Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte is the next Metropolitan Opera Live in HD movie, on Saturday, April 26, 2014, at 12:55 pm Eastern time. From what I have read, the opera’s plot is simple, the music glorious.
Sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi are the lovers of two officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo. An older friend of the officers, Don Alfonso, believes that the women will be unfaithful. He says that all women are like this. (The opera’s title translates literally as “Thus do they [feminine] all.” In common language, “Women are all alike.”)
A five-note musical motif introduced toward the end of the opera’s overture underlines his message: Co-si fan tut-te.
Based on his negative feelings about women, Don Alfonso makes a bet with the men; Dorabella and Fiordiligi will be unfaithful to them.
The two young women are in fact happily contemplating their eventual marriages with the two officers. Alfonso shows up and tells them their officers have been called to war. Then, they make their sad farewells.
No sooner have the men exited, than Alfonso has Ferrando and Guglielmo come back disguised as Albanians, who start making advances toward the women. Each disguised officer courts his friend’s lover.
The women put up a virtuous and valiant fight, even when the men claim to have poisoned themselves over their rejection. (The women’s maid Despina, in cahoots with Alfonso, comes in disguised as a doctor.)
Egged on by Despina, the sisters give in and decide there’s no harm in a little flirtation. Seeing this, their officers are furious, but Don Alfonso reminds them that that’s the way women are. (“Co-si fan tut-te.”)
The sisters have agreed to marry the Albanians. Alfonso arrives with the notary (the maid Despina again, in another disguise). When military music announces the return of the officers, the women hide their intended husbands-who soon appear as themselves, Ferrando and Guglielmo, the women’s original lovers.
The men reveal their trick, the women ask forgiveness, and Don Alfonso says, “I told you so,” or “Co-si fan tut-te.”
Fiordiligi Susanna Phillips soprano
Dorabella Isabel Leonard mezzo-soprano
Despina Danielle de Niese soprano
Ferrando Matthew Polenzani tenor
Guglielmo Rodion Pogossov baritone
Don Alfonso Mauricio Muraro bass
Conductor: James Levine
Director: Gary Halvorson