30 April-21 May 2005. For the Festival del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, conducted by Zubin Mehta, directed by Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, with Violeta Urmana, Marcus Haddock and Ruggero Raimondi.
At the end of last month, the 68th Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival opened, promising an exciting repertoire, including two very well-known and well-loved works. First in the programme is Tosca by Puccini (5-21 May), which will be at the Teatro Comunale in Florence conducted by Zubin Mehta a great interpreter of this opera. His reading is a perfect balance between a sweet and sensual resonance when love or descriptions of a decadent Rome are in play, and a more vibrant sound for the more violent and uncontrollable passions. A few years ago in Florence, Mehta conducted an extraordinary Tosca, produced by Jonathan Miller, which was set in world war two. We shall probably be offered something similar in this production, as Giorgio Barberio Corsetti is the director. He is known for his provocative and unconventional shows that prompt reflection and discussion. Another point of interest is Violeta Urmana who will sing Tosca, a charming but also difficult character to interpret. Urmana faces the role for the first time, in this phase of the career that sees her change from mezzo soprano roles to those of a soprano. Alongside her is Marcus Haddock, a tenor at the start of his career, and the celebrated baritone Ruggero Raimondo.
The other illustrious opera is Don Giovanni by Mozart, which will be performed at the Teatro alla Pergola in Florence (8-22 May), with Zubin Mehta conducting and Jonathan Miller directing. The vocal cast is one of the best available today: Mariella Devia (Donna Anna), who never flags in the difficulties of the part; Barbara Frittoli (Donna Elvira) who manages almost always to give sense and meaning to what she sings; Giuseppe Filianoti (Don Ottavio) at ease with a character which, apart from one aria, expresses himself in a slow, smooth song; Erwin Schrott (Don Giovanni) becomes the protagonist after playing Leporello, the role of which will be sung here by Natale De Carolis. Also singing will be: Veronica Cangemi (Zerlina), Alex Esposito (Masetto) and Marco Spotti (the commendatore) all admired professionals. Paolo Di Nicola