Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così fan tutte - Salzburger Festspiele, Felsenreitschule

Premiere performance 29th July

My first opera of this year's Salzburg festival was the premiere of the (sort of) revival of the Così fan tutte production of 2013 which was transferred to the prestigious Felsenreitschule (rock riding school) and partly (actually mostly) changed. Only around 30% of the original production are left and 70% are new. Sven-Eric Bechtolf worked it through again and improved it a lot with many lovely details and of course with the help of the beautiful arcades of the historic hall. The huge stage was fully used even if it was just for some moments. It was never boring and the plain stage with the very few props supported the plot more than appropriately. Together with the beautiful costumes by Mark Bouman the production was already lovely to simply watch. The costumes were perfectly attuned to the different roles and helped to create a proper atmosphere.
Not only optically the production was lovely, also the musical part was on festival niveau with Ottavio Dantone conducting the Mozarteumorchester Salzburg. Dantone showed a very slender and focused interpretation with great support for the singers and very energetic phrasing. The Mozarteumorchester, having the name of the master in its own name, showed that it is capable of creating the proper Mozart sound that makes his music so special. With great range of dynamics and a wonderful sense for Mozart's cheeky phrases they played thrillingly and tastefully.
Most of the soloists were at least as good and sang very beautifully so that one can hope that the legendary Mozart ensemble of the festival will experience a revival. Michael Volle as Don Alfonso gave a thrilling performance including a powerful flexible voice with a warm timbre and a very vivid presentation. Martina Janková sang the role of Despina and also did a wonderful job. She played her role so authentically that she even relinquisched simple beautiful singing for a more exciting performance. She probably gave the best performance that evening and totally filled out the role of the cheeky maid.
Alessio Arduini sang a very virile and youthful Guglielmo and showed that by now he is more than just a good Masetto. Not only did he sing his role wonderfully, he also acted very naturally and gave a very convincing performance.
So did Angela Brower who was my personal highlight with a portrayal that was so funny and hilarious that you simply had to fall in love with her Dorabella. Her slender and flexible mezzo that has a very beautiful bright timbre. Her performance was really absolutely thrilling and totally convinced me.
Her sister Fiordiligi was sung by Julia Kleiter who convinced with a beautiful bright crystal clear soprano voice that seemed to be perfect for Mozart. Apart of the lower register where she could have been a bit stronger she gave a magnificent performance and showed that she knows how to sing Mozart appropriately. Especially her second aria was simply marvelous.
Of the leading quartet only Mauro Peter as Ferrando just did not fit in. His tenor voice sounded sluggishly, the upper register was stemmed and the whole portrayal ended up quite blankly.
Alltogether it was a very nice performance, not very avant-garde, but simply lovely to watch. It shows that Salzburg is definitely capable of doing unique Mozart performances and that is why I would give 9 stars.
Reviewed by Daniel Url

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