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Comedy and Earnestness at Casa Verdi

14 JUL 2013

published in: Opera

Rehearsal of "Falstaff", Photo: Andreas Kolarik
Damiano Michieletto’s production will take the audience not to Windsor, but to Milan: to Casa Verdi – the old age home for musicians which Verdi had built at the end of his life, in order to ensure that those colleagues who (in his own words) “were not favoured by fortune or who lacked the virtue of parsimony in younger years” could spend their final years without care and in dignity. During Michieletto’s preparations for his production he visited Casa Verdi, still in existence today. Its inhabitants talk a lot about the past – about memories, past performances and triumphs. Most of the inhabitants – singers, musicians, conductors etc – have hardly any money, are often alone and lonely, and yet they are kept alive by their past experiences on the world’s stages. Often they still feel young and vital – just like Falstaff. This shared aspect gave Michieletto the basic idea for his production – which shall not be revealed here yet.

In any case, the singers of the production are highly enthusiastic about the rehearsal process. And they all agree: despite the serious idea at the production’s core, the opera’s comic side is by no means forgotten. And there will be no lack of vivacious stage action either: Fiorenza Cedolins, who sings the role of Alice Ford, reported with a chuckle that thanks to the rehearsals, she could forego her trips to the fitness studio. She is also taken with Michieletto’s boundless imagination and his great respect for the piece and for his performers’ personalities.

The singers involved – including Massimo Cavalletti (Ford), Elisabeth Kulman (Quickly), Eleonora Buratto (Nannetta), Javier Camarena (Fenton) and Stephanie Houtzeel (Meg Page) – find not only the stage rehearsals fascinating, but also their work with Zubin Mehta, who places great emphasis on the sung text and the dramatic situation portrayed in every scene.

Witness for yourself Damiano Michieletto’s inspired production and Zubin Mehta’s vivid treatment of the score, and secure your tickets for one of the Falstaff performances. The premiere takes place on July 29 at the Haus für Mozart and is followed by a further five performances.