"Amour" director Michael Haneke chose to come to Los Angeles for the Academy Awards this weekend rather than attend the premiere of his new production of Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" in Madrid. He chose wisely: "Amour" won the prize for foreign-language film on Sunday, providing the Austrian auteur with his first Oscar statuette.
To the attendees of the opera, Haneke issued a statement via the Teatro Real Madrid, apologizing for his absence at Saturday's premiere.
"If you enjoy [the opera], cross your fingers for me for the Oscars. If you don't, please cross them anyway!," he wrote. The complete English-language translation of his letter is below.
"Amour" was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, director, actress (Emmanuelle Riva), screenplay and foreign-language film. Its only win was the foreign-language Oscar, it lost in the other categories.
Haneke was in town Saturday for the Independent Spirit Awards, where "Amour" also won the foreign-film prize. He skipped France's Cesar Awards on Friday, where "Amour" swept the major categories, including picture, director, screenplay, actor (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and actress (Riva).
"Cosi" debuted on Saturday in Madrid. Haneke directed the staging, which is a co-production between the Teatro Real and La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels. The opera is scheduled to run in Madrid through March 17.
You can view scenes from the opera, plus a press conference with Haneke, here.
Haneke's full letter to the opera audience:
Dear attendees to the premiere:
I feel an obligation to express my apologies to you, even if only by means of this simple leaflet.
As some of you may have read in the press, the Oscars ceremony will take place tomorrow, 24th of February, in Los Angeles. I have the honour to have been nominated in five categories, and therefore I cannot miss such an important event for film makers. This is the reason why I had to fly to Los Angeles immediately after the general rehearsal. When we determined the date for the premiere of Così fan tutte, we did not expect these nominations. Therefore I hope I can count on your understanding for not being able to attend the premiere and receive personally your expressions of approval or disapproval.
I wish you an exciting evening!
If you enjoy it, cross your fingers for me for the Oscars. If you don't, please cross them anyway!
Madrid, 23rd of February 2013