Posted by: glyndebourneblog | May 19, 2010

Mozart, Morals and All-male Opera

There’s a bit of a Mozartian feel about the place today – this evening sees the final dress rehearsal of Così fan tutte whilst metres away the operatic juggernaut that is Don Giovanni begins rehearsals.

Opening in six weeks time is a new production of Don Giovanni. Described as the blackest of black comedies with morals at its very centre (The concluding chorus deliver the line “Such is the end of the evildoer: the death of a sinner always reflects his life”), the libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte tells the tale of the damned eponymous Don, a serial womaniser who meets his deserved end. It’s intense stuff and sure to be captivating in the extreme when it opens on 4 July.

With the design by Paul Brown, visually the new production is supremely arresting, bringing a fresh and new take to one of the most famous repetoire staples.

Così fan tutte on the other hand is a far lighter affair. Again with a libretto by Da Ponte, the opera tells the story of two officers convinced that their respective fiancees will be eternally faithful. Laying a wager, Don Alfonso claims that he can prove that the two women like all others are fickle. Questionable gender politics aside, Così fan tutte showcases some of the most beautiful music on offer.

Over the years Glyndebourne has enjoyed a long and distinguished association with the work of Mozart. For the first few years after its founding in 1934, the Festival performed solely his work and even today, Mozart’s operas are ever present in the repetoire, continuing to delight audiences.

However, It’s not just Mozart that Glyndebourne has enjoyed a long association with as the work of Benjamin Britten has a close relationship with the opera house. Tomorrow sees the opening of this year’s Festival with the all-male allegory Billy Budd which deals with the nature of good and evil as seen through the story of the title character aboard an 18th century warship. Based upon the novel of the same name by Herman Melville, it’s an intense, weighty and emotional work. More can be read about Britten’s association with Glyndebourne in this article in The Independent

With such work on offer it’s no wonder that this week is an extremely exciting time to be about the place. Now, where’s that picnic hamper?!

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