Unfaithful women, flirtatious young men, seductive arias and spectacular ensembles – Rossini´s witty IL TURCO IN ITALIA is a perfect comedy of manners. Enjoy this colourful production filmed at the Bergen National Opera, Norway in April 2017.
Rossini was just 22 when he wrote IL TURCO IN ITALIA, his 13th opera and his third for Teatro alla Scala. The young composer clearly relished librettist Felice Romani's outrageous farce, which serves up ridiculousness with relish. The heroine's wildly immoral antics caused some consternation at the opera's premiere in 1814, and would play a part in the opera virtual disappearance from Europe's stages later in the century.
The plot goes from raucous humour to darker intrigue. Fiorilla is bored to death of her husband Geronio. A ship arrives bearing a glamorous Prince and Fiorilla decides to fell in love with him, to much disappointment of her current lover, Narciso. After all kinds of dramatic intrigues, elderly husband and young wife are left to face each other and their values. The poet Prosdocimo, who is looking for a story for his comic drama, takes notes. Gypsies, tales from a Turkish harem, a desolate lover and a foolish old man with a highly unpredictable and flirtatious young wife are all comic ingredients for this unique plot. In Mark Lamos' production for Bergen National Opera, Prosdocimo is young, brash, exuberant, overflowing with enthusiasm. He is the puppet master who is pulling all the strings - literally - because Lamos has created puppet replicas of Fiorilla, Geronio and Selim who battle out their stormy love triangle in a puppet theatre in parallel as the audience sees them in real life on the stage.
And, as some times happens in live performance, Pietro Spagnoli was suffering from a throat infection at the time of this recording and his role was thus sung by Giorgio Caoduro in a great double-act, though Spagnoli kindly walked his role on stage.