COSÌ FAN TUTTE
by Wolfgang Mozart • November 7, 10, 13, and 15, 2015
“Britain’s Favorite Baritone,” Sir Thomas Allen, brings his own LARGER THAN LIFE story to Mozart’s COSÌ FAN TUTTE: he was the real-life inspiration for “Billy Elliot,” and he not only directs, but stars as the philosopher Don Alfonso in this charming production set in the Italian seaside. But let’s not forget the cast that is as talented as they are attractive, in this “School for Lovers,” and Mozart’s brilliant score, all coming together for a sublime opera experience. Antony Walker conducts.
• Sung in the original Italian with projected English titles
• All performances at the Benedum Center
► See more COSÌ FAN TUTTE videos at our YouTube channel.
Previews and Reviews
PostGazette.com "Pittsburgh Opera brings multi-faceted characters to life"
TribLIVE.com "Pittsburgh Opera's 'Cosi Fan Tutte' delights"
Pittsburgh In The Round "patronage is highly recommended"
TribLIVE.com (preview with Sir Thomas Allen) "Actor does double duty as director of Pittsburgh Opera's Mozart production"
PostGazette.com (preview with Sir Thomas Allen) "Sir Thomas Allen dons two hats"
Pittsburgh Owl Scribe (preview) "Pittsburgh Opera continues its 77th season with a Mozart favorite"
Mt. Lebanon Magazine (feature on Sari Gruber) "Women are like that"
Thanks to our sponsors and partners
Season Sponsor: PNC
Season Media Sponsor: WQED-FM
Supported in part by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
Supported in part by Allegheny Regional Asset District
Proud member of Opera America
Official Chocolatier: Sarris Candies
Film Series Partner: Pittsburgh Filmmakers
The Così fan tutte Cast
The Così fan tutte Creative Team
Conductor Antony Walker
Stage Director Sir Thomas Allen +
Set Designer John Conklin
Costume Designer Gail Buckley
Lighting Designer Marcus Dilliard
Assistant Conductor Glenn Lewis
Chorus Master Mark Trawka
Associate Coach/Pianist James Lesniak
Hair & Makeup Designer James Geier
Assistant Director Jennifer Williams *
+ Pittsburgh Opera debut
* Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist
** Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alumni
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
- Study Guide for COSÌ FAN TUTTE (PDF), created by our Education department
- Run time for COSÌ FAN TUTTE: 2 hours, 50 minutes, including 1 intermission
- Understand Every Word: Supertitles shown at all performances
- Parking Downtown: get real-time parking availability
Two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, boast about the beauty and virtue of their girlfriends, the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Their older friend, the cynical Don Alfonso, declares that a woman’s constancy is like the phoenix—everyone talks about it but no one has ever seen it. He proposes a wager: if they’ll give him one day and do everything he asks, he will prove to them that the sisters are unfaithful, like all other women. Amused, the young men agree.
Fiordiligi and Dorabella think of their lovers, imagining that they will soon be married. Alfonso’s plot begins when he arrives with terrible news: the young officers have been called away to their regiment. Ferrando and Guglielmo appear, apparently heartbroken, and the four make tearful farewells.
The sisters’ maid Despina complains about how much work she has to do around the house. Dorabella vents her despair at her lover’s absence. Despina refuses to take her seriously: they should simply find new lovers, since men are unworthy of a woman’s fidelity. Fiordiligi and Dorabella are shocked. Alfonso bribes Despina to assist him, without revealing his plot. Ferrando and Guglielmo enter in disguise as foreigners, and declare their admiration for the ladies, each addressing the other’s girlfriend. The sisters reject their advances, Fiordiligi comparing her constancy to a rock in a storm. The men are confident of winning the bet. Ferrando expresses his love for Dorabella, and the two friends leave.
As the sisters continue to lament the absence of their lovers, the “foreigners” return, pretending to have poisoned themselves in despair over their rejection. Despina and Alfonso go off to fetch help, leaving the two girls to care for the strangers. Despina reappears, disguised as a doctor, and pretends to treat the patients. When Ferrando and Guglielmo request kisses in order to fully recover, the sisters again reject them, but it is clear they’re beginning to show interest in the strangers.
Despina lectures her mistresses on how to handle men and the sisters agree that there can be no harm in a little flirtation. They decide on their partners, each picking the other’s suitor. Guglielmo, flirting with Dorabella, succeeds, but Ferrando has less luck with Fiordiligi. When he leaves, though, she struggles with her emotions.
Ferrando is certain that they have won the wager. Guglielmo is happy to hear that Fiordiligi has been faithful to him, but when he shows his friend the portrait that Dorabella gave him, Ferrando is furious. Guglielmo, adopting Alfonso’s philosophy, blames it on the women. He asks Alfonso to pay him his half of the winnings, but Alfonso reminds him that the day is not yet over.
Fiordiligi reproaches her sister for her behavior, but Dorabella replies that love is a thief who rewards those who obey him. Alone, Fiordiligi decides to join Guglielmo at the front, when suddenly Ferrando appears. He tries one last time to seduce her and succeeds.
Guglielmo is furious, but Alfonso again declares that this is the way women are. A man who has been deceived can blame only himself.
The sisters have agreed to marry the “foreigners.” Everything is ready and Alfonso arrives with the notary—Despina in another disguise. As Fiordiligi and Dorabella sign the contract, military music announces the return of their former lovers. In panic, they hide their intended husbands, who return as their real selves, first pretending surprise at their reception, then, when they discover the marriage contract, blaming the girls and threatening revenge. Finally, the men reveal their disguised identities and Fiordiligi and Dorabella ask forgiveness. Alfonso bids the lovers learn their lesson.
- Courtesy of Opera News, freely edited