Monday, February 27, 2012

REVIEW: Cosi Fan Tutte by the Bavarian State Opera

Cultural Centre Grand Theatre, Thursday February 23

The fact that this was not some avant-garde production is something to be thankful about. On the other hand, there’s really not much to rave about this production by Dieter Dorn; and with set and costumes by Jurgen Rose. It was simple and elegant enough though to evoke context yet without overpowering the stage and the artists.

Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte was a rather boring choice for the 40th Hong Kong Arts Festival, especially when compared to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde last year. Having said that, I was looking forward to seeing this opera for Miah Perrson as Fiordiligi and Thomas Allen as Don Alfonso. I have seen Thomas Allen as Don Alfonso twice before in the same Jonathan Miller production (for Royal Opera House) in two different theatres (Shaftesbury Theatre – when ROH was being renovated in 1998 and ROH in 2007) nine years apart; and he never cease to amaze me what an incredible singer-actor he is… always in character and always in-tuned with what was happening on stage and with other performers. As for Miah Perrson, I have never seen her performed live before, but I am most familiar with her beautifully recorded Mozart album, “Un moto di gioia”. In this performance, Persson’s tone was pure and even; and her voice soars beautifully over the orchestra.

What made the evening a surprisingly superlative one however, was the rest of the cast. Tara Erraught, an Ellen Page look-alike, was an adorable and very convincing Dorabella. Laura Tatulescu’s Despina was irreverently charming with a gorgeous timbre. Levente Molnar made a confident Gugliemo with a rich baritone voice to match; while Alexey Kudrya was a dashing yet sensitive Ferrando. The orchestra, led by Mark Wigglesworth (who did a fabulous job in Hong Kong last October 2011), was superb and remarkably balanced. If there is one quibble though, it is that the singers and the orchestra had moments that they were not “together”. Unfortunately. this is something a friend of mine also noticed even two nights after.


Cosi Fan Tutte
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto: Lorenzo da Ponte

Creative Team:
Conductor: Mark Wigglesworth
Production: Dieter Dorn
Set and Costumes: Jürgen Rose
Lighting: Max Keller
Chorus: Sören Eckhoff
Orchestra: Bayerisches Staatsorchester (Bavarian State Orchestra)
Chorus: Chor der Bayerischen Staatsoper (Chorus of the Bavarian State Opera)

Cast includes:
Fiordiligi: Miah Persson
Dorabella: Tara Erraught
Ferrando: Alexey Kudrya
Guglielmo: Levente Molnár
Despina: Laura Tatulescu
Don Alfonso: Thomas Allen

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