Tinkering only slightly with his trademark production of Tosca (aka the oldskool-y one with Callas) , and with a lot changes in the singers stage directions, Franco Zeffirelli's new Tosca has won raves by the Roman audience and very flattering reviews in the Italian press.
Now he's sometimes cranky and his 2006 Aida at la Scala was an example of how, given a big budget, Frengo can totally lose his marbles and give free rein to his crazy-potato instincts.
But the recent butchery of Orphée perpetrated by the Alagna brothers has given us a bit of perspective. Because it's easy to sometimes forget that at this point of krazy direktor antiks in opera, well, Cranky Franco's respect for the main thrust of the libretto, the historical framework of the action, and for the dramatic sense of what's happening on stage, is very well deserving of our respect.
For all his crankiness, his wrongheaded premptive contempt for directors who try new things, and other peculiarities we're not very fond of, we hereby admit our girl crush for Frengo. Who'd never delude himself to the point of thinking that he knows more than Da Ponte or Piave about the meaning of what's supposed to take place on that stage.
(All photos courtesy Teatro Opera di Roma)