How faithful are women really? That is the question that Guglielmo and Ferrando ask themselves in Mozart’s comic opera Così Fan Tutte. To answer it, they put their fiancées to the test by pretending to go off to war and a short time later returning in disguise with the aim of seducing each other’s betrothed.
In the school of love the learning curve is steep. A faithful woman is “as rare as a phoenix,” declares the cynical Don Alfonso, whereupon Ferrando, who is betrothed to the fair Dorobella, and Guglielmo, Fiordiligi’s intended, set out to prove him wrong. The outcome, inevitably, is chaos; but the lesson of the imbroglio is simple: “The happy man sees the good in everything.”
"Così Fan Tutte, ossia la scula degli amanti" ("All Women Do It or The School for Lovers") was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last collaboration with the Italian librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte after Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro. Although all three operas now count among Mozart’s greatest works, alongside Die Zauberflöte and Entführung aus dem Serail, the critical reception of this delightful opera buffa has been mixed. Tight-laced Victorians deplored its frivolous treatment of fidelity and lust, and neither Ludwig van Beethoven nor Richard Wagner could warm to it.
Fortunately, the Opèra de Lausanne has no time for such moral grandstanding. This new staging of Così is Jean Liermier’s second production for Lausanne after his My Fair Lady in 2015. Joshua Weilerstein, artistic director of the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, pilots the orchestra through Mozart’s colourful score with Stéphanie Guérin (Dorabella), Robert Gleadow (Guglielmo), Valentina Nafornita (Fiordiligi), and Joel Prieto (Ferrando) in the roles of the tried and tested lovers.