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Saturday, February 06, 2010
Cosi fan tutte
I saw Portland Opera's production of Cosi fan tutte last night. The title roughly translates as "thus do they all." Who are they? Women. What exactly are they doing? Being unfaithful and fickle. Really, what better show to take a date to during Valentines?
That's not to say that the men in Cosi fan tutte are any better. The premise: two officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, make the mistake of boasting about the faithfulness of their fiancees in front of a cynical bachelor named Don Alfonso. He lays down a wager of a 100 lire. As a test of the women's devotion, the two officers will pretend to go off to war but return in disguise to seduce the other's lover. Urged on by a world-weary maid named Dorabella and these two "mysterious strangers," the fiancees' resolve quickly begins to crumble.
It's a farce and the music, written by Mozart, is both whimsical and melodramatic at times, perhaps to offer a further satirical commentary on the plights these characters are putting themselves through. The reflective Plexiglas set is gorgeous and splits apart, serving as a parlor in the first act and both a garden and a chapel in the second.
Angela Niederloh and Robert Orth liven things up as Alfonso and Dorabella but, ultimately, the opera's premise isn't enough to sustain its three hour running time. Despite the vibrant score, there isn't enough plot to go along with it. There are several sections during the opera where the electronic translator over the stage goes off for minutes at a time, as the cast repeats the same lines over and over again.
This one's a mixed bag, I'm sorry to say. The production and cast are fantastic but the source material could have used some trimming. Taking scissors to Mozart?!! Just being honest here...