Sat | Aug 19, 2017

'Cosi fan tutte' at Cineplex on Sunday

Published:Friday | August 19, 2016 | 8:00 AM
A scene from Mozart’s 'Così fan tutte', which encores at Palace Cineplex this Sunday, August 21, at 11:30 a.m.

Cosi fan tutte is an Italian-language opera buffa (comic) in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The title literally means 'thus do all (women)' and is popularly used to mean 'Women are like that.' The words are sung by the three men in act 2, scene 13, just before the finale.

Cosi fan tutte was composed during Mozart's final years and is the 15th of the renowned master's works. Speculation has it that a Viennese scandal prompted Austrian Emperor Joseph II to commission the opera.

Despite Mozart's failing health at the time, Cosi fan tutte is said to amazingly express a "sparkling score", as well as "technical and animated virtuosity". The libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte, who also collaborated with Mozart on the librettos for Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Nineteenth-century Vienna was intolerant of the subject matter of Cosi fan tutte, and the offensive opera was subject to unprecedented revision. Beethoven is reported to have lamented that a composer of Mozart's standing could have squandered his talent on such an insignificant, immoral subject.

The opera had its premiere a day before Mozart's 34th birthday at the Burgtheater in Vienna, January 26, 1790. It played until August and was dropped, not to be revived in Vienna during the composer's lifetime. He lived to witness it in Prague, the Czech Republic, and it soon reached Leipzig and Dresden in Germany.

The Met first performed Cosi fan tutte on March 24, 1922, and the current production, under the baton of Met music director James Levine, was originally transmitted to cinemas in 2014.

Act 1 is set in 18th-century Naples. The cynical Don Alfonso discusses women with two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo. The gallants insist their sweethearts are paragons of virtue and accept Alfonso's bet that he can prove the ladies fickle if they do as he says for 24 hours.

The sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella compare the merits of their respective beaux, Guglielmo and Ferrando, showing pictures they carry in their lockets. Alfonso brings sad news - the young men have been called to their regiment.

 

THE NEWCOMERS

 

They appear and the five make elaborate farewells. As soldiers march by Ferrando and Guglielmo fall in, Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Alfonso sorrowfully wish them a prosperous journey. Alfonso, alone, delivers one last jeer at women's inconstancy.

The maid, Despina, advises her mistresses to forget old lovers with the help of new ones, but Dorabella is outraged at her capricious approach to love. When the sisters leave Alfonso, comes to bribe Despina to introduce two foreign friends of his to the ladies.

Returning, Fiordiligi and Dorabella are scandalised to see the strangers, whom they do not recognise as their lovers, who are heavily disguised as

Albanians. The newcomers declare their admiration for the ladies, but both repulse them and Fiordiligi likens her fidelity to a rock. The men are thrilled, but Alfonso warns that the bet isn't won yet.

Ferrando blissfully looks forward to victory and reunion with his love. When he is gone, Despina suggests a plan to Alfonso to win the ladies' sympathy. Alone in their garden, the sisters lament the absence of their lovers. Suddenly the 'Albanians' stagger in, pretending to have poisoned themselves in despair over their rejection. Alfonso and Despina run for a doctor.

Meanwhile, the ladies begin to waver; pity for the strangers will be their undoing. Despina returns, disguised as a doctor using Dr Mesmer's invention, the magnet, to draw out the poison and urging the sisters to nurse the patients as they recover. The men revive, but their increased ardour alarms the women, who angrily refuse their demands for a kiss.

The cast is filled with youthful Met stars. Susanna Phillips and Isabel Leonard are the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella respectively. Matthew Polenzani and Rodion Pogossov are their lovers, with Danielle de Niese as the scheming Despina. Renee Fleming hosts.

Palace Amusement Company, along with select cinemas across the globe, showcased four popular presentations in keeping with the Met Summer Encore 2016 series. Tickets are on sale for this final performance in the summer encores are available at the box office and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com with a Palace Card or any major credit card.