When it comes to productions of Cosi Fan Tutte, this Peter Sellars production isn't my favourite. The ones from 1989 and 1992 are contenders for that title. That said, while my least favourite of the Sellars Mozart productions, it was fun. Purists probably won't like it, but while it is not perfect, I did. It can be seen as a controversial production, and I can see why. Just for the record, I don't mind changes to operas, so long as it is done in good taste.
Even with the updating to an admittedly tacky-looking diner, this Cosi does maintain the opera's heart and charm and the humour does come across as genuine. The music, being Mozart is undeniably wonderful, my personal favourites being Il Core Vi Dono, Soave Sia Il Vento and Una Donna I Quindici Anni, and the orchestra do a great job performing it. When it comes to the conducting, it wasn't the most subtle of conducting jobs, but it was efficient enough.
The production does have some good costuming, Despina's being my favourite, and the picture and sound quality are fine. Like Nozze Di Figaro, there is however some choppy camera work. The performances are fine generally, the best being Sanford Sylvan's fine Alfonso and Su Ellen Kuzma's charismatic Despina. Frank Kelley is reliable as Ferrando with a lovely Un Aura Amarosa. Susan Larson once again is lovely, as is Janice Felty. James Maddalena is good as Guglielmo, with only a forced and unmusical rendition of Donna Meie... disappointing.
All in all, fun if not a classic. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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