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I due Foscari ©Michele Monasta

photo cover: Michele Monasta

May 19, 2022

Verdi's I due Foscari at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with tenor Plácido Domingo

Sunday 22 May Verdi's opera at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino festival. Repeats on 25, 28, 31 May and 3 June

The fourth opera title for the 84th Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Festival: on Sunday 22 May, at 8 p.m., maestro Carlo Rizzi, conducting the Maggio Chorus and Orchestra, will be on the podium of the Sala Mehta for the world premiere of Giuseppe Verdi's I due Foscari. The direction of the opera, at its first performance at the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and which was first performed in Florence at the Teatro della Pergola in January 1845, is signed by Grischa Asagaroff, period-inspired scenes and costumes are by Luigi Perego, lighting by Valerio Tiberi and choreography is by Cristiano Colangelo.

On the bill is a singing company that lines up to begin with one of the most famous names on the world opera scene: Plácido Domingo who is Francesco Foscari, Doge of Venice. His son, Jacopo Foscari, is played by Jonathan Tetelman; making his Maggio debut, he is considered one of the most promising tenors of his generation. Another name of international stature and a great Verdi voice is soprano María José Siri who plays Lucrezia Contarini, Jacopo's wife; bass Riccardo Fassi in his Florentine debut plays Jacopo Loredano, a member of the Consiglio de' Dieci.

The cast is completed by four artists from the Accademia del Maggio: Joseph Dahdah is Senator Barbarigo, Xenia Tziouvaras as Pisana, Lulama Taifasi as the Fante del Consiglio de' Dieci and Adam Jon as the Doge's Servant. The Maggio Choir is conducted by maestro Lorenzo Fratini.

Four more performances are scheduled: 25, 31 May and 3 June at 8 p.m. and 28 May at 5 p.m.

First time with this opera also for director Grischa Asagaroff: "The deeper I got into the opera, the more I fell in love with it. The leitmotifs reminded me of the 'Wagnerian style'. The music is very dark, sad. The opera 'lives' with characters imbued with a dark, almost 'sinister' personality. With Luigi Perego, who did the sets and costumes, we were inspired by Foscari's tomb in the Frari Church in Venice. It is our 'scenic tower', which rotates and creates the spaces in which the singers will move".

The sixth title in Verdi's catalogue, I due Foscari, an opera in three acts to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, premiered at the Teatro Argentina in Rome on 3 November 1844. The subject is inspired by Lord Byron's play of the same name. The drama is built on the contrast between paternal love and love of country of the Doge Francesco Foscari and the woes of his son Jacopo, unjustly accused of murder and of plotting against the Venetian Republic. But while lacking the liveliness of action of Verdi's earlier dramas, I due Foscari is distinguished by some new and experimental compositional solutions. The orchestration becomes more subtle and accurate. A prominent place is reserved for the harp and the woodwinds, which render an elegiac and nocturnal instrumental tone, adhering to the image of Venice evoked by Byron. Each character is associated with a musical motif that reappears each time the protagonists return to the stage.

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