NEW PRODUCTION OF ‘COSÌ FAN TUTTE’ AT THE WIENER STAATSOPER

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by Opera Charm Team
June 10, 2024

COSÌ FAN TUTTE (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

Musical direction | Philippe Jordan
Staging | Barrie Kosky
Stage and costumes | Gianluca Falaschi
Lighting | Franck Evin

Fiordiligi | Federica Lombardi
Dorabella | Emily D'Angelo
Guglielmo | Peter Kellner
Ferrando | Filipe Manu
Despina | Kate Lindsey
Don Alfonso | Christopher Maltman

Orchestra and Chorus of the Wiener Staatsoper

16, 19, 22, 24, 26 & 28 JUN

BIOGRAPHY

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INTERVIEW

The premiere of Così fan tutte on 16 June 2024 completes the circle of new productions of the three works – Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte – that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte created together. The opera, which premiered in Vienna in 1790 and centres on the bet between two young men for the fidelity of their partners, is Barrie Kosky’s fourth directorial work at the Haus am Ring – he is staging this work for the first time. As with the two previous new productions in the cycle, the musical director is Philippe Jordan, who is also conducting the opera for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper.

A lively, Mozart-experienced ensemble can be experienced on stage: Emily D’Angelo (Dorabella) and Filipe Manu (Ferrando) are making their house debuts; Federica Lombardi and Christopher Maltman can be seen for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper as Fiordiligi and Don Alfonso respectively. Kate Lindsey as Despina and Peter Kellner as Guglielmo make their international, personal role debuts.

TO THE LEADING TEAM

Philippe Jordan conducts Così fan tutte for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper. He says of the work: ‘Musically, Così fan tutte is the most beautiful work for me, it is the essence of the previous operas, in which everything that was achieved in Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro is distilled once again, condensed and brought to its purest form. I would almost speak of musical economy, everything is reduced to the essentials: Not a note too many, the orchestration is extremely economical and offers only the bare essentials in the best sense. This mature work, which allows us to experience incredible compositional perfection, leads us into Mozart’s late style. At the same time, Così fan tutte – and you can see this clearly in the second act – already points far into the Romantic period and takes a completely new direction.”

He sees the work – a dramma giocoso, like Don Giovanni – as ‘a comedy. And every good comedy also has deep seriousness and darkness, shadows. Così fan tutte is also a black comedy, just as Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro ultimately are. Only in this case, the laughter gets stuck in your throat at some point.”

Director Barrie Kosky had already staged Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro before the two operas came to the Wiener Staatsoper in his interpretation. Così fan tutte, on the other hand, he is working on for the first time: ‘I waited thirty-five years before I dared to do Così fan tutte. Not because I didn’t want to. I didn’t think I was ready yet. I think you need a lot of experience to bring this piece to the stage. And even then it’s difficult. The narrative structure is very clear and simple. It’s about collisions that occur between a group of different people. But putting these constellations together is like a delicate puzzle that can only be put together through very precise work,’ says Kosky.

He sets the action in the context of a theatre rehearsal room in which Don Alfonso works as a director with singers: ‘What would be a setting in which you can play with what is real emotion and what is acted emotion; what it means to take on a role, a costume or an attitude to love? In what kind of space can you start and stop the emotion on command, enter and exit it and even comment on it? What kind of world would that be? At some point I realised: it’s the rehearsal room.” The two main couples deliberately take part in a theatre experiment: ‘This allows us to create a situation that leads to the core of the tacheles, which is what the whole play is about: Can you “fake” emotions? Can I convince you that I love you – through the way I express myself? And what happens when a revelation suddenly occurs in the course of an artificial, invented game?”

Gianluca Falaschi is the stage and costume designer for the production and is working at the Wiener Staatsoper for the first time, while Franck Evin is once again responsible for the lighting design.

STANDING ON THE STAGE

Federica Lombardi can be seen in the role of Dorabella. The Italian singer is one of the most sought-after sopranos of her generation, especially for the great Mozart roles. At the Wiener Staatsoper she has sung Donna Elvira and Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Amelia (Simon Boccanegra), Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito) and most recently the Countess Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) with great success. She is singing Fiordiligi for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper. Così fan tutte is also her first premiere production at the Haus am Ring, before the title role in Bellini’s Norma will follow next season.

