Bayerische Staatsoper’s Traditional Così Staging Continues to Please

02/12/2018

Mozart, Così fan tutte: Bayerische Staatsoper Chorus and Orchestra / Ivor Bolton (conductor), Nationaltheater, Munich, 29.11.2018. (JMI)

Così fan tutte (c) Bayerische Staatsoper

Cast:

Fiordiligi – Federica Lombardi
Dorabella – Angela Brower
Ferrando – Paolo Fanale
Guglielmo – Sean Michael Plumb
Despina – Tara Erraught
Don Alfonso – Paolo Bordogna

Production:

Direction – Dieter Dorn
Sets and Costumes – Jürgen Rose
Lighting – Max Keller

My stay in Munich came to an end with this performance of Così fan tutte, which featured a traditional staging, appropriate musical direction and a vocal cast with three notable women. The Dieter Dorn production had its premiere in January 1993 and is a pleasant work with a fairly simple stage. For the interior scenes there is a large room in the house that belongs to the ladies from Ferrara, which opens up to a terrace. The costumes are also traditional and attractive, and even amusing in the case of the ‘Albanians’. The stage direction narrates the plot well and includes some fun gags. All in all, it’s an effective production.

Ivor Bolton, the music director of Madrid’s Teatro Real, led the orchestra. He is often present on the Munich podium for operas by Mozart, a composer for whom Mr. Bolton seems to have a great affinity. His reading was correct, if less brilliant than on some other occasions, and the Bayerisches Staatsochester was an excellent collaborator.

The three women protagonists were especially impressive, while the three men were less convincing in vocal terms. The most important character in this opera, Fiordiligi, was interpreted by Federica Lombardi, who gave a remarkable performance. She sang her two very difficult arias, ‘Come scoglio’ and the complicated ‘Per pietà’, with good taste and a well-suited voice. I had the opportunity to see her last year as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro in both Munich and Berlin, and she has reconfirmed the favorable impression she made.

The performance of mezzo-soprano Angela Brower in the part of Dorabella was also excellent. And mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught as Despina sang and acted in a most appealing way.

Tenor Paolo Fanale as Ferrando has an attractive voice but it lacks volume and can be monotonous. He was better in ‘Un’aura amorosa’ than in ‘Tradito, schernito’.

I didn’t find baritone Sean Michael Plumb particularly convincing in the part of Guglielmo. His voice has a certain quality, but the projection is somewhat problematic.

Baritone Paolo Bordogna was Don Alfonso. He is is a good actor, but his voice today is that of a rather light baritone which is not right for a character that requires a bass baritone.

José M. Irurzun

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