordinary – complex in its symmetry, jovial and yet infused with an almost sacred melancholia. An extraordinary score where each note seems intended to make us accept a loss – lost paradise, lost youth, or a lost loved-one – and portray a world where all is in a constant state of flux. This laboratory of eroticism could but inspire choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, who excels in revealing a work’s innermost geometry on stage. With six singers doubled by six dancers, she depicts the desire which unites and separates human beings, like the interactions between atoms that, once broken, make new bonds possible. (3:28)
Faust: Teatro Regio Torino
July 16 & 19
By placing a giant black ring centre-stage that casts an ominous shadow over the singers and dominates the action, director Stefano Poda has moved the storyline of the restless searcher Faust, to an abstract, seemingly futuristic hall, thereby ensuring that the most fascinating stage moments are not due only to sophisticated lighting.
Thanks to the excellent and enthusiastic cast, Poda deftly guides the opera to triumph. Charles Castronovo in the title role is especially convincing, with his brilliant acting and mellifluous singing. Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov – a regular in all major opera houses around the world – stars as the demonic Méphistophélès. As the innocent young girl Marguerite, Moldovan soprano Irina Lungu demonstrates her remarkable voice with crystal-clear timbre.
Premiered in Paris in 1859, the opera enjoyed instant success. Today, Charles Gounod’s Faust is one of the most popular works in the French opera repertoire. Goethe’s tragedy in two parts serves as the foundation, while Michael Carré’s French version Faust et Marguerite, provided Gounod with the impetus for his musical rendition of the text.