Image: Jessica Whitley
“Cosi fan tutte” to bring high drama, heartbreak and laughter to Mercer
March 28, 2018
Mercer University Opera brings hysterical laughter, love and deceit with their production of W. A. Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” (Women are Like That).
This rollercoaster journey with high drama and a lot of laughs take audiences through the love tale of two recently engaged couples.
“Cosi fan tutte” will perform in Neva Langley Fickling Hall on Mercer’s campus from April 5-8.
Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. April 5 through 7 and 3:30 p.m. on April 8.
Tickets are $15 general admission. All students get in free with an ID.
The opera will be performed in English as a more enjoyable experience for Macon audiences.
In a cafe in Naples, Italy two young men are wagered that their fiancés, who are sisters, would not stay faithful to them.
The two men agree to the wager and disguise themselves as foreigners in an attempt to woo the other’s fiancé.
“Mozart is always generous with human faults,” said Mercer opera director Martha Malone.
Malone said the story is about an exploration in love and forgiveness.
In what turns into a fiasco of trickery, the men have to learn to pardon their fiancés’ flaws and mistakes.
Malone said that in her interpretation of the opera the women also have to settle the score with their partners, placing blame on both sides.
“The dramatic crux of ‘Cosi’ is the effect the elaborate masquerade has on everybody – the confusion and guilt of the sisters after they throw over their beaus for new lovers, and the anger and bruised egos of the men,” opera reviewer John von Rhein wrote in the Chicago Tribune last month. “All we really know is that everybody is in for some sobering soul-searching.”
The opera, which debuted in Vienna, Austria in 1790 has had a history of being considered risqué and vulgar for its themes of temptation, seduction and misogyny.
However, opera’s conductor Richard Kosowski said that Mozart is the first truly feminist composer.
“His female characters are morally strong, confident and willful in a sense that they know their mission and they know what they want in life,” Kosowski said.
The Mercer conductor said that he thinks it must have been the formabital women in Mozart’s personal life that shaped his “belief in the strength of women.”
Malone said she wants audiences to get to the deeper meaning of Mozart’s story: forgiveness.
This week the Mercer cast has been in dress rehearsal preparing for the upcoming performances.
Malone said that actor-singers are ready and all they need is an audience.
The Townsend School of Music students have been preparing for the opera since fall, when they were given their music last October.
In preparation for their parts, the students took their music to their private voice lessons.
“We have a perfect cast,” Malone said.
According to Malone, the vocal repertoire in “Cosi fan tutte” is demanding with a wide voice range.
She said that the opera is a piece that would be preferred for colleges because it requires a small cast, but only if the student performers voices have the maturity to handle the music’s technicality.
“It is always a privilege to help our students prepare a masterwork, like ‘Cosi fan tutte.’ Mozart, and his librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, were extraordinarily careful in the creation and pacing of the opera,” Kosowski said.
Malone beamed with confidence in her cast and said that this is “the year for Cosi.”