Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House
March 19, 2018
“Don Quichotte is exactly what every man should be for at least three or four hours in his life,” Ferruccio Furlanetto told Limelight ahead of his performances in the title role of Massenet’s opera for Opera Australia. “It’s so fascinating to be able to live for these few hours inside this character.” The Italian bass, who was in Sydney just last year doing Schubert’s Winterreise and a programme of Russian songs, has spent more than just a few hours as Cervantes’ knight-errant since his first performance in the role in 2002, and is now the leading living interpreter of the role.
Ferruccio Furlanetto as Don Quichotte. Photos © Prudence Upton
Massenet’s opera, with libretto by Henri Caïn, distils Cervantes’ mammoth, episodic novel (by way of Jacques le Lorrain’s play Le chevalier de la longue figure) into five relatively short acts, that relate the idealistic knight’s quest to retrieve a stolen necklace from the bandit Ténébrun in the hope of winning the heart of Dulcinée, tilting at windmills along the way.
From its premiere with Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin in the title...