Mozart drawn by Lorenz Vogel around the time of La Finta's creation
March 2019 I’ll be joining the members of the International Opera Academy of Gent for a production of Mozarts La Finta Giardiniera as Contino Belfiore. The opera will be produced in cooperation with the Catalan Companyia Dei Furbi and Korneel Bernolet will be conducting the Apotheosis orchestra. Although Mozart was only 18 years old when he wrote the opera, La Finta Giardiniera (1775) is much more than a footnote in the biography of the ‘Wunderkind’. The way Mozart treats its plot, though rooted in the conventional commedia dell’arte style and rococo sentiments of the mid-eighteenth century, clearly foreshadows the great Da Ponte opera’s of the 1780’s in some aspects. When Contino Belfiore, sent off to marry the Podestà’s niece, recognizes the local gardener as Violante, the women he once loved and thought to have killed in a quarrel, a web of confusion unfurls over all the characters involved... Please see my agenda for more information and dates!
Last weekend I’ve had the pleasure of working with the renowned Australian director David Freeman. Throughout his career, Freeman has enjoyed succeses in some of the most prestigious theaters and opera houses, while offering innovating readings of famous opera’s as well as world creations with his own London-Zürich-based company, the Opera Factory. The fact that he has directed personal examples such as Anthony Rolfe Johnson makes working with him feel quite special indeed. Wether reading a Shakespeare soliloquy, a Schubert lied or a Bellini aria, Freeman strives to help one in creating a genuine performance. One has to dare to be tough on our beloved repertoire, to demand immediate significance and urgency from these ancient texts which some might even consider obsolete, a great challenge!
The 'Kunstmin Theater' in Dordrecht, NL, with it's unique neo-classical outlook.
And so the season ends with singing Bachs Magnificat, conducted by Ed Spanjaard, at the concluding concert of Dordrechts Bachfestival. I’ve had the pleasure of gaining many new colleagues and friends, working with established companies and artists as well as peers striving to startup a career in the performing arts. Highlights include singing aria’s in both of Bach’s Passions, performing at the Dutch National Opera in the crazy productions of Hondenhartje and Das Floß der Medusa, as well as singing Brittens The Turn of the Screw with promising Flemish conductor Erik Desimpelaere. I look forward to posting more news on projects next season soon, but for now: enjoy summer!
Although rehearsals of Hondenhartje are proceeding at full throttle, there is another project coming up at the end of this month. Erik Desimpelaere will conduct Benjamin Brittens haunting opera The Turn of the Screw. Young Flora and Miles are assigned to the Governess’ care, but they are being haunted by threatening presences. Listen to the prologue of the opera here, recorded my Erik Desimpelaere and myself: