SAN FRANCISO OPERA
SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- SF Opera Director Michael Cavanaugh's contemporary version of MOZART's comic opera COSI FAN TUTTE, which originally premiered in Vienna on January 20, 1790, under its full name COSI FAN TUTTE, OSSIA LA SCULA DOGLI AMANTI, and will be presented at the S.F. Opera War Memorial Building, From November 21 to December 3, is delightful to our ears and to our eyes.
On its opening night, (which was also streamed live), the direction of conductor Henrik Nànàsi injected so much vitality into each one of the instruments of the S.F. Opera Orchestra, that Mozart's music sounded lovely. As for the singers representing the characters from the opera, we can say that every one of them has good quality in their tones and, technically, is capable to master the difficult Mozart's arias, some of which demand singing very fast rows of intervals which leap from a very high tome to a very low tone and back to the high tome, which for singers is very difficult to control. And we also need to mention that on opening, night, the voices of S.F. Opera chorus sounded marvelous.
Visually, and because of its variety of costumes and creative sets, the production was colorfull. Its sets were many. Among them: the interior of a fencing gym, the exterior of the 1930 American country club with short pillared veranda overlooking the Sea, and different rooms interiors, of the sisters elegantly furnished mansion. Just by looking at their rooms and their decor, is enough for us to determine the elite class of this two Italian sisters: Fiordiligi (Nicole Cabel) and Dorabella (Irene Roberts). The two very close sisters are basically good and sensitive, but also naive, so they can easily be fooled. They are engaged to two soldiers: Ferrando (Ben Bliss) and Guglielmo (John Brancy) during the time of an undetermined war in an undetermined country.
The other two important characters in this opera are Despina (Nicole Heaston) the girls' cunning maid, which gave a realistic performance on opening night, and Don Alonso, (Ferrucio Furnatello) also cunning, and well represented, who is the middle-age fence instructor of the two soldiers. Apparently and in his younger years, his military experience had given him what today could be called a "machista" or "sexist" conviction that all (tuti) females (fan) are the same, because women have "something" (Cosi, in Italian) which is not defined in the opera, but may refer to voluptuousness or sensuality. So, Don Alonso informs the men that it is very easy for any man to arouse a woman's "sensual instinct." and that after their instinct is aroused, a woman loses control of her emotions and when she does, no woman could remain faithful.
Don Alonso's conviction bothers Ferrando and Guglielmo, who being young, inexperience and deeply in love with their future brides, are convinced that neither Dorablella of Fiordiligy's "something" could ever be "aroused" by any other man. and the girls become unfaithful to hem. So, to demonstrate how wrong the men are, Don Alonso, bets them 50 sequins, and starts plotting a way to demonstrate them that his theory is correct. What happens after he ask the soldiers to follow his instructions , and pays Despina, to help him by revealing his plan to her, is the plot of the two-act opera, which during the 18th century was considered by critics "too vulgar, risqué and immoral."
And on its opening night, the silly plot of "Cosi Fan Tuti," which is better understood by the audience when the other part of its title, Ossia La Scula Dogly Amanti," which may be translated as Also the school for lovers" is added, moved seamlessly until the end of Act I.
At the beginning of Act II,, however, when the two Albanian men that were introduced to the sisters by Don Alonzo, tried to commit suicide, the over acting of the two male singers, and girls' response to the tragedy, converted, for a few minutes, the comedy into a farce, The story lost its veracity. But after the four lovers learned their lesson, which was the libretto's premise in playwright Lorezo Da Ponte, libretto, the production recovered its veracity and Cosi Fan Tutte ended as masterfully , as it had started.
TICKETS AVAILABLE AT https://sfopera.com and by calling (415) 864-3330