Metropolitan Opera Cosi Fan Tutte
It is commonly believed that is was the Emperor himself, Joseph III that ordered Mozart to compose such an opera. It is also rumored that Antonio Selieri, one of Mozart’s contemporaries attempted to compose the libretto but could never finish the project. The title of the opera literally translated into “Thus do they all” in which “they” refers to women, and so the meaning becomes, “women are like that”. This is clarified in a number performed by three men right before the play ends. This line has been used in one of the other operas of the duo, “Le nozze di Figaro” as well.
The opera was first tried out on stage in Vienna in 1790. The original setting was placed by Mozart himself. The opera had only been staged five times that all forms of entertainment were put to a stop because the Emperor Joseph II had died. The country went into a period of mourning. It was much later in the year that the opera was performed twice again. After three more performance, which took place in the same year, the play was never to return to Vienna while Mozart was still alive. The opera was brought to Britain for the first time in 1811 where it was performed in London at “King’s Theatre”. It came to the United States much later in 1922 where it opened at the “Metropolitan Opera”.
An interesting story that came out of the earlier productions is that Mozart was not too fond of Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, who was the prima donna of his show. She was believed to be an arrogant mistress of Ponte and it is believed that the character of Fiordiligi was created especially for her. While she performed, she would look down when the notes were low and up when she would belt the high notes. Out of vengeance, Mozart composed her showpiece in such a way that it would constantly oscillate between high notes to low notes so that her head would constantly move and make her look like a fool.
During the time that the opera was composed, the subject matter was considered suitable to be staged in Vienna, not offending their people. But as the 19th
century approach, it started to be sidetracked as a more risqué opera, not to be often played. But after World War II, it regained its initial position in the world of opera. Today, it remains amongst the most often performed operas of all time.
The opera begins with two people Guglielmo and Ferrando going on about how their fiancés will always been faithful to them. While they are talking, Don Alfonso overhears the conversation and decides to put a wager on the claim, to test its validity. He wants to prove that the women in their life are fickle and can be moved easily. The wager is then decided and the two men decided to disguise themselves and attempt to seduce each other’s lovers. The scene then shifts to the two women in question as they go on about how amazing their men are. Another character, Alfonso enters the scene and informs them that the two men have been called off to war. They arrive and say their goodbyes to the women and sail off to sea. Alfonso guarantees that those women will prove unfaithful.
Despina, the women’s maid arrives to see what the matter is and finds them in distress of being alone. She mocks their despair and suggests that they move on to new lovers as their old ones won’t be coming back since men cannot be trusted to be honest of faithful. In the meantime, Alfonso and Despina arrive at a mutual understanding that would help him win the bet. Chaos and confusion then ensues. The storyline as well as the singing has impressed people over the years. Those interested in classics can buy cheap Cosi Fan Tutte tickets