Dirty and Barefooted on the Stage of Teatro Alla Scala
On June 19, 2014, the premiere of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte at the Teatro alla Scala blew away the audience with the barefooted singers and the virtuosic physical activity happening on stage. Every single time Ferrando went flying down the stairs head first, I had this unfathomable fright that a fall was going to occur. Guglielmo hanging upside down from the stairwell also was quite frightening. Dorabella was having some emotional difficulties when she climbed on a wooden plank and began to sing. Making someone sing in such harsh conditions is atrociously wicked. Are they singers or gymnasts?
Daniel Barenboim, although impressively conducting with a towel on the music stand instead of a score, sometimes aroused the sudden desire to sleep in certain members of the audience. His life supply of water below the music stand was something unique and exquisite, nothing of the like have I seen in other opera houses before.
Maria Bengtsson performed the ardent and near-sighted Fiordiligi. She performed Come Scoglio in a whisper, fitting in the context of the modern vision but not so in Mozart’s vision. The modern vision was her walking in the dark with a flashlight and looking for the disguised Guglielmo and Ferrando. In order to achieve dramatic effects, the musical effects were lost. I would shout BIS just to hear it again, a bit louder this time.
Katja Dragojevic performed the incautious Dorabella. I’m sorry to break the news, but Dorabella was near-sighted just like Fiordiligi. Dragojevic was convincing in her acting and singing.
Serena Malfi, the cunning Despina, didn’t convince very well the fact that Despina isn’t just a detested chambermaid who is unable to bear everyone around her and so agrees to help an old bachelor destroy two strong relationships built by the sisters and their sweethearts, but is also a woman who wants more than to serve her ladies’ their hot chocolate.
Adam Plachetka, singing the irresistible and yet lacking intelligence Guglielmo, was very expressive and imperious in his interpretation.
Rolando Villazón, the ferociously desperate Ferrando, knew how to ‘keep’ the audience, if that makes any sense.
The cast seemed to work well together, but not so with the conductor. Or maybe Barenboim was the one who didn’t work well with the cast. I really don’t know, but I feel like this performance would be much better if Barenboim rendered more service to the singers on stage.
During the second half, an unidentified substance that I identified as something similar to dirt appeared suddenly and began getting bigger in quantity. The walls then became covered in this dirt, and soon the singers and their costumes. I’m still not sure if it was dirt, but I sure hope it wasn’t something else.