COSÌ FAN TUTTE Charms Edmonton
Sisters Dorabella and Fiordigli are devastated when their suitors are called to war. Unbeknownst to the two women, the men concoct an elaborate scheme with a mutual friend and one of the sisters’ maids to test Dorabella and Fiordigli’s loyalty.
Set in Naples, Italy, Mozart’s Così fan tutte was first performed in Vienna in 1790. Edmonton Opera’s current production reimagines this playful romantic comedy during the Napoleonic Wars, marrying an elegant Regency setting with the mischief of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Helmed by director Kim Mattice Wanat, this rendition of Così fan tutte immerses audiences in the upper crust realm of Italian nobility.
The world-class cast stars Stephanie Tritchew as Dorabella and Jennifer Taverner as Fiordigli along with Asitha Tennekoon as Dorabella’s suitor, Ferrando, and Clarence Frazer as Fiordigli’s suitor, Guglielmo. Tritchew and Taverner showcase otherworldly soprano vocals, shining especially in their respective solos and in their Act 1 duet, Ah guarda sorella. Tennekoon and Frazer’s equally impressive vocals are matched by the men’s comedic timing and pair beautifully with those of their female co-stars. As Ferrando and Guglielmo’s co-conspirators, Don Alfonso (Neil Craighead) and Despina (Caitlin Wood) round out the cast and entertain with their witty slyness. Wood in particular steals the show-her portrayal reminiscent of Shakespeare’s Puck, Despina dons different disguises and even enjoys a bowl of popcorn as the lovers banter.
The cast’s soaring voices are perfectly complemented by scenic designer Brianna Kolybaba’s sets and Deanna Finnman’s Regency-era costumes. Every backdrop is rendered in intricate detail, depicting lush gardens, the sisters’ opulent pink boudoir, and rolling blue ocean waves. Despite technical issues on opening night with the projected English captions, Così fan tutte is an escapist rendition of Mozart’s romantic comedy.
So fan tutte plays Edmonton’s Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium on March 22 and 25th. Masks remain mandatory for all audience members.
Photo by: Nanc Price