Concerts & Opera

Hüseyin Çağlayan created the costumes of Los Angeles Philharmonic production of Così



The Los Angeles Philharmonic's semi-staged production of the Mozart-Da Ponte opera "Così fan tutte" at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on 23rd of May, 2014 was amazing. It's the third production to unite the orchestra under the baton of kinetic music director Gustavo Dudamel with staging by director Christopher Alden. It's also the finale in a trilogy of late 1700s operas composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart with Italian librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte for which the L.A. Phil enlisted world-class architects and fashion designers to create costumes and sets pretty experimental.

Indeed, the impulse to bring architects and fashion designers into the opera world is just one of many initiatives that has helped define the L.A. Philharmonic as arguably the most forward-thinking major orchestra in the world. Transformation and ambiguity also play key factors in Zaha Hadid's set: a 5 meters high, immaculate white dune, nautilus-like landscape encircled by a slanting runway that changes shape according to what's being enacted and even mechanically transports performers "in orbital relationship to each other," she said. Mainly the designer focused on the opera's "changeability of the characters"

"There's a transforming element in the clothes," explained Hussein Chalayan, noted for his visionary fashion design, who developed a laser-cut "3-D fabric" with custom embroidery for the production. "You see a classical suit or coat. And then they become something else, with other textures coming out as they perform. There's interplay between classical shapes and this experimental edge. Things happen to the clothes that you wouldn't expect, necessarily," he said. Alden's production was confused and it seems he is not so much familiarity with the splendid Da Ponte’s libretto and his deep meanings of the words.

The cast was nice. The soprano Miah Persson (Fiordiligi) made the strongest impression, along with the bass-baritone Philippe Sly’s clear, charismatic Guglielmo. Three lighter voices, Mr. Gilfry as Don Alfonso, the tenor Alek Shrader (Ferrando) and the mezzo Roxana Constantinescu (Dorabella), made less of an impact. Soprano Rosemary Joshua, lively as Despina was speaking and singing with an incomprehensible Italian.

Gustavo Dudamel conducts with confidence the amazing Los Angeles Philharmonic placed on the front of the stage, slightly off-center and he was both poetic and propulsive.

Massimo Corsini



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