04th February 2016
Così fan tutte or, The School for Lovers - The Grand Theatre & Opera House Leeds

Opera North, England’s national opera company based in the North, has long been associated with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Così fan tutte, with its first performance at this very theatre in 1982, followed by the first performance of this production in 2004, and now revived in 2016 for a returning audience and, by the look of tonight’s gathering, a new ‘younger’ audience to enjoy.

With a libretto By Lorenzo da Ponte dating back to 1790, the story centres around Don Alfonso (William Dazeley, Baritone), a philosopher, who places a bet with his soldier friends Guglielmo (Gavan Ring, Baritone) and Ferrando (Nicholas Watts, Tenor), that all women - their lovers, sisters Fiordiligi (Máire Flavin, Soprano) and Dorabella (Helen Sherman, Mezzo-soprano) included - are fickle and, given the opportunity, will be unfaithful. With all sides confident of winning the wager,the three male protagonists, alongside the bribed to play along Despina (Ellie Laugharne,Soprano) concoct a ruse that will turn all their lives upside down.

Sung tonight in English, Così fan tutte was seen as controversial during its early life and didn’t find its real audience until the middle of the 20th century, though, even today, it still divides in a misogynistic sense. But, in saying that, Mozart’s composition is musically as beautiful as any of his major works, especially O wind gently blowing, the trio from Act 1.

It just wouldn’t be right to single out any artiste tonight, as each delivered what can only be described as a world class performance, and the same can be said for the Orchestra of Opera North, with Jac van Steen conducting. Tim Albery’s direction is flawless, as is the set and costume design by Tobias Hoheisel and lighting design by David Finn.

Stunning, mischievous and thoroughly entertaining - a tour de force.

Performances on February 10, 13, 18, 26 at 19:00

Written by Kevin Petch