Hytner’s Così

Nicholas Hytner’s production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, seen at Glyndebourne in 2006, is about as traditional as it gets.  The story is straightforwardly told and the settings and costumes are 18th century Naples, or at least some operatic approximation of it.  That said, it’s immensely enjoyable and, just occasionally, goes beyond the superficial.  The strength lies in the casting and in the director’s decision to allow his young singers to behave like young people.  Miah Persson as Fiordiligi and Anke Vondung as Dorabella are close to perfect in their exuberant girlishness.  Naturally Vondung gets to be a bit ditzier than the angstier Persson because that’s how the thing is written.  Both of them sing extremely well too and there’s nothing lacking in the big solos or duets.

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Thomas Allen and Eva Jenis in The Cunning Little Vixen

Once in a while a video recording comes my way that’s just pure delight.  The 1995 recording of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen from the Théâtre du Châtelet is one.  The creative team of director Nicholas Hytner (director), Bob Crowley (designer), Jean-Claude Gallotta (choreagrapy) and Jean Kalman (lighting) created a spectacle that is as much ballet as opera with vivid costumes and simple sets  It’s a rather splendid and touching adult fairy tale. Continue reading