One of this opera season’s most eagerly anticipated events is just around the corner: the March return to the Met of tenor Giuseppe Filianoti as Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, the role of his sensational 2005 company début.
Filianoti, who opened yesterday as Tom Rakewell in Palermo (his role début), has been to hell and back since his last local appearance, in OONY’s L’Arlesiana in February 2007—and I’m not referring only to the diabolical operas in which he has sung. On the heels of an acclaimed Rome run of Werther, Filianoti fell gravely ill with peritonitis following an appendectomy and was forced to withdraw from some six months of engagements.
His first performances after his illness—as Hoffmann in Hamburg and in Verdi’s Messa da Requiem in Torino—were popular and critical successes, though Il Corriere della Grisi’s Adolphe Nourrit expressed reservations about the Hoffmann. Opera Today’s critic, instead, praised Filianoti’s “balls-to-the-wall phrases,” of which vilaine fille says: Wow, that must hurt.
Last month’s Mefistofele in Palermo reportedly found the tenor in fine fettle. (Yes, that’s Mefistofele in the photo and not That ‘70s Show). And, as all the world knows, Filianoti will open the 2008-09 La Scala season in the title role of Verdi’s Don Carlo (Italian-language, four-act version) under Daniele Gatti. (vilaine fille’s birthday is the day after Sant’Ambrogio; she is SO there.)
Werther, Hoffmann, Faust, Don Carlo… That’s mighty heavy rep for a young singer. (Soon after his Met début, Filianoti opined that it was “too soon” for him to undertake Don Carlo.) And Edgardo’s tessitura is killing…
En tout cas, we wish Don Peppino a hearty in bocca al lupo and bentornato a New York! Alas, what with the silly set in the new Lucia, he probably will not be able to make his entrance running, with his cape swirling behind him—one of vilaine fille’s most cherished memories from thirty years of opera going. Filianoti also portrays Edgardo in San Francisco later this year. His upcoming performances include, as well, Werther in Genova, La clemenza di Tito in Torino, and Nicias in Thaïs (venue TBA).
Since Don Peppino is that rare tenor who reads Borges and Sgalambro, we thought it only fair to have him answer a version of the Proust questionnaire. (The Italian-language original will appear in print in coming weeks; if it makes its way to the web, I’ll post the link.)
Your most marked characteristic?
The quality you most like in a man?
The quality you most like in a woman?
Intelligence and intuition.
What do you most value in your friends?
What is your principal defect?
Being an introvert.
What is your favorite occupation?
What is your dream of happiness?
Living in total serenity.
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Losing those I love.
What would you like to be?
Alight with wisdom.
In what country would you like to live?
What is your favorite color?
What is your favorite flower?
All of them.
What is your favorite bird?
Who are your favorite prose writers?
Too many, I couldn’t decide.
Who are your favorite poets?
Dante, Shakespeare, Leopardi, Montale.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Edgardo, Achilles, Aeneas.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Desdemona, Anna Karenina, Dido.
Who are your favorite composers?
All those whose music I’ve sung along with Britten, Debussy, and Monteverdi.
Who are your favorite painters?
Mantegna, Leonardo, Raffaello, and Caravaggio.
Who are your heroes in real life?
I have none.
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Joan of Arc, Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
What are your favorite names?
What is it you most dislike?
The abuse of power.
What historical figure do you most despise?
What event in military history do you most admire?
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
The ability to read my own soul.
How would you like to die?
I don’t think about it.
What is your present state of mind?
In progress (answered in English).
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Those belonging to the people dear to my heart.
What is your motto?
Don’t borrow trouble.
Update: La sor romana answers the ever-pressing question, How many tenors does it take to screw in a lightbulb?