Considered the one and only Don Quichotte, the Italian singer is currently in Australia to bring his signature role to our shores for the first time ever with Opera Australia.
“Ferruccio Furlanetto is the most wonderful Don Quichotte you could ever hope to see or hear,” Artistic Director of Opera Australia, Lyndon Terracini, said.
“He was born to play this role and we are thrilled that he is performing it in Melbourne.”
Having already portrayed the troubled comic hero in Jules Massenet’s Don Quichotte at the Sydney Opera House in March, Mr Furlanetto will perform the quirky opera among a stellar cast at the Melbourne Arts Centre from May 3 to 12.
At the age of 68, the gifted singer from Sacile, in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, is one of opera’s biggest stars and is sought after worldwide, from the Metropolitan Opera to Milan’s prestigious Teatro alla Scala, to perform iconic operatic works.
Not just an incredibly talented performer, he was named by Italy as an Honorary Ambassador to the United Nations for his humanitarian activities.
While Don Quichotte is a charming opera that touches the heart, it’s not often performed and it takes a special artist to make you fall in love with the title role.
Mr Furlanetto takes the whimsies of the famous knight-errant and paints an earnest and endearing portrait of a hero like the knights of old, pursuing the dreams the world forgot.
“Don Quichotte is by far at this stage of my career my favourite character,” the compelling performer said.
“This component of goodness and purity is unique and it’s such a privilege to perform it.”
Despite having played the role of Don Quichotte myriad times since 2002, Mr Furlanetto explained that it still doesn’t come naturally to him.
“I have performed this particular production twice in San Diego in 2009 and 2014, and two years ago in Chicago, so it’s nothing new,” he said.
“But the wonderful thing about this character is that every time you find something that you didn’t think of the time before and there is always space for new ideas and inventions or interpretations.”
Mr Furlanetto claimed he doesn’t have a specific ritual to get into character for Don Quichotte, aside from getting into his makeup and costume.
“Once you’re dressed like him, voilà, everything is done,” he laughed.
“You need to be the first one to believe what you see in the mirror.”
This is the third time in three years that Mr Furlanetto has travelled to Australia to sing, and our nation holds a special place in his heart.
“First of all, I have a lovely friendship with Lyndon Terracini,” he said.
“He is one of the few directors who have courage. Don Quichotte is not done often because artistic directors don’t have the courage to present it.”
Mr Furlanetto also takes any chance he can to come to Australia to visit his son, who lives in Perth.
In fact, the talented artist made the most of the two-week break between performing in Sydney and Melbourne to see him.
“This continent is absolutely magnificent and I’m very glad my son has chosen to live here,” he said.
“It’s a special corner of the planet - a big corner, but very special.”
Mr Furlanetto hopes that Melburnians take the opportunity to “come and experience for three hours what a human can be when you forget about politics and careers”.
“There is a message of goodness, of poetry, of purity,” he said.
“The privilege of an artist is to be the filter between this masterpiece and the audience.”
The charismatic operatic star concluded by sending an open invitation to all:
“Come and live through the music and the text. If you really do that properly, as if you were part of the opera, I promise you will be so emotionally touched that you will never forget it.”