1783, Wien: a young composer met an Italian poet; the name of the former is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the name of the latter Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is one of the happiest circumstances in the history of musical theatre, a partnership that has given us what has always been, in the heart of opera lovers, the trilogy par excellence. And the 10th anniversary of the Autumn Trilogy, which Ravenna Festival introduced in 2012, is celebrated precisely with Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte, which will take turns on the stage of the Alighieri Theatre, evening after evening, from 31 October to 6 November. Thus, the Festival crowns its 33rd edition with three productions for which it joins forces with two of Europe’s oldest theatres, the Swedish Drottningholms Slottsteater and the Opéra Royal de Versailles. On the podium of the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, will be Giovanni Conti, Erina Yashima, and Tais Conte Renzetti. Erina Yashima, who will conduct Don Giovanni, participated to the first edition of Riccardo Muti’s Italian Opera Academy in 2015 and was subsequently his assistant in Chicago; after having been assistant conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, she is now first Kapellmeister at the Komische Oper in Berlin. Giovanni Conti and Tais Conte Renzetti have instead been selected for the 2020 edition of the Academy.

“They are three different plays, but performed with aesthetic harmony – explains director Ivan Alexandre, who has worked for the Wiener Staatsoper, Palais Garnier, and Salzburg’s Mozartwoche – and telling the story of the same character: a libertine we call Cherubino in his youth, Don Giovanni in adulthood, and Don Alfonso at a later age. So the love-crazed youth turns into a heart-breaker who, when old enough, encourages the young people to re-enact his vices. It is as if one heart were beating in three different chests, a ‘cycle of desire’ within which each title can exist on its own. Bringing all three to stage as a sequence, however, gives particular meaning to each one and makes a coherent whole. They are three moments in a love life, crafted from the same material; familiar dramas in which everyday life turns into an extraordinary adventure. We wanted to return to the spontaneity of the touring theatres of the past: make-up tables, clothes valets, and screens are scattered across the stage. There are no wings, nothing is on the hangers (except for a few lights), there are no traps, only a few wooden structures and a few sketches on moving canvas.”

Over the course of four acts, the story of Le nozze di Figaro unfolds (and twists) around the attempt by the Conte di Almaviva–whose role is entrusted to baritone Clemente Antonio Daliotti, already the brilliant protagonist of Transitus in the Basilica di San Vitale in June–to impose the ius primae noctis on Susanna (who has the unmistakable timbre of Arianna Vendittelli), maid of the Countess (Ana Maria Labin, acclaimed Mozart interpreter) and betrothed to the Figaro of Canadian bass-baritone Robert Gleadow. French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre takes on the role of the unforgettable Cherubino, one of the main driving forces behind the whirlwind of mocked husbands, cunning ladies-in-waiting, noblemen… The cast is completed by Manon Lamaison as Barbarina, Norman D. Patzke as Bartolo and Antonio, Valentina Coladonato as Marcellina, and Paco Garcia as Don Basilio and Don Curzio. At the fortepiano sits Lars Henrik Johansen, also involved in the other two titles; in this case, the choirs are entrusted to the singing company.

Where the Commedia dell’Arte meets the supernatural and the lyricism of ‘serious’ opera, where the tragic and the comic coexist, there is Don Giovanni: Arianna Vendittelli and Robert Gleadow return to the stage as Donna Elvira and the servant Leporello, respectively, while the eponymous protagonist is the baritone Christian Federici (already involved in the 2019 Trilogy’s Carmen). His Don Giovanni, destined for a hellish finale after erotic and non-erotic escapades, attempts to seduce Iulia Maria Dan‘s Donna Anna (betrothed to Julien Henric‘s Don Ottavio) and ends up killing her father in a duel, the Commendatore played by bass Callum Thorpe, who in his native England works with the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne and Opera North. In the spirit of the Commedia dell’Arte, which sees the performers alternating in different roles, Thorpe also plays the peasant Masetto, while his bride Zerlina–also the object of Don Giovanni’s aims–is Chiara Skerath. In this case, Antonio Greco leads the Luigi Cherubini Chorus.

The school of lovers referred to in the title of Così fan tutte has only one master: Don Alfonso (again Christian Federici) is the architect of the gamble that turns into a cruel hoax; his hilarious accomplice is the maid Despina, or Miriam Albano, a mezzo-soprano who was a soloist at the Vienna State Opera for years. The young officers Guglielmo and Ferrando, who bet on the fidelity of their fiancées, are Robert Gleadow and Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani, recently at the Festival with Accademia Bizantina for Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. Fiordiligi and Dorabella, who are seduced by each other’s fiancés, are Ana Maria Labin and José Maria Lo Monaco, who–like Vendittelli and Zorzi Giustiniani–made her Festival debut in the project dedicated to the Neapolitan School. The Chorus 1685 of the Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali ‘Giuseppe Verdi’ of Ravenna, again prepared by Antonio Greco, will perform this title.

Le nozze di Figaro – Monday 31 October at 8.30 pm
Don Giovanni – Tuesday 1 November at 8.30 pm
Così fan tutte – Wednesday 2 November at 8.30 pm
Le nozze di Figaro – Friday 4 November at 8.30 pm
Don Giovanni – Saturday 5 November at 8.30 pm
Così fan tutte – Sunday 6 November at 3.30 pm

Info and presales Alighieri Theatre Ticket Office: ph +39 0544 249244  email tickets@ravennafestival.org

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