COSI FAN TUTTE
by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.
Pop-Up Opera Tour to 31 July 2014.
Runs 2hr 35min One interval.
Review: William Russell 18 June at The Whip, 50 Davies Street.
Men behaving badly, done well.
The title translates roughly as “all women are like that.” In other words, when faced with amorous, fanciable men they ditch the ones they are already attached to with one or two pangs, but not too many. In other words – women cannot be trusted.
In fact it is the men who are reprehensible. For a bet Ferrando and Guglielmo, two young blades engaged to sisters, dress up as Albanian adventurers, having pretended to depart for the wars, and woo each other’s intended. Ferrando woos Fiordiligi, Guglielmo woos Dorabella.
Meanwhile the servants, Don Alfonso, the sisters’ butler, who has made the bet with the boys that the girls will not be faithful, and their maid, Despina, who is up for anything that pays, join in the deceit.
Darren Royston’s production sets the action somewhere in the era of Downton Abbey and the opera is performed in Italian without surtitles but with titles like one sees in silent movies projected from time to time. They are frequently witty and explain the action clearly (which is more than surtitles often do).
As the cads, Oskar McCarthy and Adam Torrance are in fine voice, while Eva Daniell and Chloe Hinton sparkle as the sisters too dumb to recognise the men with moulting peacock feathers in their turbans and sporting blatantly fake moustaches as their respective boyfriends.
Alexander Learmonth makes a sonorous butler, and Clementine Lovell is a delicious Despina, a gorgeous, overworked minx who will do almost anything for cash.
Royston’s production could hardly be bettered and the evening puts the current English National Opera version set in a Butlins holiday camp and a fairground firmly in the shade. This is not a director’s concept production, but a refreshing, joyous, splendidly-sung, back to basics affair. It also has the most persuasive programme seller in the land. Check him out.
Ferrando: Adam Torrance.
Guglielmo: Oskar McCarthy.
Fiordiligi: Eve Daniell.
Dorabella: Chloe Hinton.
Don Alfonso: Alexander Learmonth.
Despina: Clementine Lovell.
Pianist: Berrak Dyer
Director: Darren Royston.
Musical Director: Laila Barnatt.
Assistant Musical director: Berrak Dyer.
21 June 3pm Brunel Museum Thames Tunnel Shaft, Rotherhithe SE 16 4 LF.
24 June 7.30pm Stour Space 7 Roach Road Hackney Wick E3 2PA.
26 June 7.30pm Tea House Theatre 139 Vauxhall Walk SE11 5HL.
28 June 7.30pm sold out Court Gardens Farm & Vineyard Orchard Lane Ditchling Hassocks BN6 8TH.
5 July 7.30pm, 6 July 3pm The Creek Henwick Thatcham RG18 3EP 07775 996654.
9 July 7.30pm The Corn Barn Sutton Barton Cullompton Devon EX15 1NF 01884 32107.
11 July 7pm Three Choirs Vineyard Newent GL18 1LS 01531 890223.
13 July 4pm Broome Farm Peterstow Ross-on-Wye HR9 6QG 01989 567 232.
15 July 7.30pm The Bull North Hill Highgate N6 4AB 020 8341 0510.
18 July 8pm Raglan Castle Usk NP15 2BT.
19 July 7.30pm St Michael and All Angels Church Kingsland Herefordshire HR6 9QW.
23 July 7.30pm Regal Theatre Minehead TA24 5UQ. 25 July 7.30pm St Margaret of Antioch Church Leigh Delamere Chippenham SN14 6JZ.
27 July 6.30pm St Margaret’s Hall Bradford on Avon BA15 1DE 01225 723249/865797.
31 July 7.30pm Dalston Department Store 3 Richmond Road E8 3HY.