The Peabody Opera Theatre presents
Così fan tutte
music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
text by Lorenzo da Ponte
JoAnn Kulesza, music director
A. Scott Parry, stage director
Thomas Donahue, set designer
Douglas Nelson, lighting designer
Peabody Symphony Orchestra
Thursday–Saturday, November 91–21, 2009 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, November 22, 2009 at 3:00 PM
Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall
Peabody Conservatory of Music
1 East Mt. Vernon Place
Admission $25 / Seniors $15 / Students with ID $10
Box Office: 410/659-8100 x2, or
The story of Così fan tutte (“All women do it”) is so well-known as to require no more than the briefest summary. Two young officers, Ferrando and Gugliemo, are engaged to two sisters, Dorabella and Fiordiligi. Their friend and mentor Don Alfonso, tired of hearing the young men boasting of the virtue of their paragons, engages them in a bet. They will pretend to go away only to return in disguise to woo the other one’s sweetheart. If by the end of 24 hours, neither woman has fallen, the men will have won their bet. The action that follows, aided and abetted by the sisters’ maid Despina, goes through many madcap stages and reversals. But soon real emotions come into play, and what had begun as farce comes uncomfortably close to tragedy. Alfonso wins his bet, of course, but by now the demonstration is not confined merely to women’s infidelity, but to men’s desires also.
|The playbill from the first production|
Guest stage director A. Scott Parry writes:
Così fan tutte is a crowning example of the Enlightenment’s search for balance between idealistic opposites: masculine and feminine, rational and emotional, social and individual. It begins within the structured confines of societal regulations and steadily makes its way into the amorphous and mysterious variations of the natural and instinctual, finally returning again to its origin. But on its return, we are able to perceive its path through an opposite lens, clearly seeing the results of the steps and missteps made from the start. It presents for the characters, and for us by extension, a “teachable moment,” as is made clear by the opera’s alternate title La scuola degli amanti (The School for Lovers). More than anything, Così finds its true purpose in teaching youthful lovers the folly of idealism and embittered critics a path back from cynicism.
|The last production in the old Peabody Concert Hall, 1981|
|Judith Pannill, James Harp, and Beth Rothenberg; Roger Brunyate director/designer|
We begin by breakfasting with the boys at a café and get the set-up and plan of action. This Act is the “masculine” Act. Everything takes place in the light of day, all being overseen by the symbolically logical and rational Sun. The men are the motivators here. Theirs are the plans that play themselves out and to which the women react. We, the audience, are made aware of their scheme and share in the spinning-out of the plot. The scene moves to the sisters’ terrace, who have received gifts, presumed to be from their men; they behave as we expect they will when confronted with harsh separation, as they are wooed by the “Albanians,” and eventually rebuke them. All this proceeds as we’ve been told would happen. We then move outside to the gardens. As the scene plays on, dusk settles and twilight begins to envelop the stage. A shift has started to take place within the lovers. Expectations, ours and theirs, begin to be questioned as night falls.
|The final scene in the 2002 Peabody production|
|Shannon Kiser, Jennifer Strauss, and Chad Freeburg|
Ultimately, we come full circle, returning to the café, the dawn just beginning to break as decorations are hung and plans are set for the impending nuptials. As the sun ascends the sky, the soldiers come back and all is exposed and judged by the bright light of day, leaving us with the task of putting the broken egg back into its shell, which by this point, we fully realize is an impossible task to accomplish. In the last moments of the Act, the lovers are reunited, but now share a greater understanding of the balance that must be found between opposing ideals, for each has gained a sense that any belief without acceptance of other possibilities is simply unsustainable. Forgiveness abounds and authentic love now is more truly known. An Enlightened equilibrium has been realized in the balancing of idealistic extremes.
List of Singers
Singers listed first appear in the Thursday and Saturday performances.|
Passing the cursor over singer’s names will show any previous roles.
Marissa Del Campo
|Don Alfonso||Benjamin Moore|
|Servants, Soldiers &c.||Amy Chao (s)|
Huyngji Chang (a)
Daniel Taylor (t)
Jordan Markham (b)