THE BLOG

Sing To Me: Il Postino, Manon, Cosi Fan Tutte

08/05/2010 07:58 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

IL POSTINO
WHO: LA Opera
WHAT:Il Postino, music by Daniel Catan
WHEN: September 23 - October 16, 2010
WHERE: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion
135 North Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90012

WHY: Pablo Neruda's arrival in Italy, following exile from his native Chile, has the small island of Cala di Sotto abuzz. Picture espadrilles, lapping waves, and a small garden tended to by Neruda's wife, Matilde. On his first day in Italy, Neruda meets the story's namesake, Mario Ruoppolo - his new postman. The legendary tale of passion and poetry unfolds as Neruda transforms the former-fisherman Ruoppolo into a lyricist himself. The postman's favorite words, regardless of countless rhetorical lessons from the master remain the name of his beloved: Beatrice Russo.

LA Opera's 2010/2011 season (which sees significantly less Richard Wagner than their last two) begins with Il Postino, an opera based off of Michael Radford's iconic film of the same name. The company's General Director, more commonly known as the Placido Domingo, will star as Pablo Neruda with an accompanying cast that includes such mainstays as Charles Castronovo as il postino and Amanda Squitieri as his undying love interest, Beatrice Russo.

MANON
WHO: Teatro Colon Opera
WHAT: Manon, music by Jules Massenet
WHEN: August 10 - August 17, 2010
WHERE: Teatro Colon
Cerrito 618
Ciudad Autonoma de Buenos Aires
Republica Argentina

WHY: Doe-eyed and headed to a convent, Manon is an impressionable young lady taking her first journey in a carriage. Clueless to the world's guiles, she falls instantly in love with de Grieux, a young chevalier who reciprocates her feelings with a flush and unforgettable aria. As they escape to Paris together, one only wonders how long it will take for Manon's clever uncle Lescaut or de Grieux' father to intercept them - not very long, we learn.

The recently reopened opera house is a cultural gem in Buenos Aires' crown. Among the most beautiful structures to house the opera, Teatro Colon originally opened in 1908 with Verdi's Aida. To see an opera like Manon in a structure such as Colon is to experience the ancientness and severity of talent that opera enjoys. Easily Jules Massenet's most loved and performed work, every prestigious operatic talent has Manon's arias in their repertoire.

COSI FAN TUTTE
WHO: Royal Opera
WHAT: Cosi Fan Tutte, music by Wolfgang Mozart
WHEN: September 10 - September 22, 1010
WHERE: Royal Opera House
Covent Garden
London WC2E 9DD

WHY: A dangerous wager is made in Naples when an old lothario, Alfonso, tries to convince Ferrando and Guglielmo that their girlfriends, sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are like all women - fickle. The men concoct a plan to test Alfonso's theory. They tell the girls they're required to ship out with their regiment, leaving the sisters in woeful, melancholic grief (this is the opera, after all). Ferrando and Guglielmo then test the sisters by dressing up as "Albanians" to see if the girls will fall for their exotic counterparts, forgetting about their true loves far, far away.

The Royal Opera has produced Cosi Fan Tutte a number of times to the delight of new operagoers and season ticket holders alike. Their production shifts one of Mozart's most popular operas to the modern day, a fitting decision considering how little human nature has changed since Cosi Fan Tutte was written in the 18th century.