Emily D’Angelo sings Dorabella, making her house debut at the Wiener Staatsoper. Engagements have taken the multiple competition winner to the Canadian Opera Company, the Opera Theatre Saint-Louis and the Glimmerglass Festival, among others. Most recently, the Canadian mezzo-soprano appeared on stage as Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) in Berlin, as Dorabella (Così fan tutte) in Toronto and at the Santa Fe Opera and as Annio (La clemenza di Tito) at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Ensemble member Peter Kellner plays Guglielmo, making his international debut in this role. He made his debut at Haus am Ring in 2018 as Panthée in Berlioz’ Les Troyens. Since then, he has appeared here in a wide range of repertoire, including as Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Basilio in Il barbiere di Siviglia, Colline in La bohème and, above all, as Leporello and Figaro in the premiere productions of Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro.

Another house debutant is the New Zealand-Tongan tenor Filipe Manu, who introduces himself to the Staatsoper audience as Ferrando. He is a graduate of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at London’s Royal Opera House and has sung roles such as Tamino (Die Zauberflöte), Ruodi (Guillaume Tell), Arbace (Idomeneo), Tebaldo (I Capuletti e i Montecchi), Froh (Das Rheingold) and Gaston (La traviata) as a member of the ensemble at the Konzert Theater Bern. Future engagements will take him to the Royal Opera House, the Hamburg State Opera, Glyndebourne and Paris, among others.

Kate Lindsey can be heard as Despina, making her personal role debut in this role. After her debut as the composer (Ariadne auf Naxos), the mezzo-soprano also quickly became an audience favourite at the Wiener Staatsoper, where she also sang Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Penelope (Il ritorno delle Poppea) and Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Penelope (Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), the title role in the world premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s Orlando and, most recently, Miranda in The Tempest.

In addition to the great Mozart roles, Christopher Maltman also focusses on the Verdi and Wagner repertoire. The internationally active baritone has previously sung the title roles of Eugene Onegin and Rigoletto, Prospero (The Tempest), Figaro (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Ford (Falstaff), Mandryka (Arabella) and most recently Leporello (Don Giovanni) at the Wiener Staatsoper and will now take on Don Alfonso for the first time.

‘COSÌ FAN TUTTE’ IN LIVESTREAM, TV AND ON THE RADIO

The performance of Così fan tutte on Saturday, 22 June 2024 will be broadcast live from 6.30 pm on Radio Ö1 and on the Wiener Staatsoper streaming platform play.wiener-staatsoper.at (free, registration required).

On 8 September 2024, this production can be experienced as part of ‘Erlebnis Bühne’ in the ORF III main evening programme (8.15 pm).

INTRODUCTORY MATINEE TO THE PREMIERE

The introductory matinee to Così fan tutte from 9 June 2024, hosted by State Opera Director Bogdan Roščić, will soon be available on the Youtube channel of the Wiener Staatsoper. As part of this event, the new production was presented by participants – Philippe Jordan, Barrie Kosky, Federica Lombardi, Kate Lindsey, Emily D’Angelo, Filipe Manu and Christopher Maltman – as well as the literary scholar and libretto researcher Alfred Noe in discussions and with musical contributions.

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Alice Lechner

Alice Lechner comes from a music-loving family. Her first encounter with the opera universe was at the tender age of six. The grandeur of the stage productions and costumes, the backstage chatter, and last, but definitely not least, the music left her in awe, beginning with Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The overall feeling that opera awakens in anyone who gets a glimpse into this part of artistic eternity, that each and every day passes the test of time, was what drew her to stay and be a part of this world. The Opera House of Brașov became her second home, and the people who worked there were her second family.

