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Classical music festival “Settimane Musicali al Teatro Olimpico”“ ended with the opera “Cosi fan Tutte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Set up with contemporary costumes, this year the work was presented in a more traditional form, with the orchestra in the pit and the stage used for the scene. Maestro Giovanni Battista “Titta” Rigon conducted the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto and the direction has been signed by Lorenzo Regazzo, internationally famous singer who played the role of Don Alfonso.
This opera marks your debut as a director, what led you to choose just this title?
Regazzo Lorenzo: “I made my debut in January with “Cenerentola “in Treviso and Ferrara, that was my official debut, then there had been a previous experience here, in 2011 with” Don Giovanni “, it was a mise en espace, I wasn’t credited but someone had already pointed out that there was a job by someone and my name came out. Let’s say this is my Mozart debut, I was proposed the title by Titta and it will be the first of the series about the trilogy with Da Ponte, “Così fan tutte” first, then “Don Giovanni” and then “The Marriage of Figaro”. He brought the “Così fan tutte” and I gladly accepted because it’s a fantastic title, which may reflect a perfect contemporaneity: the fact that there are two couples in love, even though they are very relegated to 1700 if we clean it from these things, it’s a libretto of a shocking modernity to propose to a director, is a great incentive.”
This work is the last of the trilogy written by Da Ponte-Mozart, where the first title is “The Marriage of Figaro” in 1786, then the “Don Giovanni” in ‘and ’87 and the last is “Cosi fan tutte” in ’90. These operas just ride the middle period of the French Revolution, Bastille Day is July 14, 1789. How much historical events and cultures of origin of the two authors do influence the writing?
“It starts from” The Marriage of Figaro “, we are in full unrest; in “Cosi fan tutte” is the awareness of a different kind of excitement that is all intellectual and about Enilightment. ”
wich then will “explode” with the “Flute”
“Yes, but here we come from a more earthly evolution, realistic, of the people, a revolution which I think is really about the feelings. I do not think that there has been no one who has staged a total chaos, even though everything remains at the level of crinolines, however, if one analyzes what happens in the second act, we are just in a contemporary revolution that could be featured in “The Marriage of Figaro.” In my opinion, this second act of “Cosi fan tutte” is something truly revolutionary because, despite the placidity of Mozart’s music is not inert but always says something with a smile, it happens everything. In the first act we have all of the pieces together, quartets, sextets, then everything calms down in the second act, we have a series of tunes that one says “what a bore” and it is precisely there that any aria features a hit, a chain reaction and I think that’s the beauty of Da Ponte’s libretto and commentary, always with that smile. This is the category of the sublime that tells us: “I am not speaking but there is everything there.”
When two years ago Don Giovanni was staged, I interviewed Maestro Rigon and talked about how much Mozart, in his theater, has in common with Shakespeare’s ability to stage the paradoxes, one by the finest literary language, the other with the language of music. Even here there are similarities, they speak of an exchange of people and a gamble, as in “The Merchant of Venice”, the human being has to deal with a price to pay and the stakes are the people themselves . From the actor’s point of view there are actually points of contact between Mozart and Shakespeare in conceiving the characters?
“I think it is a treasure: the” Cosi fan tutte “in my opinion is its peak but the identification of the character written with the search for a human-individual, is closer to Shakespere, here there’s everything. If we take a deeper look, Mozart and Da Ponte are very similar in this, we can analyze and find the individuality of great depth that are really similar to Shakespeare, then it takes a “para-theatral” directing job because Da Ponte’s libretto is fantastic but from theater and characters they spring very strong similarities, as you said.”
You made the two sisters as theatre classic characters, not only from comedy: the double that shows itself with different characteristics but, in the end, to express uniformity: Fiordiligi more thoughtful and elegant, instead Dorabella has the stage presence of a self-confident rock star, ready to “eat” the stage. But they both wear t-shirts with their boyfriends’ faces. It seems that as they want to assign themselves a role in society eventually they fall into an expressivity that is more established with the flow of fashions that overwhelms the masses.
the same thing happens in another way in Goldoni’s “The Mistress of the Inn,” because Baron Ripafratta elevates her a bit but then she returns from her boyfriend. Also Don Alfonso looks a lot like Don Marzio in “La bottega del caffè” (The Coffee Shop), who sits in the piazza gossiping, watching people and maligning, mischief making .
