Vestiges of a momentous era . . .
I met with the embattled artistic director of the OpÈra et Orchestre National de Montepellier not to talk about his battles. I simply wanted to know the man who had cast and staged a truly extraordinary Mozart/DaPonte trilogy.
Entering the hall there arose the Dantesque “abandon all hope ye who enter” feeling — a cluttered a vista socialist setting, a poster of Lenin and large letters proclaiming Moscow, December 1999.
This Cosi fan tutte completes the Montpellier Mozart/da Ponte trilogy staged by French metteur en scËne and esthËte Jean-Paul Scarpitta. Primarily studies in elegance and refinement these mises en scËnes have provoked all that that is most precious and perfect in Mozart’s scores.
The fearsome Ottoman Turks had threatened the Austrian borders for centuries. But Mozart’s little singspiel makes light of this truly serious situation, and offers a quite enlightened resolution for the conflict as well.
Perfection. A seldom used term in critiques of opera performances. There it was, almost (and will be, maybe).
The OpÈra National de Montpellier sometimes rises to artistic heights, and even when it fails its attempts are often interesting.