Since then, Alice has devoted her spare time to maximising her musical knowledge through instrumental studies, studying both piano and violin for a short time. In the following years, her number one passion stepped out of the limelight and graciously gave way to Law Studies.
Since 2018 she has been studying Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Her passion for opera, even if it is no longer her top professional priority in terms of career, it has most definitely become her priority during her free time. Wanting to experience the best of both worlds and extend her musical horizons, she regularly attends opera performances throughout Romania and abroad.
With OPERA Charm Magazine, Alice aims to nurture her creative side to help it flourish and bloom and to discover, alongside the magazine’s readers, the fascinatingly complex world of opera.

Currently, she is an LL.M. in Business Law at “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University in Iași.

Oana Zamfir

Oana Zamfir is a second year MA student at the “George Enescu” National University of Arts, at the Department of Musicology.

She studied violin for 12 years at the “Stefan Luchian” High School of Art in Botosani, later focusing on the theoretical aspects of music. In 2019 she completed her bachelor studies in Musicology as a student of the National Academy of Music “Gheorghe Dima” in Cluj-Napoca. Her research during 2018-2019 brought to the forefront elements of the archaic ritual within works of composers who activated during the communist period, giving her the opportunity to start a research internship at the “Carl von Ossietzky” University in Germany. In this context, she recorded conversations with members of the Sophie Drinker Institute in Bremen, and had access to documents directly from the Myriam Marbé archive.

Since 2019 she has been a teacher of Music Education and Theoretical Music Studies, making full use of interactive methods in the musical training of students and working, at the same time, with the children’s choir founded in the first year of her activity.

Her interests include pursuing a degree in interior design in 2020.

Alexandru Suciu

Alexandru Suciu inherited his passion for art growing up in a family of several generations of musicians. He began his musical studies at the “Augustin Bena” School of Music in Cluj, where he studied piano and guitar. Even though his main study direction was philological, his passion for music prevailed. He began his academical journey at the Faculty of Letters of the “Babeș-Bolyai” University, studying Comparative literature and English. He continued by studying Opera Singing at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy. He also graduated the Musical Education section, followed by Artistic Directing at the Musical Performing Arts department.

His multidisciplinary education opened the doors towards research, which is seen both through his participation in national and international conferences and symposia, such as the Salzburg Easter School PhD-forum, organized by the Salzburg Universität or the Silesian Meeting of Young Scholars, organized by the Institute of English at the University of Silesia, as well as the collaboration with Opera Charm Magazine.

During his student years, he won several prizes, including the Grand Prize at the “Paul Constantinescu” National Musical Interpretation Competition, the Romanian Composers and Musicologists’ Union Prize at the same competition, the First Prize and the Schubert Prize at the “Ada Ulubeanu” Competition.

He further developed his artistic skills by specializing in courses and masterclasses held by personalities such as Vittorio Terranova, Giuseppe Sabbatini, Marian Pop, Ines Salazar, Riccardo Zanellato, Paolo Bosisio, Valentina Farcaș and Manuel Lange in contexts such as the Internationale Sommerakademie für Operngesang Deutschlandsberg, Corso Internazionale di Canto Lirico I.M.C. Licata or the Europäische Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst Montepulciano. Besides his activity on-stage, he currently teaches Opera Singing Didactics, and Pedagogical Practice within the Department for Teacher Education and Training at the “Gheorghe Dima” National Music Academy.

Cristina Fieraru

Cristina is a 24 year-old Romanian soprano & a student at the National University of Music Bucharest, where she pursues the MA program in Vocal Performance.

She made her debut in Pamina from “Die Zauberflöte” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at only 19 years old at the Bucharest National Opera House, as a member of the Ludovic Spiess Experimental Opera Studio. Over the years she made her debut in roles such as Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro), Mimì & Musetta (La Bohème), Alice Ford (Falstaff), Erste Dame (Die Zauberflöte) in her university’s opera productions.
Her passion and experience extends in the field of choral music, too.

She has been part of our dream team since the fall of 2021. For a good period of time she took care of OPERA Charm’s social media and took you on the monthly journey through the history of opera through our Legends rubric – and a few times through the Theaters around the World rubric.

Her little soul rubric – from 2021 to present – is definitely the Conductors of the Future, where, every month, she gives you the chance to meet a young star of the world of conducting and, of course, to find out what’s the most charming feature of opera in these artists’ views.

BIANCA L. NICA

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