Well, getting to work with ETO on Il furioso – what an exciting opportunity. The three of us have been let into the innermost workings of English Touring Opera, from their offices in Farringdon, to their warehouse rehearsal space and hidden costume stores. It’s so far been a very enlightening experience.
The opera itself is a multifaceted beast of an opera, so many different pathways to take when approaching the work and a lot to get one’s teeth into. Ultimately though, at the heart of it, we have a story to tell, about a man caught up in the sorrow of heartbreak, searching desperately for a way out.
To me, Il furioso seems to be simultaneously dealing with a world of the subconscious, of memories and man alone with his fate and, in contrast, with a useful world of controlled farming, profit, labour and hierarchy.
We are provided with an Island, surrounded by uncontrollable and ever-changing water, the strength of which forces the three Europeans to the island. This begs the question of the world’s reality. On what level is this a farm of function and profit and on what level is this Cardenio’s subconscious, as he desperately searches for reconciliation or escape? I find myself battling with the possibility of having these two worlds sit comfortably (or not) together in one space, allowing reality and subconscious to function together.