” There will always be similarities with Goldoni farce and Commedia dell’Arte because these are the archetypes. I tried to highlight that the problem of “Cosi fan tutte” is the symmetry: we see how the two pairs are very similar, the girls are very angelic, holding their hands, the two boys are buddies. For me this didn’t work because I wanted an immediate explosion not only among the personalities, but among loves and everyone, the level of friendship, sisterhood and so on. So I decided since the beginning that the two sisters, who later will be together as you say, they were completely different, always in a conflict, much Big Brother, a bit like a reality show. I hope I have cleared the matter but I made 2 +2 and have done 1 +1 +1 +1 because I wanted each of them to come out with their own individuality. ”
Perhaps this opera is only apparently misogynist, because Don Alfonso eventually manipulates even the two unwary guys and they have fun with it. the maidservant lends herself for money to instigate the two girls in a grotesque disguise as a notary or a doctor. The girls are named barbarians by their napolitan boyfriends because they are from Ferrara. There’s something for all the clichés: why this opera is seen as a work that discriminates against women? Maybe it’s a little reductive.
“I think it is a prejudice that came out in the early ‘800 when ” Cosi fan tutte” was seen as an immoral work, Beethoven criticized it, was pretty much banned, however returned in the repertoire in ‘900. According to me is not a misogynist work but misanthrope. I wrote in the director’s notes, and I think it’s an important thing: Mozart and Da Ponte wrote “Cosi fan tutte”, that is, they chose women, for a reason of duration. If they had said “Così fan tutti”, the work would last 20 minutes, you could do a Scarlatti’s interlude. The man immediately gives way, the woman has to pass a test, they have to drink the poison, must make the party, so many things have to happen; women don’t give in right away. ”
I noticed that when a certain scene is introduced, lights illuminate the entire architectural structure of the stage, as in the cavatina of the two sisters for example. It seems that this type of lighting plays as an introduction to the most important scenes, a bit as a choir.
“I have used this juxtaposition of the Olimpico to make sure that there is something ancient compared to the lights that there is also in the characters, especially in Fiordiligi: there are many scenes where she goes on the cube and takes the position of the statues: that’s a message just to show how this feeling of love, this profess is something old and the great love. Fiordiligi sings two ancient arias proposing faithful love, equalizing it to the front and to the statues. I say: this girl singing this thing makes no sense, she is a caryatid. ”
You are a graduate musician.
“In piano, composition and singing”
How important is knowing how to read music in managing the scenic gesture and composition of the picture image that the public will then have to look at? And then the collaboration with the conductor?
“The problem is not that a director knows how to read music: being a singer for 25 years I have worked with many directors, I found myself working with directors who didn’t even know the libretto, which arrived at the fourth act of” The Marriage of Figaro” asking “what’s spilla?” without saying in wich location festivals and soon that you say, “but what am I doing here?”. If one wants to do things with a certain meticulousness, why should such thing happen? Then one says: ok, creativity, I do not care of the spilla. The fact that one knows the music or not, if one is well prepared, hats off to you. To me it helps to work with singers and gives me some excitement being singer-musician because the priority for me is that there is nothing against the singing. ”
So the priority is always the voice that must be effortless.
“I have to hear the music first and then do the concept.”
This opera is rich in recitatives: the following year he released “The Magic Flute”, Singspiel, opera with spoken parts as in prose, as it was on “The Abduction from the Seraglio” of 1782. How did the form of the Singspiel hasn’t become popular in Italy? Here there are so many recitatives as there are parts of prose as in the flute.
“No, it was a bit a german taste. We come from the Neapolitan and Venetian operas, came just from a reciting- singing, almost a semicanto: if we listen to Monteverdi and Cavalli’s work, we come a bit a mixed form that has remained . This brand is a part of Venetian opera and Neapolitan Italian imprinting. “