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Mozart's Così fan Tutte - June 18, 2013, 8 pm - San Francisco War Memorial Opera House 

This is my first time with this opera and although enjoyable and well performed, Mozart simply does not know when to end an opera.  With intermission, it was three hours and 25 minutes long, so each act was approximately and hour and a half. 

The premise is typical Mozart.  Don Alfonso, sung by Marco Vinco tries to convince Ferrando (Francesco Demuro) and Guglielmo (Philippe Sly) that all women are alike and given the chance, will jump ship to another man.  Both are engaged.  Dorabella (sung by Christel Lötzsch) is engaged to Ferrando and Fiordiligi (sung by Ellie Dehn), her sister, is engaged to Guglielmo.

Don Alfonso cooks up a scheme with the two men to test their lovers’ fidelity.  He is aided in this by the maid, Despina, sung by Susannah Biller.  Supposedly the men are called away to war.  Two “Albanians” return (Ferrando and Guglielmo in disguise).  Eventually, Dorabella choses her sister’s fiancé in disguise and Fiordiligi choses her sister’s fiancé in disguise. 

Fiordiligi at first refuses to show affection to her “Albanian” but is finally convinced.  A marriage is arranged but before the weddings are concluded, the real fiancés “return” from war by taking off their disguises. 

Love wins out but with a strong sense of caution.

I felt the best voice of the night was Ellie Dehn in the role of Fiordiligi.  All the cast were exceptionally strong.  Philippe Sly as Guglielmo was in his San Francisco Opera debut as a current Adler Fellow and did very well.  Christel Lötzsch as Dorabella was in her US opera debut. 

Image from the San Francisco Opera web site

© Fred Searcy 2017