Così fan tutte

OA Cosi fan TutteFollowing acclaimed productions of Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, Sir David McVicar returns to deliver the final instalment of the Da Ponte trilogy, as Opera Australia presents Così fan tutte at the Sydney Opera House from 19 July 2016.

“Così fan tutte!” (All women are the same!); so believes the cynical old philosopher Don Alfonso and his reckless young friends, the officers Guglielmo and Ferrando agree to put his theory to the test, participating in an elaborate charade, attempting the seduction of each other’s fiancées, the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella.

The four young people soon discover more about each other, themselves and life itself than any of them have bargained for. Absurd? Yes, but Mozart’s luminous music takes the absurd and makes it sublime. Così fan tutte is about testing fidelity in an intriguing story set to music of impossible beauty.

Mozart’s bitter-sweet romantic comedy was his final collaboration with the greatest of his librettists, Lorenzo Da Ponte, following the triumphant successes of The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. Premiered in 1790, just one year before Mozart’s death, it was also a huge hit; but the sudden death of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II curtailed performances and Mozart’s own death the following winter put paid to any immediate revivals.

It was not until the early 20th century, with notable productions in Vienna under the direction of Gustav Mahler and at Glyndebourne in 1934, that the public began once again to appreciate a work, dismissed in the 19th century as immoral, disgraceful or even worthless.

“The questions the opera poses to an audience are today even greater and possibly more disturbing,” says Director Sir David McVicar. “Often played in the past as an all-out farce, the subtle mix of sexual politics, heartbreak, loss and pain that are inherent in the final masterpiece of Mozart and Da Ponte are more relevant today than ever before.”

“This new production sets this most troubling and ambiguous of operatic comedies in the dying days of a Europe about to lose itself in the carnage of the First World War. The ravishing costumes of the early 1900’s are bathed in the late summer light of an age of innocence and elegance on the brink of being shattered, as the lives of the four lovers in the comedy ultimately are.”

Jonathan Darlington returns to conduct a cast of Opera Australia’s finest talents, along with one of the world’s leading tenors Charles Castronovo, who makes his Australian debut. Two of Australia’s most exciting female opera singers – Nicole Car and Taryn Fiebig performed in both Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro, complete the trilogy with performances in Così fan tutte.

With set and costume designed by Mortiz Junge, the brains behind the incredible costumes of Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci at the Metropolitan Opera, and both set and costumes of The Tempest at The Royal Opera, Così fan tutte will transport its audience to another time.

Conductor: Jonathan Darlington Director: David McVicar Featuring: Richard Anderson, Nicole Car, Anna Dowsley, Taryn Fiebig, Andrew Jones, David Portillo, Opera Australia Chorus, Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra Set & Costume Designer: Moritz Junge Lighting Designer: David Finn Assistant Director: Andy Morton

Così fan tutte
Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point
Season: 19 July – 13 August 2016

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Image: Courtesy of Opera Australia