Giampaolo Testoni

Fantasio / Fortunio

mixed opera 14 premiere

Comic operas in one act, in Italian, with Hungarian and English surtitles

The Italian composer Giampaolo Testoni wrote the librettos for his own one-act operas Fortunio and Fantasio, which are being paired together, based on the plays of the French Romantic dramatist Alfred de Musset.

In the royal court, the young idler Fantasio dons the costume of the deceased court jester whom the Princess had loved so much. The youth’s aim is to achieve his life’s sole objective: for someone to love him too. Fantasio unfolds in the borderlands between the worlds of the imagination and reality: sometimes it is nearly impossible to decide what is fantasy and what is actually happening. On the stage of his imaginary world, the title character himself is attempting to be something different from what he is in real life, something that is indicated not only by his disguise, but by the fact that the composer wrote his part for a female voice.

The young student Fortunio puts on a disguise in order to help his master’s wife hide the fact that she is meeting another man – and in the process of doing so, the bored title character, who has so far lived a life of apathy, himself discovers the beauty of love. The events of Fortunio fluctuate thrillingly between a dream world and reality and, as with the latter piece, are acted out by only a few singers accompanied by a small chamber orchestra. This musical comedy depicts a world of love and illusions in which the main characters don disguises, leading to a whole series of charades and misunderstanding – both humorous and spiteful – arising from the false appearances and deceptions.

Giampaolo Testoni

Fantasio

Conductor
Balázs Kocsár
King
Géza Gábor
Prince
Zoltán Megyesi
Marinoni
Marcell Bakonyi
Elisabetta
Zsófia Nagy
Governess of Elisabetta
Mária Farkasréti
Fantasio
Gabriella Balga
Spark
Attila Erdős
Royal Secretary / Hartman / Gravedigger / Tailor / Flamel
Botond Ódor

Giampaolo Testoni

Fortunio

Conductor
Balázs Kocsár
Andrea, a notary
Géza Gábor
Giacometta
Zsófia Nagy
Clavaroche, an officer
Attila Erdős
Maddalena, a housekeeper
Mária Farkasréti
Fortunio, Apprentice notary
Gabriella Balga
Guglielmo, Apprentice notary
Botond Ódor
Landry, Apprentice notary
Marcell Bakonyi
Pietro, a gardener
Zoltán Megyesi

Events

Eiffel Art Studios – Miklós Bánffy Stage
Eiffel Art Studios – Miklós Bánffy Stage

Synopsis

Fantasio
The King informs his secretary Rutten that he is giving the hand of his daughter Elisabetta to a foreign Prince whose arrival is expected soon. 
Two young men, Hartman and Spark are joined in their jovial discussion in front of a tavern by their melancholic friend Fantasio, who is bored and wishes to enter a kind of dream world. The funeral procession of the recently deceased court jester Saint Jean passes by at the opportune moment, which allows Fantasio to strike up a conversation with one of the gravediggers, who urges Fantasio to apply at the King for the vacated position of court jester. Fantasio accepts the advice. 
In the tavern, Marinoni, the Prince’s aide-de-camp, informs the Prince of the news he has collected about the unknown Elisabetta. The Prince exchanges his clothes and his role with Marinoni so he can better observe Elisabetta without her learning his true identity, trusting he can woo the girl. 
In the King’s palace, Fantasio, dressed as the jester, spies Elisabetta from behind a bush, and hears her tell her Tutor how unhappy she is because of her politically arranged 
marriage. The Tutor exits and Elisabetta discovers Fantasio. The two start talking. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of the King, the Prince (dressed as a colonel), and Marinoni, dressed as the Prince. The girl dislikes the fake Prince and leaves. The real Prince follows her, but he too is unable to gain the girl’s graces. 
In the palace, as Elisabetta is preparing for her wedding, the King asks her if she indeed wishes to wed, and confesses that he is not enthralled by the idea of the girl marrying the  (disguised) Prince, not to mention the (disguised) aide-de-camp. Fantasio, who has been hiding behind the curtain, steps forward after the King leaves and admits to Elisabetta that he knows why she is sad. He quickly hides again when the upset Tutor enters to tell Elisabetta the truth about her disguised fiancé and his aide-de-camp. They are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Rutten, who recounts the following incident: someone removed the wig from the Prince’s head while he was on his way to the palace on horseback. When it turns out that this someone was Fantasio, the King had him thrown in prison. 
Elisabetta and her Tutor visit Fantasio in the prison, and he reveals his secret: he is a simple, penniless citizen who tried to find respite from his troubles behind the jester’s mask. The news announced by Flamel the page can be heard: the Prince is leaving without getting married, and he has declared war on the King. Elisabetta and Fantasio are left alone. The Princess is relieved to hear the news and feels drawn to Fantasio, who decides to give up playing the role of jester. The girl frees Fantasio and asks him to return to the palace and assume the role of jester once more: she would like to see him as she got to know him and hear his words full of fantasy and dreams. 

Fortunio
Andrea, the jealous notary bombards his wife Giacometta with questions after finding out she had entertained a male visitor. Although the woman denies it, her lover Clavaroche emerges from his hiding place in the closet after her husband leaves. The man is of the opinion that the solution to such difficult situations is to employ a “chandelier” who will help hide their romantic rendezvous.

Landry, the student working at the notary’s offices, informs his friends Guglielmo and Fortunio of the mysterious man who has visited Giacometta in secret. It turns out Fortunio is in love with Giacometta.

In their garden, Giacometta is talking to the gardener Pietro and waiting for him to leave so she can ask Maddalena, the servant girl, who the three young men in the notary’s offices are. She wants to know if any would be suitable for playing the “chandelier” role. Maddalena tells her that the gentle Fortunio is assumed to be in love with Giacometta. The servant girl then sings the love song that she had heard from the boy himself, which is clear proof of the love he feels for the woman of the house. Giacometta is now sure that Fortunio will be right for the job. 

We find ourselves in the dining room of the notary’s house, with the table set for dinner. Landry and Guglielmo know that Fortunio has received an invitation, and they jest that he is always at the notary’s house and follows his wife around.

Clavaroche and Giacometta enter the dining room. Clavaroche, who has won the woman’s favour, laughingly asks Giacometta how she managed to convince Fortunio to play the part of “chandelier”. That is when Andrea and Fortunio enter. Clavaroche, who does not yet know the boy, introduces himself, after which the notary sings a pitiful little song that he had composed for their wedding, and he and Giacometta ask Fortunio to sing a song as well. Giacometta is entranced by the lyrics to Fortunio’s song, and she is barely able to conceal the fact that she is starting to have feelings for the boy. Clavaroche is angered by Giacometta’s interest in Fortunio. He calls upon Giacometta to send the boy away and get rid of the “chandelier” who has now become unnecessary since he and the notary have become friends. Fortunio, hiding behind a curtain, hears the entire conversation. When  Giacometta is left alone, Fortunio appears from behind the curtain, professes his love as well as his despair that the woman had merely used him as a tool. Giacometta is unsettled by Fortunio’s words and she tells the young man that she had never wanted to hurt him. The love that blooms between them now takes the form of a gentle kiss. Fortunio bids farewell to Giacometta, who is left holding the lyrics to Fortunio’s love song to her chest. From outside, we hear the tipsy sound of the notary as he again sings the unpleasant song he had written for their wedding