Mozart’s ‘Cosí fan tutte’ gets edgy new interpretation
Mozart’s famous comic opera ‘Così fan tutte’, or “Women are like that”, tells the story of two men and the faithfulness or “supposed faithfulness” of their fiancées. Cape Town Opera will present an edgy new production of the opera in collaboration with the UCT Opera school at the Baxter Theatre on August 28, 29, 30, 31 and September 1 at 7.30pm nightly.
After making a bet with a bitter old man, the two men craft a plan to dupe their fiancées into quickly exchanging their steadfast love for other men when the two officers claim to have been sent off to war.
If the central fidelity experiment plotline once struck audiences as implausible, it seems all-too-familiar in the era of reality television – a particularly brash director might stage the opera as an extended episode of ‘Temptation Island’, ‘The Ultimate Love Test’ or ‘Cheaters’. The reality TV resonances are unavoidable as the audience sit in the darkened auditorium, giggling and gasping with car-crash fascination at ‘Cosí’s’ particular brand of emotional pornography, as two young couples are subjected to extreme and unnecessary emotional torture.
The comparison with trash television must end, though, when Mozart’s contribution is taken into account – eons away from anything starring a Kardashian, ‘Cosí’ serves up a profound exploration of some of our darkest fears about love, sex, fidelity and marriage – and poses difficult questions about the likelihood of mating (happily) for life.
“‘Cosi fan tutte’ resists directorial attempts to solve its riddles or simplify its meanings,” says director Matthew Wild. “In this production, we have sought to open up new entrances to this frequently seen)opera, without providing easy answers.
Some choices may mystify or trouble – but we hope in ways which collude with Mozart and da Ponte, bringing out the true beauty and mystery of one of the most enigmatic operas ever written.”
* All under 18’s pay half price.
Book at Computicket or the Baxter Box office.