The ageing knight Don Quichotte sets out in search of adventure with his faithful squire, Sancho Panza, by his side. He falls in love with the damsel Dulcinée, who sends him on a quest to retrieve her necklace from a band of thieves. After capture by bandits, a skirmish with windmills and a spurned marriage proposal, Don Quichotte contemplates his greatest adventure yet.
While Jules Massenet’s would-be knight-errant Don Quichotte has a tendency to mistake a cluster of windmills as hostile foes, there is no mistaking Ferruccio Furlanetto as the pre-eminent artist to portray the troubled comic hero. Staging Don Quichotte for the first time, Opera Australia has gathered a stellar international and home-grown cast to bring this quirky interpretation of the famous comédie-héroïque to Australian audiences.
“Ferruccio Furlanetto is the most wonderful Don Quichotte you could ever hope to see or hear,” said Lyndon Terracini, Artistic Director of Opera Australia. “He was born to play this role and we are thrilled that he is performing it in Melbourne. He is arguably the greatest operatic bass in the world and these will be performances not to be missed.”
Massenet’s composition distils the essence of the original sprawling 1000+ page classic story of Don Quixote into a strikingly beautiful score that tells the troubled tale of a man out of time and out of touch. But it takes a special performer to make you fall in love with the eccentric Don Quichotte, and Ferruccio Furlanetto, arguably the world’s finest bass, is just that.
Lending his award-winning voice once again to the title role, which has become his signature piece, Furlanetto’s Don is full of fancy and bursting with bravery, capturing all the colours of Massenet’s lush score under Tourniaire’s masterful direction. He takes the whimsies of the famous knight-errant and paints an earnest and endearing portrait of a hero like the knights of old, pursuing the dreams the world forgot.
Joining Furlanetto in this production is an all-star cast of Australian performers including mezzo soprano Sian Pendry, soprano Jane Ede, baritone Warwick Fyfe and tenors Graeme Macfarlane and John Longmuir. Don Quichotte is a colourful and charming opera that touches the heart and tickles the senses. This is a wonderful opportunity to see this quirky opera performed by the world’s best.
Conductor: Guillaume Tourniaire Featuring: Ferruccio Furlanetto, Sian Pendry, Warwick Fyfe, Graeme Macfarlane, John Longmuir, Jane Ede, Anna Dowsley, Orchestra Victoria and the Opera Australia Chorus Assistant Director: John Sheedy Chorus Master: Anthony Hunt Set Designer: Ralph Funicello Costume Designer: Missy West Lighting Designer: Chad R. Jung Choreographer: Tomás Dietz
State Theatre – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 3 – 12 May 2018
Information and Bookings: www.opera.org.au
Image: Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Quichotte – photo courtesy Opera Australia, San Diego Opera and Ken Howard