Opera Queensland gets playful with Mozart’s Così fan tutte

Opera-Queensland-Mozart-Cosi-fan-tutteMozart’s provocative opera, Così fan tutte will burst to life on the stage of the QPAC Playhouse when Opera Queensland presents the third and final instalment of the Mozart – Da Ponte trilogy from 10 to 26 August 2023.

Greek Maestra Zoe Zeniodi returns to Brisbane to lead the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, the cast of six and a chorus of eight in the production directed by Opera Queensland CEO & Artistic Director Patrick Nolan.

Mr Nolan said Così fan tutte presented an opportunity to experience opera at its best through the unique relationship between the music of Mozart and libretti of Lorenzo Da Ponte. “For our audiences, it completes the Mozart – Da Ponte trilogy with Marriage of Figaro presented in 2021 and Don Giovanni in 2018,” he said.

“In Così fan tutte, the final work of the trilogy, we can see the genius in Mozart and Da Ponte’s plotting as it becomes apparent that there are character types that resonate throughout the trilogy. The Count in Figaro, becomes Don Giovanni in Don G and Don Alfonso in Così,” said Mr Nolan.

Così fan tutte questions the idea of romantic love in all its many guises. Is it an illusion or the source of all our happiness?

Audiences will meet four young lovers on holiday, the two men being soldiers on leave. Enter the older Don Alfonso who has a cold and dispassionate view of what love is.

He suggests to the men that the women would be sure to take other lovers if they had to return to war. The men are offended by such an idea but agree to test his theory, returning in disguise to attempt to seduce the other’s partner.

Così fan tutte features a cast of leading Australian singers, comprised of Samantha Clarke as Fiorgiligi, Anna Dowsley as Dorabella, Jeremy Kleeman as Guglielmo and Brenton Spiteri as Ferrando, three of whom are returning from seasons in London to be a part of the quartet of young lovers.

Opera Queensland favourites, Leanne Kenneally and Shaun Brown round out the sextet, bringing their experience to the roles of Despina and Don Alfonso.

“The history of literature and art is full of questions about fidelity and the way in which we choose to live our lives with a single partner, or not, and the impact this has on our destiny,” said Mr Nolan.

“The gift of an opera like this is that we can dive deep into the psychology and complexity of what it means to commit long-term to another person.”

“The title, which translates to ‘they (women) are all like that”, is a launchpad to a far more nuanced exploration of the nature of desire and commitment.”

“We are at a point in history where gender and male – female relationships are under the microscope in a very particular way.”

Così fan tutte is a story that allows us to explore those dynamics and politics in a way that is both joyous and also vulnerable and tender.”

“The combination of Mozart’s music and Da Ponte’s words, move us from the ridiculous to the sublime, from the farcical to a reflective, fragile space. It’s the tension between those two states of play that makes it such a fascinating story to tell,” said Mr Nolan.

A tale of what will happen when trust is put on the line, this timeless, comic tale will take a deep dive into relationship dynamics and love – essentially the Mozart version of Married At First Sight!

Conductor: Zoe Zeniodi | Director: Patrick Nolan | Featuring: Samantha Clarke, Anna Dowsley, Jeremy Kleeman, Brenton Spiteri, Leanne Kenneally, Shaun Brown, Queensland Symphony Orchestra | Sets & Costumes: Elizabeth Gadsby | Lighting: Bernie Tan-Hayes | Assistant Director: Laura Hansford | Intimacy Director: Michelle Miall | Chorus Master: Narelle French

Così fan tutte
Playhouse – Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Cultural Precinct, South Bank (Brisbane)
Season: 10 – 26 August 2023
Information and Bookings: www.oq.com.au

Image: Opera Queensland presents Così fan tutte (supplied)