IN THE VIEWER’S EYE

We are lucky to have the opportunity to watch and listen to IL TRESPOLO TUTORE at the COLLEGIUM NOBILIUM. This Baroque opera buffa (comic opera), written by Allesandro Stradella, has been performed for the first time in its original version since 1679 thanks to the OPERA INSTITUTE of the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Academy of Dramatic Art, Fryderyk Chopin University of Music and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. Director Paweł Paszta produces it as the practical part of his doctoral dissertation at the Academy of Dramatic Art under the supervision of dr hab. Jarosław Kilian and music supervision of dr prof. Artur Stefanowicz. The performance is conducted by Andrea De Carlo, who has studied the works by Alessandro Stradella for many years and is a seasoned expert on the subject. He skilfully conducted young musicians from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music.

In principle, the plot of the libretto is a simple and funny farce based on the commedia dell’arte in its structure and shape. Frequent errors, accidental and surprising meetings, humorous situations, juxtaposition of contrasting characters and change of sexes are splendidly emphasised by the great, visually rich and colourful costumes by Marta Kodeniec, suggestive and well-matched make-up by Anna Sawicka, and tawdry and circus-style entourage (podium=arena, curtain=drape in the background) – scenography by Maciej Krajewski. Those create a pleasant atmosphere and strengthen drama tension. And they make an operatic tale of love incidents of the characters not fusty. Shown with a distance, with a pinch of salt and sense of humour, they are entertaining and touching. Despite innuendos, ambiguity and undertones they sound sincere, youthful and convincing. Clownish convention toned down the severity of life truths, tamed the blind fate and characterised the heroes in a warm and indulgent way.

But first of all, love in this performance dignified the prosaic aspects of life, made struggles more bearable and softened life’s randomness and paradoxicality. It idealised the imperfect human who in their helplessness had difficulty expressing their real feelings, fought with great effort for being loved back, for interest and for being fulfilled. And in spite of failures resulting from wrong choices or used means which were complete flops, they still tried to win over the person they loved. It focused on the most important thing – it brought out and expressed the voice of the inner beauty, good and innocence coming straight from the soul, the simple heart, its nature.

The most important things in the opera is music and vocal presentations of singers. The singers did not fail. They showed astonishing tunefulness, artistry and energy. The performers are surprisingly good actors, they are in a good shape and very fit. The charming, delicate and overly innocent and subtle Artemisia (Paulina Tuzińska), who is unable to successfully confess her feelings to her tutor, Trespolo (Andrzej Lenart), a man not very attractive and much older than her and whom she loves more like a father but fails to realise it. Artemisia is touching, surprising, and in a beautiful way she lets us know the depth of her feelings expressed in her singing. Fortunately and paradoxically, Trespolo – without reciprocation – loves the intriguing, rapacious and expressive Despina (Marta Huptaś). The most noticeable character is the charming and lyrical Nino (Rafał Tomkiewicz) who is in love with Artemisia.  The thrilling and talented countertenor is a funny and carefree Harlequin and at the end he turns into a sad and tragical Pierrot. Ciro (Magdalena Pikuła in a male role), whose personality transformed in an astonishing way, and nurse Simona, a very interesting woman willing to enjoy whatever life has to offer (the female role played splendidly by Mikołaj Zgódka), make the identities of the characters unobvious, whereas the narration is fickle, intriguing, ambiguous and familiarly modern.

The performance is where the high and the low are mixed. They agree, coexist. Penetrate each other. It lets us know that this is what life, the world, people and their fate look like. Director Paweł Paszta stressed these contradictions very well as in fact they complement each other: illusion and real life, stage and backstage, assistant and performing actors, sadness and joy, youth and old age, love and obligation, modernity and tradition, preparations to the staging of an opera and its final shape. Thanks to a group artistic symbiosis and united creative forces this forgotten for 250 years opera reappeared on stage. It is a pity that it will be staged at the Collegium Nobilium for such a short time. Watch it as soon as you can because it is very successful and funny. Prepared in a careful and professional way and performed with youthful fantasy and energy. It is exciting and thrilling, which encourages us to get more interested in operatic art. Go see yourselves. Good luck:)