Così fan tutte
W.A. Mozart, libretto Lorenzo DaPonte • Oct. 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 2020
Guglielmo and Ferrando, two dashing, handsome young soldiers, boast of their fiancées’ devotion and unshakable faithfulness. Their friend Don Alfonso, who’s been around the block, is skeptical. He believes all women have fickle, wandering eyes, and bets his friends that as long as they follow his instructions he can prove it. Thus begins Mozart and Da Ponte’s cunning collaboration Così fan tutte.
Blissfully unaware of this scheme, the two ladies – Fiordiligi and Dorabella – chat about love with Despina. Despina, prodded by Don Alfonso, encourages the ladies to play the field.
Guglielmo and Ferrando inform the ladies that they’re being sent off to war. After their alleged departure, Don Alfonso has them impersonate two love-starved strangers who woo each other’s fiancée with all their might.
Will Fiordiligi and Dorabella remain faithful? Or will they succumb to the strangers’ charms? To what comic lengths will Don Alfonso go to win a bet? Will anyone live happily ever after?
Così fan tutte is a delightful romantic comedy, full of surprises and Mozart’s magical melodies.
We invite you to join us for this brand new production of a classic Mozart favorite, conducted by Music Director Antony Walker and directed by Crystal Manich. Sung in Italian with English supertitles.
The Così fan tutte Cast
The Così fan tutte Creative Team
We want you to have the best experience possible at our performances!
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, unabridged