We saw the opera Don Quichotte by Massenet on 9 May 2018. An Opera Australia production. We have to encourage them to be more adventurous here in Melbourne. It was quite lovely. Shimmering music. A great performance by Ferruccio Furlanetto in the title role. He certainly looked the part as pictured on the programme. At nearly seventy years of age he was pretty amazing. Of course his age is appropriate to the role and he has been singing it for a long time. Still, he was superb both in terms of singing and acting. He was very touching throughout in his earnestness despite the ridicule heaped upon him, and especially in the final Act when he is dying.

Warwick Fyfe, who we know best from The Ring Cycle where he’s always been wonderful, to my mind best as Fasolt in the first Adelaide Ring, but mostly he’s been acclaimed for his interpretations of Alberich in the two Melbourne Rings, was Sancho Panza. He had a great time hamming it up in the early Acts. All of the singing was fine and the costumes and staging excellent. The character of Dulcinea is different from the book; here she is a lady of means rather than a serving maid, being courted by a number of suitors. That’s a bit disconcerting for those of us who’ve read the original.

Some reviewers thought the story flagged a bit in the middle but I enjoyed all of it. There was a very theatrical rendition of the jousting at windmills episode which I thought came of nicely. As did the Don’s capture by bandits and his escape when they are taken by his sincerity. But all agreed that the final Acts came together beautifully. The two male voices singing together in the final Act when Don Quixote is dying was very beautiful and very moving.

Here’s a review from Simon Parris which includes some nice pictures and with which I wholeheartedly agree.

 

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