Frock Opera

Giordano’s Fedora is a sort of apotheosis of the 19th century Italian opera.  It’s a melodramatic love story in an aristocratic Russian setting.  There is murder and suicide and plots and a dead mother and brother.  The music is dramatic, even bombastic, when the mood suits but finds time to give showpiece arias for the principals.  There is not a single idea in libretto or score that could give anyone an uncomfortable thought.  The Metropolitan Opera’s 1996 production by Beppe di Tomasi builds on this by playing it dead straight and setting it in a series of suitably opulent settings complete with extravagant frocks.  The cherry on the already rather rich cake is casting Placido Domingo as Loris Ipanoff and Mirella Freni as Fedora Romazoff.  I imagine it’s many people’s idea of the perfect night at the opera   In it’s way it’s the polar opposite of, say, Bieito’s WozzeckContinue reading