A cheeky double dare results in false pretenses and true love in Mozart’s dark comedy.
Would you place a bet on your partner’s faithfulness? And would you disguise yourself in order to test it? That’s exactly what Ferrando and Guglielmo do, and the surprising results are spelled out in the opera’s title: Così fan tutte (‘Women Are Like That’). As the innocent trick veers off-course, boisterous hijinks ensue, souls are searched, and true love is born – at some cost.
Chock full of sublime Mozartean melodies and dazzling singing, Così fan tutte is the third and last of the brilliant operas Mozart wrote with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte (alongside Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni). It has variously been described as ‘a glorious soap-bubble’, ‘a deep and unsettling masterpiece’, ‘a musical lark’, and ‘a profound and terrifying tragicomedy’. All of those qualities and more shine through in Glyndebourne’s gorgeous period production by Nicholas Hytner, former longtime director of the National Theatre.