The Overture sets the mood for the opera: bold, happy, quick and crisp, moving forward, exciting, dramatic.
ADEM, the Turkish car mechanic, is alone in the repair shop with Isabella‘s classic Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
He declares his love to the car.
Adem admires Giulietta‘s beauty. He wants to own her.
Cheerfully, Lolek and Soli try to change Adem’s mind. They feel that loving another human being is the most beautiful way of love. Every once in a while they are worried that Adem might notice their affection for each other and they quickly move apart and discuss repairing a car engine in an exaggerated masculine way. Adem insists that Giulietta is his only love and he lists the advantages a car has over a woman. Eventually, Lolek and Soli are convinced. Each to their own, everyone agrees.
Isabella enters. Drago’s mood and behaviour changes instantly and he welcomes her gentlemanly. Isabella ignores Drago’s affection and asks for Adem. Drago makes Isabella compliments and offers her a shot of Sliwowitz (plum brandy). Isabella declines and keeps asking for Adem. Eventually, Adem appears from underneath Giulietta.
Adem and Isabella are having a cheerful flirt. Drago backs out, observes them jealously and utters some sardonic remarks. When Adem and Isabella even start a little dance, Drago withdraws to the office, filled with bitterness and Sliwowitz.
Lolek and Soli enter. Out of the blue, Isabella proposes to Adem and remarks she would “share everything“ with him if he became her husband. For a moment, Adem is horrified but then realizes that this might be the chance to finally own Giulietta.
Isabella gets excited about her detailed visions of “the marriage of the century“. Adems pretends to share her enthusiasm but actually makes fun of her. Lolek and Soli are delighted by Isabella’s fantasies and apparently start dreaming of their own future marriage. They sing the line “ci sposiamo io e te“ to each other (“we will marry, you and I“).
Thunder and lightning. It starts to rain. Accompanied by Balkan brass sounds, DRAGO, boss of the repair shop, expresses his anger about the fact that women always fall for the bad guys. Isabella deserves better. He, Drago, has so much to offer! He is a real gentleman. During the aria Drago drinks slivovitz and has hiccups.
№12 Braccia forti, chiappe sode
Young german student JULIA has entered the workshop with her broken bike, hoping for a repair.
JULIA und ADEM have a very physical flirt peaking in a quickie in Giulietta.
№13 Grazie destino
The quickie must have been really good since JULIA and ADEM immediately have a heartfelt love duet.
№16 Le cipolle, i fagioli
Adem’s mother FATIMA and a lot of peasant relatives (LA FAMIGLIA) from Yozgat, Turkey, have come to the workshop and demand that Adem finally marry. ADEM objects to such interfering with his private life.
FATIMA and LA FAMIGLIA remind Adem of his late father who, until his death, lovingly grew various vegetables to enable his son a happy life. At his deathbed, his last wish was a good wife for Adem.
ADEM refuses to marry his cousin from Yozgat. His mother FATIMA and LA FAMIGLIA are furious.
ISABELLA enters. Adem accepts her marriage proposal in front of the family and cornily professes –
supported by LOLEK and SOLI – the alleged love to his future wife.
Fatima and the family are moved by Adem’s and Isabella’s lover’s oath.
They give in and decide to go back to Turkey.
CENNET, the lesbian cousin from Yozgat, performs a striptease for JULIA. She takes off the chador she always hated and puts on the bib pants. Julia is delighted. Both agree: They are fully self-determined and they are beautiful the way they are.
Isabella describes the plans for her retirement. She wants to buy a villa in Tuscany and enjoy “the evening of her life“ (“la sera della vita“) with her beloved mechanic. Drago has similar dreams but no partner yet. He misses his fishing hut in Montenegro. Isabella and Drago have a little musical argument about whether Tuscany or Montenegro is the better place for retirement.
Julia appears and wants to know: who is this lady? Adem feels caught and gets very nervous. He asks Lolek and Soli for their support. Julia, knowing the truth, plays naive and asks why Adem kissed the other lady on the mouth.
Adem claims the lady was just his granny. It was an old Turkish tradition to kiss dear relatives on the mouth. Particularly his grandmother, close to her demise, would appreciate every single kiss. Julia, Cennet and Drago enjoy Adem’s despair. Julia sarcastically praises Adem’s honesty and kisses him emphatically. In the same moment Isabella returns from the office. Now she wants to know: who is this lady? Once again Adem, supported by Lolek and Soli, explains the alleged old traditions (“vecchie tradizioni“) and assures Isabella the lady was simply his young cousin who needed some tuition in kissing. Isabella is amused and doesn’t suspect any wrongdoing.
Julia enters center stage and announces a novelty: she found her Turkish “better half“ in the workshop. The men think she means Adem. Drago bursts with Schadenfreude. Adem fears the moment of truth. Everyone’s surprised when Julia introduces her new love: Cennet.
The situation is serious. Adem laments his suffering to Giulietta. He can’t let Julia go away like this. But saving his love would mean losing Giulietta. Choosing Giulietta and marrying Isabella on the other hand would mean losing Julia.
Julia returns to get her bike. Adem desperately tries to stop her and win back her heart.
Unnoticed by both, Isabella enters and observes the scene.
Adem affirms his love for Julia (Reprise “Grazie destino“) and talks ugly about Isabella. He never loved her and the marriage was just a joke. Isabella falls in grief.
Julia does not change her mind and exits, ringing the bike bell one last time.
Adem has a moment of complete despair, then runs after her.
Isabella feels very week and has lost all her joie de vivre. Her dreams have been shattered. Drago enters and rushes to her aid. Isabella feels the end has come and sinks into Drago’s arms, dying. Drago, desperate, confesses his love to her. Isabella dies.
ISABELLA – Regina Schörg
JULIA – Leah Manning (№20), Andreja Zidaric (№24a, №24b, №25)
FATIMA/CENNET – Melanie Jäger
ADEM – Luigi Lambrusco
LOLEK – Stefan Bleiberschnig
SOLI – Johannes Glück
DRAGO – Ivo Sreća
Orchestration and musical direction: Johannes Glück
“Kost-Probe”, a workshop reading at MuTh, February 25, 2018
ISABELLA / LA FAMIGLIA – Regina Schörg
JULIA / FATIMA – Melanie Jäger
ADEM – Thomas Weinhappel
LOLEK / LA FAMIGLIA – Gernot Heinrich
SOLI / LA FAMIGLIA – Gebhard Heegmann
Lisa Gonnella, piano
Musical director / conductor: Alexander Jost
Producer: Otto Jankovich