....is still in full effect (just in case you were wondering).
In an update to this past weekend's operetta led by Maestro Francesco Maria Colombo at Milan's Teatro dal Verme, I luckily rescued this small clip from Saturday's La Repubblica while going through the backlog of newspapers, magazines, and mail. Raaaaawr! Look at that brooding, temptuous stare!
Opera Chic -- and about 400 Milanese senior citizens -- filled the immense Teatro dal Verme (pictured above, the omghistoric opera house where many masterpieces, among them Pagliacci, were staged for the first time) late yesterday afternoon to hear Maestro Francesco Maria Colombo lead the Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali in Reynaldo Hahn's operetta "Mozart, Commedia Musicale"...and to witness Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart personified as a young, Black, American soprano. RAWK! It flipping rawked...I mean, how cool is that?!
Casual was mosdef in order, so I threw on an Alexander McQueen black silk ruffled blouse tucked into a pair of super-str8 legged khaki pants from Salvatore Ferragamo, a pair of platform burnt-orange espadrille wedges from Paul Smith, and a beige knit and leather trimmed Ferragamo bag. Frerrargarmo. heh.
Reynaldo Hahn had a kewl life: Venezuelan by birth, but relocated to Franzz, and accepted at an early age to the Paris Conservatoire, where he was taught by Massenet, Gounod and Saint-Saëns; he also developed an affinity for Marcel Proust (who didn't?), and they became bf4e&E&E w/benefits ifyouknowhatimsayin. A bit obscure to a fan of meatier opera, OC's first impression of Hahn came from the gorgeous aria (Si mes vers avaient des ailes) sung by Bidú Sayão, so I was eager to know more of Hahn's quintessentially Belle Epoque work.
Maestro Colombo greeted the audience, but stepped-out in solemn spirit to announce that the afternoon performance would be dedicated to the memory of Mstislav Rostropovich, (bravo maestro), and then the auditorium rose to observe a moment of silence. On with the show:
The orchestra was arranged in front of a small, raised stage with three porticos where the action took place (photo above) among Mozart, Madame d'Epinay, a ballerina, and another voce recitante. There were a few ariettas, but most of the action was relayed as recitative. Throughout three acts, the score is full of Mozart melodies taken from Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, thus the story weaves around fictitious portions of Mozart’s life in Paris. Hahn's operetta, evocative of La Bella Epoca style, tells the invented story of a young virgin Mozart's visit to Paris, and to the estate of la Madame d'Epinay where he thrills the host with music, and is determined to get laid amid a flutter of jealousy, secretive letters, and then a revolt that finally sends him away. Think: Dangerous Liaisons.
Because you know what you are in for with the performance, it's pretty hard to hold the show up to the standards of an opera. Sooo, we’ll leave it at this: Colombo conducted deftly (we've heard the same piece conducted by somebody else and Colombo's style -- light, elegant, tight -- really flew). The overture was rounded, quicksilver, and gorgeous. Colombo was in high spirits, and playfully conducted his corps. Aside from the overture, there is only a smattering of orchestra solos, but Colombo carried the entire performance swiftly. Lauren Michelle Criddle, the young American soprano in the role of Mozart, was lively, genuine, and sang well enough, but carries a small voice. But she made an awesome Mozart.
There’s another performance scheduled for Thursday, May 3 at 9pm if you’re inclined to get your Hahn on. Bonus: While you're killing time for the show to start (tkts available 1 hour before the show), you can check out Centro Estetico a block away, which has some of the most beautiful floors in all of Meelan. check it out vvvvvvv