(Previous section here.)
Röschmann is not the only one emoting in this performance. Werner Güra sings an “un aura amorosa” that is very easy on the ears, and in general gives the impression that Ferrando gets sucked into the game more than his friend does – by Act II Ferrando appears to mean what he’s doing. “Fra gli amplessi” is wonderfully intense (and we get bonus reprise of the gardening shears!). I enjoyed Röschmann here too – Fiordiligi’s “giusto ciel . . .crudel!” (the held high A) was great.
(Due to a mild dearth of track divisions on the dvd, at the beginning of this clip you also get bonus “è amore un ladroncello” by Kammerloher, who both sounds wonderful and is very funny – this is another one of those clips where the sisters are clearly two very different people. Dorabella has ditched her wig by this scene, whereas Fiordiligi has clamped hers on again and slaps away all attempts to mess with it – although she soon loses it again.)
The conviction and personality with which this is performed also comes through in the wedding scene, before the signing of the marriage contract – the quartet of the four lovers is used as it should be, as a moment in which everyone’s doubts and longings and all that gleam through for a moment.
The opera ends ambiguously. The two couples are seated in the living room of the women’s apartment, looking miserable. Ferrando pulls Dorabella back when it looks as if she’s about to move toward Gugliemlo, and she in turn jerks him back down when he gets up to face Fiordiligi. The only two people who look happy by the end are Despina and Alfonso, who have a little tiff and reconciliation and then an embrace and by the time the curtain goes down they appear to be about to do it on the kitchen counter. Free love works for some, I guess.
So, this is an effective modern-day version of this opera. (As opposed to a period production, or one that’s located in a more abstract notime/noplace.) If I had to guess I’d say it’s effective because it’s a modern production that’s located in a specific historical moment, and that moment is related to some of the main themes of the opera. (And it actually makes more sense in some places than other modern productions, e.g. with the part where Despina is disguised as a doctor. If it’s modern-day in a general sense, Despina’s “cure” often seems ludicrous – but here, Despina’s a new-age healer, and waving rocks around and hoping for the best makes sense: after all, the two women are clearly susceptible to the hippie schtick in other ways.) I’m not sure I’d hand this dvd to someone who had never seen the opera before, but I certainly enjoyed it – it hits a really nice balance between goofiness and emotional weight.