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Così fan tutte

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 1756-1791

Dramma giocoso in two acts
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
First performed January 26 1790, Burgtheater, Vienna
(premiere of this production: March 24 2008)

Sung in Italian with English & German surtitles
ca. 3 hours 45 minutes, including 1 interval
an introductory talk, in German, begins in the upstairs foyer 30 minutes before every performance  

Conductor Rory McDonald / Nikolai Petersen
Fiordiligi Juanita Lascarro / Karen Vuong
Dorabella Cecelia Hall / Nina Tarandek
Guglielmo Daniel Schmutzhard / Iurii Samoilov
Ferrando Ben Bliss / Michael Porter
Despina Louise Alder
Don Alfonso Simon Bailey

Don Alfonso bets Ferrando and Guglielmo that he can prove, in 24 hours, that their future brides, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are not as faithful as they believe them to be. Ferrando takes his farewell from Dorabella, Guglielmo from Fiordiligi – to take part in some ficticious military action. Don Alfonso persuades Despina, the housekeeper, to help. The two men return in disguise and begin courting the women. Despina does not recognise them either. Fiordiligi and Dorabella react angrily, amused and finally extremely vexed after the two men feign attempted suicide. Ferrando and Guglielmo, once so sure of their women’s faithfulness, start having doubts. Act 2 Some hours later. Fiordiligi and Dorabella admit that they rather like the two strangers. Fiordiligi is drawn to the disguised Ferrando, Dorabella to Guglielmo. When they next meet the men are even more annoyed and confused when the women not only greet them confidently but also seem to have chosen new partners. Dorabella gives Guglielmo the locket containing a picture of her fiancé. Ferrando is beside himself when he hears about this. His despair fuels his attempts to woo Fiordiligi and he finally manages to force her to admit that she loves him. Don Alfonso has won his bet. Fiordiligi and Dorabella let it be known that they would be willing to marry the strangers (and leave the country with them). Despina makes preparations for the wedding and reappears disguised as a notary. When the women sign the marriage contracts Alfonso calls the game to a halt. The men remove their disguises. The sisters realise they have been deceived. Only good sense can help the lovers to try and sort out the confusion left in the air following the last few turbulent hours.

What is there to learn in a »school for lovers«? How to love? How to tame desire? How faithfulness (does not) function? Two happy couples find themselves caught up in an experiment. Don Alfonso has no faith in female fidelity - »they are all the same« - his two young friends are persuaded to try and find out whether or not their fiancées are included in this category. They must try and seduce each other's girlfriends, in disguise. What begins as a harmless bet soon throws all certainty overboard. »One always hopes that things remain constant - living in a utopian, paradise-like state in which one is not bothered with questions of guilt or innocence«, said director Christof Loy about the theme of the opera in his prize winning production. The white, unadorned rooms allow every emotion to come to the fore, playfulness, adjustment, the inabilitiy to orientate oneself, pain and despair.