* (as opera director).
Woody Allen -- whose production of Gianni Schicchi just traveled from Los Angeles to Festival di Spoleto where it opens tomorrow night -- gave an interview a couple weeks ago to Italian daily Corriere della Sera where he said a few unsurprising things (for example, that his inspiration for the staging came to him from his beloved Italian comedies by Vittorio de Sica and Pietro Germi from the 1950s and 1960s) and quite a few surprising ones.
The Woodman said that opera and film don't mix very often and that he found Ingmar Bergman's film version of The Magic Flute to be "boring", unlike Joseph Losey's Don Giovanni ("good"). Corriere's journalist correctly points out that Bergman has been a huge influence on Allen and Allen is a huge fan, and that Bergman's Magic Flute is usually considered a masterpiece: "Many people are crazy for his Magic Flute but I never really liked it, it's neither opera nor film. There's a director who's excellent at mixing opera and film: Zeffirelli". Zeffirelli is often panned by critics, the Corriere journalist points out.. "He's a great man of the theater and cinema. One of the few who can make opera accessible to a large audience. His Pagliacci and Cavalleria production -- I love those two operas -- is very exciting. If he takes some liberties he does it as an artist... if you bore them, they'll never be back. It's just like baseball".
Oh, and Placido Domingo, who convinced him to do Gianni Schicchi, wants Allen to direct Così Fan Tutte. Allen, who, in the interview, repeats that for him "life without Mozart is unthinkable", admits that it's a very intimidating opera to direct.
But he's thinking about it.