* Notes *
A revival of Così fan tutte (Act II Scene 2 pictured left, photograph by Cory Weaver) opened yesterday at San Francisco Opera. The orchestra sounded fairly loud and fast under the baton of Nicola Luisotti, and often ran ahead of the singers. There were times when the musical lines became muddled, as the singers were not audible, especially during ensembles. In contrast, the chorus was solid and together. The recitative accompaniment was energetic and humorous. Maestro Luisotti (fortepiano), Giuseppe Finzi (harpsichord), Thalia Moore (cello), and Michael Leopold (theorbo) seem to have a nice rapport.
The production, directed by José Maria Condemi, is consistent with how it was staged in 2005. The set looks to be a hotel in Monte Carlo during the Belle Époque. The costumes are therefore striking and elegant, as are the Art Nouveau architectural elements.
The cast is youthful and convincing. Susannah Biller is cute and sprightly, her Despina got a lot of laughs. Bass Marco Vinco is such a good actor. His voice is not overly loud or pretty, but he is a fine Don Alfonso.
Francesco Demuro sounds creaky to me, at least when he is singing at full-volume, but is an appealing Ferrando. His "Un'aura amorosa" is endearing. Philippe Sly is fantastic as Guglielmo. His beautiful voice is rich and warm. Christel Lötzsch was so behind in her Act I aria, "Smanie implacabili," it was hard to gauge how good her voice is, since it just sounded like noise at that point. She does blend smoothly with the other singers, but seems a bit fluttery. Her volume and brightness is good, however. Just a few of Ellie Dehn's high notes were shrill Her Fiordiligi sounded robust yet still elegant.
* Tattling *
I was fortunate enough to be standing behind L 112 of the Balcony, which happened to be empty. The air conditioning did hum quite a bit during the second half of the performance.