“Così fan tutte” by Mozart: young love’s joyful mischief is always wonderfully entertaining…

MET Opera House building–Lincoln Center/Thursday February 27th, 2020.

This week friends, welcome back, to another fun and sizzling evening, once again, at the MET Opera, to (re)discover a wonderful classic from the opera repertoire; a highly entertaining, over the top, farcical, lewd, lighthearted, uplifting, wicked, masterpiece; by Mozart, whose poetic and also at times, lively, and misogynistic libretto, by Da Ponte, also, always, makes audiences ultimately, roar with laughter.

More importantly still, let me also tell you/remind you also, that the biggest quality of “Così” to me, resides in the fact, that it is filled musically, with some of the most beautiful and romantic arias ever, and for that reason alone, ladies and gentlemen, it should not be missed!

How about that!


And believe it or not, but, in addition, to everyone’s delight, it also ends well!


And last night, British maestro extraordinaire, Harry Bicket, was wonderfully inspired, conducting this opera with great mastery; and what an amazing cast! I particularly enjoyed the four young “love bird” singers, in particular, the charming Australian soprano Nicole Car, as Fiordiligi as the most resolved, tortured, and romantic character of the story, as well as Serena Malfi, the sizzling Italian mezzo, as her more “frivolous” sister Dorabella, and so were their “love interests”, the wonderfully charming Guglielmo sang by charming Venezuelan bass Luca Pisaroni, and his friend Ferrando, the equally charming and intense American tenor Ben Bliss. And wonderfully witty, and smart as a whip, lovely, yet scheming servant, Despina, was extremely well personified, by American soprano, Heidi Stober, who, in addition to being a talented singer, is also, believe it or not, an amazing cowboy/ line/ Vegas show dancer.

How about that!

The Phelim Mc Dermott production for this wonderfully light hearted, at times silly, (and at others, more serious), opera “bouffe”, was spectacular and particularly inspired, with the choice of circus characters/Coney Island/”The Fonz” and hot air balloons, to evoke deftly, youthful needs to escape at times, responsibility; and just have joyful, mischievous fun, instead; in my opinion, what a spot on/perfect choice of location to encapsulate “Cos씑 imaginative, sunny, mischievous, sometimes tortured, and thankfully ultimately, forgiving universe!

How about that!

In a nutshell what is “Così” about?

It’s about the complexities of young love, its twists and turns at times, romantic and fun, yet also, at times, more lighthearted and in the moment; and sometimes also, just plainly fickle; but is also, about forgiveness, and telling one, to not play with fire.

Oh boy!

Mozart knew a thing or two about the human condition, and the lightheartedness, joys and silliness, associated often, with youthfulness and lust/love, and how entertaining it is, for an audience, when told, in an imaginative, farcical and fun fashion.

So to summarize the plot simply, this provocative opera in two acts, tells of a “bet” made between young men, that their young “fiancées”, can be (just like men) capable of infidelity; they “disguise” themselves, and with the help of “scheming” additional characters, realize that it is true; yet ultimately, they all, in the end, forgive each other, and decide to get on with their initial plans.

And again, I think that what ultimately, softens this silly, and a tad cynical opera, are the ravishing and incredibly romantic arias, which are not to be missed.


What an amazing composer and human being, our one and only Mozart!


Let’s marvel also, at one of Mozart’s beautiful quotes about love, which evokes also well, in my opinion, the atmosphere of this beautiful, lighthearted, mischievous opera, and yet, which at times also, believe it or not, is also, an opera, filled with romantic moments.


For me, Mozart always speaks of love, simply and beautifully, and in unusual ways, as well.


Let’s read now, one of Mozart’s quote about love. You will see how he relates love to inspired ideas/genius, which I find particularly touching and moving. And true, of all his genius operas, which are also, incredibly rich in layers of humanity, including for “Così”.

“Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius”.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Isn’t it wonderful?

And how glorious for us all, that it inspired Mozart, as well, in my mind at least, fun, youthful shenanigans, for his “Così” opera.


