Oscar hopeful Haneke's Mozart opera debuts in Madrid

Michael Haneke's latest project, a staging of Mozart opera "Cosi Fan Tutte", premieres at Madrid's Teatro Real on Saturday, a day before the Oscar ceremony in Los Angeles where his most recent film "Amour" is up for five awards. The Madrid show is his second opera project after his highly-praised operatic debut with "Don Giovanni" in Paris in 2007 -- and the 69-year-old said it would be his last. "This will probably be the last opera that I stage. I want to return to writing screenplays, to my profession, cinema," he told reporters on the eve of a dress rehearsal of "Cosi Fan Tutte" held Thursday for invited guests. In Haneke's take some actors appear in period costumes while others wear contemporary clothes and talk on mobile telephones, all in the same scene. "Trying to reproduce pure historical reality is an illusion. We don't know exactly how opera was at the end of the 18th century. We only have images from the last 70 or 80 years. We have a duty to transpose the work to the present," he said. The Austrian filmmaker will not be present for the premiere of "Cosi Fan Tutte" in Madrid as he will be making his way to Los Angeles for the Oscars. He took to the stage during Thursday's dress rehearsal at the urging of his cast. "Amour", Haneke's film about an ageing couple that won the Palme d'Or at Cannes last year, is nominated for Oscars in the best film, director, actress, script and foreign film categories. "I would like to win them all. I would hope to win at least one -- any of them. I am crossing my fingers," Haneke said. "I am more nervous when I make movies than when I make an opera. And today even more so, before the Oscars." The movie, staring veteran French actors Jean-Louis Trintignant and Emmanuelle Riva, won the Golden Globe award for best foreign film last month. In "Cosi Fan Tutte" Haneke uses bright lights for the scenes of happy moments between the lovers and darkness for scenes of manipulation. British baritone William Shimell plays the part of the cynical Don Alfonso who tries to convince two young officers that their fiancees, Dorabella played by German soprano Anett Fritsh and Fiordiligi played by Italian mezzo soprano Paola Gardina, could fall prey to the advances of another man. Written by a depressed Mozart when he was having love pains of his own, "Cosi Fan Tutte" is one of the composer's most challenging operas to stage. "With Mozart you are condemned to fail. The question is on what level," said Haneke, considered one of the greatest and most uncompromising living filmmakers. "Cosi Fan Tutte" will run at the Teatro Real until March 17.