Director Joachim Schlomer undertook what may have been the most ambitious project of the entire M22 Salzburg Mozart Festival in 2006. Over the course of three evenings, Schlomer presented Odysseys(Irrfahrten). Schlomer begins the first evening of his odyssey with an early Mozart opera, La finta semplice. This is the starting point of a challenging journey with the composer, as filtered through Schlomer’s vision.
In 1769 the twelve year old Mozart composed his three-act opera buffa La finta semplice (The Pretend Simpleton) to a libretto by poet Marco Coltellini, which was in turn based off of Carlo Goldoni’s comedy. It is one of the most appetizing of Mozart’s early operas.
Captain Fracasso and his sergeant Simone are stationed at the home of two wealthy, foolhardy brothers: Don Cassandro and Don Polidoro. Cassandro and Polidoro have a sister, Giacinta, with whom Fracasso is smitten. Simone is chasing after the maid, Ninetta. Cassandro, a notorious misogynist, is continually at odds with his womanizing brother. Fracasso’s sister, Rosina, arrives to help her brother and, with Ninetta’s assistance, Rosina attempts to seduce both Cassandro and Polidoro. Rosina plays the part of a sexy simpleton, and she is quite successful with Cassandro. After a night of much drinking, the brothers quarrel over Rosina (leading to a comic duel). The quarreling is followed by dizzying amorous intrigue and romantic mix-ups. The brothers are lead to believe that Giacanta has run off with Simone and taken the estate’s treasure with him. Finally, Rosina, Giacanta and Ninetta end up with their chosen lovers. Only Polidoro walks away empty-handed, which leaves him happily single and unfettered.