Opéra National du Rhin delivers a new production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, directed by David Hermann. Under the direction of Duncan Ward, the Orchester Philharmonique de Strasbourg as well as the lyrical artists were warmly praised throughout the house.
Familiar with Mozart’s operas, director David Hermann did not hesitate to outrage or even reverse the current interpretation of the libretto of Home of all : the story no longer takes place in a day but over nearly forty years, from 1913 to 1950, a bias that allows the director to take advantage of two major historical events, the First and Second World Wars, and thus the war invented in da Libretto of Ponte could be real. Thus, the crossover of love is conditioned by the changes in the mores over the past four decades and is therefore no longer just the result of the bet first concluded between Don Alfonso, Ferrando and Guglielmo. The characters, including Don Alfonso, find themselves subject to waves of “conformism” (from 1913 to 1928, then the 1950s) and disapproval (the “Roaring Twenties”, from in the 1930s to 1940s) that shaped their choices, even their personalities, to the point of alienating them, thus provoking their revolt at the end of the opera and further chaos. Prejudice is subtle, but there is a danger of capturing the feeling of love for History and demeaning it to moral history.
Shown by supertitle panels above the stage, the leaps of time are fully evoked by the constant change of sets and costumes, created by Jo Schramm and Bettina Walter: from the intimacy of a bourgeois interior that represented by a large modular screen upholstered in pastel patterns, to the same screen with patterns inspired by futurist art, passing through a caricatural cabaret scene. The lights created by Fabrice Kebour accurately draw these changes, from soft gold and lighter light to cooler and more intense lighting.
At Fiordiligi, British soprano Gemma Summerfield surpasses the differences: soft and flowing, her voice takes on an awesome thickness in the first action. The intense treble is approached with flexibility, the vibrato is well sculpted and the fortissimi remain powerful throughout the opera. With cunning and naturalness, he knows how to play agile then the subject woman.
Played by German baritone Björn Bürger, Guglielmo reveals crystal clear highs and silky lows. At first somewhat restrained by the orchestra of the first trio, his voice quickly projects, with clear diction. Fast, his game never starts too fast.
The mezzo-soprano Ambroisine Bré features a freedom-loving and ready-made Dorabella. His stage play is light and flexible. If his voice is cautious and his treble lacks a bit of accuracy at first, his tone refines and clarifies very quickly, maintaining thick bass and very precise diction in recitatives.
American tenor Jack Swanson revealed a Ferrando with expressive imitation and a perfectly convinced play on stage. His height is bright and the projection of his voice sharpens as the scenes progress. It’s dangerous reduced action, as in its nuances pianocarefully shaken.
In Don Alfonso, bass-baritone Nicolas Cavallier combines a good stage presence with a plasticity of timbre, moving from a clear voice to a hazier timbre, without weakness in intensity.
In Despina, Lithuanian soprano Lauryna Bendžiūnaitė perfectly embodies playfulness but also determination: her slightly pinched tone becomes real when she reads the marriage contract, thus entertaining the audience. At all times, his voice retains its power of projection and its clarity.
Very dense and colorful, many ensembles thus respond to orchestral cloth and to pianoforte (held by Tokiko Hosoya), enthusiastically directed by Duncan Ward, especially since it was his first Mozart opera. With an almost omnipresent smile, the British conductor led the tables of the Orchester Philharmonique de Strasbourg with fine rhythm accuracy. Appear occasionally on stage as well as backstage for further interpretation of Mozart’s four -voice canon ”Born is my sun“, the singers in the Opera choir make their voices resonate precisely and precisely.
At the end of this historic and sentimental odyssey – albeit without lengths – the public praised the artists for a long time and with enthusiasm.