a witty, elegant transposition that serves the opera wonderfully
a delightful production of Mozart's fabulously entertaining romcom
The Evening Standard
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I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a Cosi more
The Arts Desk
Don Alfonso claims that all women are fickle, but Ferrando and Guglielmo assert that their own beloveds – Fiordiligi and Dorabella – would never be unfaithful. To settle the argument, Don Alfonso offers a wager to prove his point by the end of the day, but he’ll need Ferrando and Guglielmo’s full cooperation...
Fiordiligi and Dorabella are singing the praises of their beaux, when Don Alfonso arrives to deliver the news that their sweethearts have been called up to the war and must leave immediately. The young officers bid the ladies a sorrowful farewell. Despina enters to serve breakfast; when the sisters tell
her what has happened she suggests they amuse themselves while their lovers are away.
Don Alfonso introduces Despina to two handsome, rich friends of his (actually Ferrando and Guglielmo in disguise), and secures her help in promoting them as new suitors for the ladies. Fiordiligi and Dorabella are outraged at the strangers’ advances, even when Don Alfonso and Despina plead their case.
Later, the ladies are interrupted in their lamenting as the suitors rush in, swallowing what appears to be poison, and collapse. Disguised as an eccentric doctor, Despina ‘cures’ the two men; recovering, they renew their protestations of love.
Despina tries again to persuade her mistresses to have some fun, and the sisters reluctantly agree there would be no harm in some flirtation.
Fiordiligi agrees to stroll around the garden with Ferrando, while Guglielmo resumes wooing Dorabella. To his surprise, she yields, and exchanges a locket with him. Meanwhile, Fiordiligi has remained steadfast in Ferrando’s company, despite struggling inwardly. The men meet to compare notes, and Ferrando is devastated when Guglielmo produces Dorabella’s locket. Don Alfonso reminds the two lovers that they are still under his orders: the experiment isn’t over yet.
Ferrando makes a renewed attempt to charm Fiordiligi and, to Guglielmo’s dismay, she gives in. Don Alfonso advises the young men that the best way to punish the ladies is to marry them.
Distant military music is heard in the middle of the wedding, announcing the supposed return of the officers. The suitors run to hide, and a moment later Ferrando and Guglielmo appear in uniform, only to discover the marriage contract and notary (a disguised Despina). After dashing out to punish their rivals, they return and reveal the suitors’ true identities. The game is up. But what now?
Mark HowlandLighting Designer