Cosi Fan Tutte is an opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed in 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was written and composed by Mozart at the suggestion of Emperor Joseph II.
Mozart and Da Ponte took as a theme fiance exchange which dates back to the 13th century, elements from Shakespeares The Taming of the Shrew are also present in the opera that is beautifully scored.
It has been sung under more names than any other opera in history. For example, it was called Women Are Like That by the Metropolitan Opera. In England it was once called Tit for Tat. In Denmark it was called Flight from the Convent to mention but a few.
The Jonathan Millers production in modern dress at Washington DCs Kennedy Center is quite unusual. It appears to be a present day advertisement for one of the trendy Georgetown stores that cater to Generations X and Y.
Like the original, it is funny and the music is absolutely beautiful. Aside from some of the jokes, the staging is cavernous, bare and drab which underline the pettiness and vanity of the characters. The appearance of the hippie biker dudes in the middle of Act 1 add to the anachronisms of this production. I found this production challenging when you try to present a balance between the mean-spiritedness of the work and the 21st century values. Millers solution to the unbridled chauvinism is to make all of the characters repulsive and repellent.
Soprano Elizabeth Futral as Flordillgi, showed her vocal agility in Come scoglio, a roller-coaster aria that spans various octaves. A modest standout was Ferrandos ode to love, Un aura amorosa. Tenor Joel Prieto delivered it quite tenderly. Baritone William Shimell as Don Alfonso, was occasionally drowned out in trios and quartets and by the uneven orchestration.
Although I enjoyed Mozarts music I personally dont like to see opera in modern dress because I feel it loses so much to the way it was originally intended to be performed. However, dont take my word judge for yourself.
Carmen Ileana Romn writes a regular column for fredericknewspost.com.