Monday 25 September 2017

Failure to ignite: Rossini's early comedy at Teatro la Fenice in Venice

Rossini L'occasione fa il ladro - Teatro la Fenice - Venice
Rossini L'occasione fa il ladro - Teatro la Fenice - Venice
Rossini L’occasione fa il ladro; Enrico Iviglia, Rocio Perez, Giorgio Misseri, dir: Elisabetta Brusa, cond: Michele Gamba; Teatro la Fenice, Venice
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on Sep 20 2017 Star rating: 2.5
Rossini's burletta in an overconceptualised production in Venice

Rossini’s burletta per musica L’occasione fa il ladro (Opportunity Makes the Thief) is a one act farce based on Le prétendu par hazard an 1810 vaudeville by Eugène Scribe, which we caught in Venice at Teatro la Fenice on September 20, 2017 in a production directed by Elisabetta Brusa, and conducted by Michele Gamba. Given enough élan and a musically light touch the accidental exchange of luggage that precipitates this tale of mistaken identity and amorous deceit can be a pleasant, if undemanding, way to spend ninety minutes.

We were greeted in the auditorium by monochrome clad Terpsichorean guides who stage managed the evening's theatrical shenanigans; the production’s central conceit illustrated by the quote, roughly translated, “the things written in books, and therefore eternal, are a robbery made to the laws of time”. It was a handsome enough staging elegantly framed like an antiquarian opus complete with descriptive legend; a gauze created a theatrical veneer. And here in lies the principal practical problem of Elisabetta Brusa’s vision.

The twin barriers of gauze and masking allied to some lamentable lighting, for the sake of ambience and a couple of theatrical effects, isolated the performers from the audience. The direction, such as it was, was little more than a series of tableaux vivants with the addition of some asinine comic business. It would be disingenuous of me to review the singing given that at times it was inaudible above the lively orchestral sound. When the cast ventured on to the forestage in the finale it was a revelation – but three minutes does not an opera make.

For the last thirty minutes my eyes drifted around the elegant interior of the theatre. Staring at the clock above the proscenium and dreaming of the gastronomy to follow didn’t help. On the bright side – the food was excellent.
Reviewed by Anthony Evans

Rossini - L’occasione fa il ladro
Wednesday 20 September 2017
Teatro La Fenice
Conductor : Michele Gamba
Orchestra del Teatro La Fenice
Director : Elisabetta Brusa
Design : Scuola di scenografia dell”Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia
Don Eusebio : Enrico Iviglia
Berenice : Rocio Perez
Conte Alberto : Giorgio Misseri
Don Parmenione : Omar Montanari
Ernestina : Rosa Bove
Martino : Armando Gabba

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