CULTURE

Mozart according to Strehler

Mozart’s «Cosi fan tutte,» one of his most famous comic operas, is to be staged at the Athens Concert Hall for four consecutive days, starting Friday, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. Mozart wrote what turned out to be one of the most popular operas 216 years ago in collaboration with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. The production that is to be staged in the Megaron’s Alexandra Trianti Hall is based on Giorgio Strehler’s landmark production, which was also the director’s final work for the Piccolo Teatro di Milano. The production, which opened the Piccolo Teatro’s new stage in 1997, followed the main guidelines of Strehler but was lacking his final touch, as the director died shortly before finishing his work. The mise-en-scene was then completed by Carlo Batistoni, who had been Strehler’s assistant for years and followed his directions. In the Athens production, the revival was undertaken by Gianpaolo Corti. Mozart composed «Cosi fan tutte,» a comedy of misunderstandings about faithfulness in love, in 1790. Nonetheless, when the opera was staged in Vienna a year after the composer’s death, it was not as well received as would have been expected as preferences at the time demanded a romantic atmosphere. Strehler always referred to «Cosi fan tutte» with great admiration. Shortly before he died, he wrote to the cast and crew of the production, urging them to remember that the theater carried Mozart’s music and spirit and that the joy he felt in working on this opera was greater than any other time in the past. «Strehler was not 100 percent satisfied with any of the opera’s stagings,» said Corti at a recent press conference at the Athens Concert Hall. «Contrary to the existing belief that the two sisters who are the leading parts in the funny love story have the same character, he believed that they are entirely different, both in character and in appearance. His staging is a totally different reading, with a deep understanding of human passion.» Human passion According to maestro Giuseppe La Malfa, who will conduct the Camerata Orchestra, «Cosi fan tutte» tells of human passion and what life has to offer. «Mozart himself was a man with limits and passions. The opera’s score is very rich and intense and in essence the maestro has little to do but emphasize certain moments.» The sets were designed by Ezio Frigerio and the costumes by Franca Squarciapino, who both worked with Strehler for years. The leading parts will be interpreted by alternating vocalists Fiorella Burato, Eugenja Braynova, Terese Cullen, Janet Perry and Alla Simoni. This will be the third time the Athens Concert Hall has staged this opera, the other times being November 1991 and May 1997. This time, the production is a joint collaboration between the Piccolo Teatro, the Bari Opera and the Camerata Orchestra. The tickets to all shows (Friday to Monday, 20 February) are already sold out. The Athens Concert Hall is situated at 1 Kokkali & Vas.Sofias, tel 210.728.2333.