Do we all behave this way?

As you might (or might not) have guessed from the title, today I’d like to talk about Mozart’s wonderful opera «Cosi fan tutte» or «Thus Do They All» in English. 
 Photo by Deutsche Grammophon

This piece is not as popular among theatres as «Don Giovanni» or «Le nozze di Figaro» but still it’s staged quite often. The music is not less amazing than in other Mozart’s operas, although many people think the libretto is rather superficial…maybe not the libretto but the story itself: two young men decide to test their lovers on fidelity and they fail. I personally consider it’s a real romcom among operas. Yeah, the plot is simple but it teaches us basic vital things about love. It shouldn’t be taken so serious cause it’s a love story of four teenagers, I would say. They are all about 15 or something…of course, they are reckless and sometimes silly:). Were you a different person at your teenage years???))). I doubt that:). For me this opera is like an episode of «Friends», all these talks about men and women, relationships between them, understanding each other…oh! So again Mozart and Da Ponte were ahead of their time!
In total I’ve watched four productions of this opera which is kind of a record for me! But I’ll share my thoughts with you about three of them (as the only one is not good and I don’t wanna chat about bad things in my blog:)). Each of these versions tells the story from its own angle that nevertheless corresponds to Da Ponte’s libretto.

Cosi Fan Tutte: Metropolitan Opera 2014
Title roles: Susanna Phillips (Fiordiligi), Isabel Leonard (Dorabella), Danielle de Niese (Despina), Matthew Polenzani (Ferrando), Rodion Pogossov (Guglielmo), Maurizio Muraro (Don Alfonso).
 Photo by Metropolitan Opera
The director Lesley Koenig has staged for us a very classic comedy which, I think, would amuse Mozart and Da Ponte! The cast is having the time of their life during the performance! I have to say all the singers are good at comedy and they don’t go too far that it would look fake.
All the girls definitely rock here! The breakthrough of the day is Susanna Phillips who plays a very sincere and loving Fiordiligi. Danielle’s Despina is adorable and sneaky! Isabel is perfect for Dorabella and she makes her heroine look thoughtful and understandable in this situation.
The male characters are rather naive here but have a forgiving nature. Don Alfonso is an old man who wants to play them for a fool just for fun! (Oh! These young people!).  But he is a kind one too:).
All in all, it’s a pure comedy about relationships! The sets and costumes are great! Though it’s a classic production, it’s not boring at all!!! If you wanna see a light Mozart piece, choose this!
Cosi Fan Tutte: Salzburg Festival 2009
Title roles: Miah Persson (Fiordiligi), Topi Lehtipuu (Ferrando), Florian Boesch (Guglielmo), Isabel Leonard (Dorabella), Patricia Petibon (Despina), Bo Skovhus (Don Alfonso).
The stage director, Claus Guth, decided that the action would take place in the 21st century. The characters wear bright dresses, black suits and jeans. When the guys turn into Arabs, they don’t stick moustaches or beards to their faces, they just dress up in white suits instead of black ones. And young men use mud to disguise themselves (that’s a weird thing!). The main brain centre of the operation, Don Alfonso, sometimes hypnotizes his young fellows to make it work for him.
The whole cast act and sing very well. In this production the pairs look very believable as the singers are nearly at the same age and their appearances match each other.
Patricia Petibon is a funny and experienced Despina and she could have made this role her own. The only questionable interpretation for me is Don Alfonso cause in this version he is sort of a villain (at least he looks this way!). Despite the bitter truth he tries to say, for me he is not a bad guy, he probably had such experience in his life that made him know women better (and not in a good way). Don Alfonso just teaches a good (but severe) lesson for the couples and it’s him who brings the desperate lovers together at the end. Bo Skovhus is insidious Don Alfonso who wants to win the bet and money!
But anyway this is a very good modern production: the personages are still the same but presented in a modern way, everything looks very natural. This variant of «Cosi fan tutte» is a melodrama, it has some funny moments but in general the emphasis here is on infidelity.

Cosi Fan Tutte: Glyndebourne Festival 2006
Title roles: Miah Persson (Fiordiligi), Topi Lehtipuu (Ferrando), Luca Pisaroni (Guglielmo), Anke Vondung (Dorabella), Ainhoa Garmendia (Despina), Nicolas Rivenq (Don Alfonso).
Nicholas Hytner presented his version of this story in 2006 and some critics described it as «shockingly traditional»! They are right, indeed! Even though heroes wear period clothes but they act like our contemporaries.
The main difference of this «Cosi» from the previous interpretations is that the male cast acts more here. I mean that even when they imitate their «arabian» love, they still think as Ferrando and Guglielmo. You see it in their eyes. For example, when Guglielmo seduces Dorabella you can notice he is not glad that she gives up so quickly and after that it’s hard for him to tell the truth to his friend. And I love it!!! It makes this plot very true to our life! And they are so hilarious in comic scenes like when they drink «a poison»:))))))
The director’s vision on other characters is also very interesting and unusual. Fiordiligi eagerly tries to protect herself from the temptation as always. Dorabella is more careless and not so devoted to her fiancé (comparing to other Dorabellas) and that’s why she doesn’t mind to flirt with someone else! Despina is an experienced and very grouchy woman. Don Alfonso is exactly as he should be, more mature and knowing more than these green ones:).
It’s the funniest production ever but every joke has the element of truth, you know!:) At Glyndebourne it’s shown very clear and that’s why it’s one of the best productions I know!
I’d like to add that one of the interesting things in all versions is how they end. For me it’s always an open ending. And it’s very sensible as if you forgive the unfaithfulness, anyway it will leave a bad taste in your mouth for some time. And everyone decides himself how to live with that, forgetting it or not.

Considering all the mentioned things, I’ve come up with the ideal cast of this opera for me. 
    Miah Persson (Fiordiligi)
 Isabel Leonard (Dorabella)
   Danielle de Niese (Despina)
    Topi Lehtipuu (Ferrando)
    Luca Pisaroni (Guglielmo)
  Nicolas Rivenq (Don Alfonso)

As they’ve never sung altogether, I recommend you to watch all three stagings of «Cosi» and choose your own ideal one!


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