Not one of my favourite productions of Cosi, but not one to miss
Cosi Fan Tutte is one of Mozart's best operas, his most sophisticated and psychologically complex and with some of his most beautiful music. And it is one of my all time favourites as well. This production from Opera Australia is not one of my favourites of the opera, not like 1983, 1970, 1989, 2000 and 1992 but well worth seeing. The costume and set design are simple yet elegant, while the camera work is unobtrusive and doesn't cheapen the production values and the sound quality is good. My only real complaints to regard to this production are some grainy picture quality and the idea to have Guglielmo present during Un Aura Amarosa, having Ferrando almost outclassed in the most beautiful and understated of the Mozartian tenor solos just didn't work for me.
However, the staging is mostly fine, doing well in emphasising the comedic and serious moments of the opera. The orchestral playing is sensitive and stylish and the conducting shows some intelligent phrasing. Yvonne Kenny is a beautifully sung and charming Fiordiligi, with her technique showing the flexibility needed for Come Scoglio. Contrasting well with Kenny and blending very well with her is Fiona Janes, whose Dorabella, the more sophisticated of the two sisters, is both witty and sympathetic. Rosamund Illing is a characterful Despina, with a good sense of comedy. Of the men, I was most impressed with David Hobson. I always have liked his voice, with its honeyed lyric quality, and it is at its best in Un Aura Amarosa. Apart from his intrusive presence in the aforementioned aria, Jeffrey Black's Guglielmo is amusing yet effectively conveys poignancy for Il Core Vi Dono. Much more subtle than his 1993 Pirate King anyhow. John Pringle's Alfonso manages to be both cynical and wise, and his singing has resonance.
All in all, a great production if not my first choice. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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