As performer number one in the world in the moment in the role of Filippo II was presented the renowned bass Ferruccio Furlanetto by Vera Petrova, Deputy Director of Sofia Opera and Ballet, in the press-conference on the occasion of the upcoming spectacle of “Don Carlo”, with which the theatre will open season 2014/2015 on 20 September at 19.00 h. Petrova marked, that the guest-performance of Furlanetto happens in the year of the celebrations of Boris Christoff’s 100th Anniversary, when we also mark the one-century Jubilee of one of the great Bulgarian opera directors, Mihail Hadzhimishev, who worked all over the world.
The world bass Furlanetto expressed his great pleasure to be guest in Bulgaria’s first theatre in the year of the celebrations of maestro Christoff, “whom right in the beginning of my career I had the great pleasure to meet in Turin”. The performer said that “Don Carlo” was the second opera in his career, in which he debuted in the role of the Monk, and Boris Christoff presented his crown part of Filippo II. “I have kept a terrific memory, because he, already with exceptional glory, was so kind, so gentle with one boy, who was a little bit over twenty. He gave me directions, advices, he was joking. I admired this great personality and grew during my entire career with a great adoration towards the great artist, performer and interpreter. This was the way I wanted to follow. Even when started my preparation for my first guest-performance in Russia, the second part of the programme contained songs by Mussorgsky. During the performances I was constantly thinking about Maestro Christoff, he was my starting point.” According to Furlanetto he had always combined a great vocal technique with unique power of interpretation. “When I was invited to come to Sofia for this “Don Carlo” in the memory of the Maestro, I accepted right away with great joy and excitement and I am very happy to be here among you”.
Several years after his meeting with Boris Christoff, Furlanetto was singing at Metropolitan Opera in New York the Grand Inquisitor in “Don Carlo”, where Filippo II was Nicolai Ghiaurov. “He was an extraordinary singer and personality, very kind person and with him we stayed friends forever. With Nicola Ghiuselev we haven’t met, but I know what he had achieved and I feel great respect for him. For me it is a real privilege and joy to be in the city and in the motherland of my exceptional forerunners in “Don Carlo”. This enriched my career and I am extremely happy, especially to sing this role, which in the last years turned into something like my registered sign.”
Ferruccio Furlanetto had the pleasure to know the great Ghena Dimitrova, who, after his words, was an exceptional singer, as well as to sing with both Anastasov brothers and with the great Krassimira Stoyanova. “This is a soprano with extraordinary volume of the voice, with who this spring we have sung in the USA, as well as many times before at the Wiener Staatsoper. It is a real fascination to see a small country as Bulgaria to have given to the world such exceptional as quality and so many singers. “When one nation has achieved that, it could be expected in it to be met much love to music and opera.”
About his work by the present first guest-performance at the Sofia Opera Furlanetto told, that here he has met much love and friendship, which he called “golden starting points”. “The atmosphere here is very pleasant and it is a real pleasure for me to be here”, said Furlanetto, reminding himself of his first Filippo II in Kassel, Germany, under the directing of Giancarlo del Monaco, the son of Mario del Monaco. “His production was very strange and contradictory, but as privileged connoisseur of the opera and music, Giancarlo has always put in logic in his ideas.”
On the way home after this participation, Ferruccio Furlanetto passed through Salzburg for an audition from Herbert von Karajan. The day was long and boring. He spent 8-9 hours in the expectation of the legendary Maestro. At the end he wished to hear him as Filippo II. “This September in 1980 turned into the beginning of my long way in this role”, said today the recognized all over the world performer. Six years later, he sang in the production of “Don Carlo” with the participation of Karajan. “This production changed my life for 12 hours. The day before I was a promising young man, and the day after I was chosen by Karajan and I had already the certitude. This was very important.”
Furlanetto considers, that he had the opportunity to start his career in time by the last great directors and conductors. “I will never forget my work with Solti or Verdi’s “Requiem”, which we made with Giulini. These were really exceptional moments”, said he from the distance of time. His wish to be simultaneously interpreter and performer was supported by names like Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, Zeffirelli, Giorgio Strehler, Patrice Chéreau. According to him, they all are exceptional professionals of the art of the opera, and the work with them he qualified as a “mine of knowledge”. The preparation for his roles Furlanetto compared with one unbelievable way – for example the difference with that kind ruler, whom he presented as Filippo II in the beginning of his career and the character, which sees in his face the spectator of today. He defined Verdi as one of the few great composers, who, by the means of music, reaches directly the human heart. “There are few very good directors, in contrast to others, who are outside the world of the opera and who make our life difficult.” After 40 years on the stage he, not without irony, marked, that the professionals quite often fall into the hands of dilettantes.
About his work with the Bulgarian team Ferruccio Furlanetto pointed out his impressions from his meeting with the director Plamen Kartaloff. “From first sight it was obvious, that this is a very prepared personality, from the generations for which it was mentioned. The production, nevertheless it is not a new one, is very interesting. It is very conceptional. That is why for me it was very easy to “enter” into it”. It is nice to work that way, said the world-known bass. He is already expecting with impatience his first meeting with the Bulgarian audience.