What You Need to Know About
COSÌ FAN TUTTE at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Not much is fair in love and war, as two courting couples discover in Mozart’s sophisticated battle of the sexes.
Starring Ana María Martínez, Marianne Crebassa,
Elena Tsallagova, Andrew Stenson,
Joshua Hopkins, and Alessandro Corbelli
Seven performances February 17 – March 16
Subtitled “The School for Lovers,” this beloved and bittersweet comedy is a probing look into romantic relationships, for better and worse, revealed through the genius of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his brilliant librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte.
- Così fan tutte is sophisticated and thought-provoking…and also cheeky and slapstick. It’ll make you laugh and, at times, wince, remembering your own youthful amorous follies. It underscores how what lovers say and how they act often contradicts their true feelings.
- The music will move you to tears (the farewell trio “Soave sia il vento” ) and astonish you with its breathtaking leaps and runs (the formidable aria “Come scoglio”).
- Mozart was a groundbreaker in comic opera, composing music to convey the psychological underpinnings of the stories he set, to go far beyond mere amusement.
- The overture lets you know what you’re in for. It starts out serious and stately — then gets very animated, with melodies scurrying playfully up and down. The flirty cat-and-mouse music lets you know you’re in for a romp. Yet it’s more complex and nuanced than it appears.
- The story: Two military officers, Guglielmo (Joshua Hopkins) and Ferrando (Andrew Stenson), gloat that their fiancées — the sisters Fiordiligi (Ana María Martínez) and Dorabella (Marianne Crebassa), respectively — are eternally faithful. A cynical philosopher, Don Alfonso (Alessando Corbelli), challenges their claim, declaring that women are fickle and not to be trusted. He bets the gents that when put to the test, the ladies’ affections will stray. Pretending to be summoned to war, Ferrando and Guglielmo return on the QT, disguised as mustachioed Albanians. Lamenting over their lovers’ absence, Dorabella and Fiordiligi do their best to remain faithful to their men, but each eventually succumbs to the newcomers’ charms, encouraged by their mischievous maid, Despina (Elena Tsallagova/debut). Revealing their true identities, Ferrando and Guglielmo confront the sisters about their infidelity. The original couples reunite, though happily or not so much remains to be seen.
- Così is the third of Mozart’s three extraordinary collaborations with Da Ponte, preceded by The Marriage of Figaro (1786) and Don Giovanni (1787). All three of these operas use impersonation to explore illusion and reality and the tensions between social and emotional truth.
- Also, it may be partially autobiographical. Before Mozart married Constanze, he’d been passionately in love with her sister; was he working through some lingering conflicts of affection?
- It’s Mozart’s penultimate opera, written in 1790, before his grand finale, The Magic Flute.
- Così has been seen at Lyric seven times previously since 1959, most recently in the 2006/07 season, when the current production was originally seen here.
- The production being presented at Lyric is set in Monte Carlo on the eve of World War I. James Gaffigan (debut) conducts the “splendid production” (Chicago Tribune) originally directed by John Cox and designed by Robert Perdziola. The revival director is Bruno Ravella (directorial debut). Lighting design is by Chris Maravich. Michael Black is chorus master.
- Seven performances including two matinees Saturday, February 17 through Friday, March 16 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago.
- Performances start promptly at 7:30pm and 2pm. Doors open to the Rice Grand Foyer and Opera Club two hours before curtain.
- 30-minute preview talk about the opera before every performance — Come to the theater an hour before the curtain rises for a free pre-opera talk about the composer, the themes within the music and story, and overall production.
- Così fan tutte lasts about 3 hours 30 minutes, including a 30-minute intermission.
- Sung in Italian with projected English translations above the stage.
The opening-night performance of Così fan tutte can be heard live locally on 98.7WFMT and globally on wfmt.com, beginning at 7:15pm on Saturday, February 17.
For more information and to order tickets, visit lyricopera.org/cosi or call 312-827-5600.