09.03.2108/Collegium Nobilium Theatre
Baroque opera has become the world only explored by its enthusiasts. This may be the reason why each year we have more and more interesting discoveries and why new premiere performances are held not at institutionalised theatres but thanks to the activity of the Dramma per musica Society or the Opera Institute, which is not at all formalised, despite its name. As its heads, Ryszard Peryt and Artur Stefanowicz, say, it is a platform where Warsaw’s three higher education institutions meet. For a few years now, the Institute has staged outstanding works which are often unknown or had been forgotten for centuries, such as “Il Trespolo tutore” by Alessandro Stradella, a very talented composer and troublemaker who was infamous during his lifetime and became a hero of operas after his death (the best-known opera was written in the 19th century by Friedrich von Flotow), but it does not change the fact that his compositions disappeared from the stage.
“Il Trespolo tutore” was presented to the audience in Genoa in 1679. Since that time, it had not been staged until now that it has been brought to life by students and graduates of Warsaw’s HEIs. Yet it is an opera surpassing the Baroque convention. Formally speaking, it is the commedia per musica, but it also includes lyrical and heroic tones. The titular Trespolo, tutor of the beautiful Artemisia, who wants to marry the young Despina, is the prototype of the buffo bass that would find a permanent place in the later period in the Italian comic opera. But in Stradella’s work he is supposed not to just be funny but also moving. Nino in turns, who is hopelessly in love with Artemisia, is amusing and lyrical at the same time, like Pierrot.
All that creates a musical story in which arias smoothly connect with recitatives. Musicians – students of the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music supported by mature instrumentalists (Krzysztof Garstka – harpsichord) and (Justyna Rekść-Raubo – viola da gamba) were conducted by Andrea De Carlo. He heads the Alessandro Stradella Festival in Nepi, where the composer was most probably born in 1639 (birthplace not fully proven). The Italian artist knew how to create an ensemble playing in an aware and stylish way. Paweł Paszta, doctoral candidate at the Academy of Dramatic Art, was the director of the performance, and he referred to the commedia dell’arte style in which he found ideas how to characterise his heroes and act out most situations on a small stage. He treated the plot with a modern distance, so his performance was a sort of a theatre game using simple means.
The performers enjoyed themselves, entertaining the audience at the same time. The comical character of nurse Simona was portrayed by the guest artist Mikołaj Zgódka. Andrzej Lenart (student of Włodzimierz Zalewski) as the titular Trespolo was more convincing in lyrical scenes than in humorous ones as it turned out difficult to cover up the charm of youth with the costume of a mature man. Three roles especially deserve being mentioned here in terms of their vocal and acting qualities: the overconfident Ciro played by Magdalena Pikuła (class of Jadwiga Rappe), Nino by Rafał Tomkiewicz (student of Artur Stefanowicz) and Artemisia by Paulina Tuzińska (class of Anna Radziejewska). The attractive Despina was portrayed by Marta Huptas (student of Małgorzata Marczewska).