FINTA GIARDINIERA, LA
"The Zurich Opera's ensemble let's the score sparkle and glow."
We know Mozart the composer, the keyboard virtuoso, the bon-vivant. But Mozart the psychologist? Indeed, one of Mozart's great gifts was his ability to understand people in all their facets. We see this in his letters to his father, where he provides warts-and-all descriptions of the people he meets. But we see this above all in his operas, where he uses musical means to bring his characters to full, three-dimensional life. What is truly amazing is that he was already able to do this at the age of 18, when he wrote the opera buffa "La finta giardiniera," premiered in Munich in January 1775.
The plot is a labyrinth of mix-ups and mistaken identities, of love betrayed, rejected, unrequited – everything but consummated. Confronted with this late-Baroque libretto of shifting appearances, Mozart gives his imagination free rein, letting the orchestra suggest that what the characters are singing may not be what they're feeling… And in a profusion of virtuoso arias, duets and ensemble pieces, he shows that there are many ways to come together on the road to love…
While Mozart understands the soul like no other composer, Nikolaus Harnoncourt understands Mozart like no other conductor. One of the world's foremost maestros and a pioneer of historical performance practice, Harnoncourt has been exploring Mozart's oeuvre for decades. In the 1980s he wrote music history with his Mozart cycle at the Zurich Opera. In this production, he conducts his first "La finta giardiniera" at the Zurich house, with the Opera's own early-music ensemble "La Scintilla.
Harnoncourt's musical concept is to dramatically underscore the emotional subtleties of the work and breathe life into every measure. His concept is brilliantly supported by the stage production, a harmonious confluence of multi-layered and finely shaded direction (Tobias Moretti), elegant sets (Rolf Glittenberg) and light-heartedly over-the-top costumes (Renate Martin, Andreas Donhauser). The homogeneous cast of seven soloists headed by the luminous Eva Mei as the "Make-Believe Gardener" rounds off this touching, witty and supremely human look at love.