A new production of Il Turco in Italia has premiered at La Scala in Milan in a rare revival of the Rossini tragi-comic opera which deals with love, lust and mistaken identities. It’s a farcical tale of marital deception.
Operalia laureate Rosa Feola plays the flirtatious Donna Fiorilla, bored by married life.
“The first aria of Fiorilla is about what she is thinking about love – so it is boring to love just one thing, so let’s love everything we look at – flowers, butterflies and of course ourselves first of all,” she explains.
The Turk of the title – Selim – sung by Alex Esposito, immediately catches her eye.
“He is like beauty and the beast, a bad character in the beginning – the beast – but in the end he has heart, he loves his woman,” says Esposito.
As a film and stage director, Roberto Andò wanted to create a mood that reflects the suffering of Rossini’s characters. He says this opera is very special as it treads a fine line between the comic and the serious. It was important for him to get to the melancholy in the opera.
The second act, masked ball means a flurry of errors, but for Andò it is heartbreaking rather than farcical.
“Rossini is looking mostly at Geronio – he is completely lost, the scene is for him,” he explains. “It is the scene of a man who is not able to understand his wife, she is a mystery for him.”
Abandoned by her men, Fiorilla’s final aria is full of remorse – emphasised by Feola’s brilliant coloratura.
At the time of publication shows have been suspended because of Covid-19 coronavirus.