And right off the bat, even in the score, at the “overture”, Mozart sets the lighthearted, funny, farcical, fickle tone, for this opera; which the title of the opera “Così fan tutte” evokes, and which targets with joyful abandon, all characters of this plot, women of course, and men alike. Just like Molière did, in French theater.

Always fun, even if silly.

And especially enjoyable, again, because of the beauty of the music.


Let’s take a listen at the overture, it should awaken your curiosity:

Isn’t it awesome?

Just like this wonderful and charming painting below, about romantic, complex, a tad silly, and yet entertaining, young love, which is about to be rolled out, in our “Così” opera.


Just delightful!

And how about the humor of this poster, to encapsulate’s “Cos씑 humor?

So fun!

Of course, who doesn’t like these “love birds” for “Così” as well, even though to me, “Così” evokes even more, silly and deep seated, plain fun joy, even if it does have its romantic moments!


And sometimes, the characters also, enjoy simple and complex joys, just like these:

Aren’t they just incredibly sweet as well, these two “love birds”?

So cute!

Just like these other two young ones.


And who doesn’t love the charm of Fragonard’s delightfully provocative and witty young girl, in this famous painting?

And “Così”, is an opera which Mozart wrote young; and it does evoke well, some of the challenges of love, at times; which is why, I think “Così” has remained so popular over time.

And this painting, just like the other paintings/posters, conjures up, also for me, all these complexities.

Don’t they all?

And I must say, I also love the romanticism of this poster.

Isn’t it just charming?

Or how about the mischief of this poster?

Isn’t it fun?

But let’s get back to the wonderful production values, that were particularly original, last night. And let me show you, some other great depictions, of Coney Island, in the 1950’s:

So charming!

And let’s take a look also, at an excerpt of Gracey’s “The Greatest Showman” (2017), to get a sense of the circus characters, which filled up the stage during the “overture” hilariously, (and through out the opera), as they arrived on stage, with wonderfully funny posters, summarizing what “Così” is about.

Loved it!

Let’s watch, and sing along as well!

And let me tell you also, about the costumes of the “disguised” young men of our opera, and which evoked for me, “The Fonz”, from the (1974-1984) TV show “Happy Days”.

So fun and inspired!

And Dorabella and Fiordiligi dresses, were probably inspired from Wise and Robbins’ “West Side Story” (1961) own costumes.

Let’s take a look, and sing along as well!

And here, is probably a “look”, that inspired the costume and “moves”, for Dorabella’s disguise, in the very end of the opera last night, and which was hilarious, and perfectly executed.


So fun “Così”, and even at times, especially at the end, capable of incredible romanticism as well, despite the silliness too, for many of the main characters.


Let’s now, listen to many beautiful arias, that are so incredibly touching and poetic, and bring a lot of “softness” to the plot in my opinion.

There are a bigger number than usual, that I am sharing, because they are all, so incredibly gorgeous, in my opinion.

Let’s start with my favorite aria, but first, let’s read the amazingly poetic text, for this incredible trio:


“May the wind be gentle,
may the wave be calm,
and may every element
respond benignly
to our wishes”.

Let’s now, listen to this incredible aria:


And now, before we listen to another fantastic aria, let’s read first, the beautiful text as well:

This heart I give you,
My adored one;
But I want yours in return;
Come, give it me.

You’ve given it and I take it,
But mine I cannot give;
In vain you ask it of me,
It is no longer mine.

If you no longer own it,
Why does it beat here?

If you gave me it,
What is still beating there?

Dorabella and Guglielmo
It is my own dear heart
That is no longer mine;
It’s come to lodge with you,
And that’s what’s beating so.

trying to put the heart where she has the miniature of her lover
Let me put it here.

There it cannot stay.

I understand, you little rogue.

What are you doing?

You’re not to look.
He gently turns her face away, takes out the miniature and puts in the heart.

to herself
I feel I have
A volcano in my bosom!

to himself
Poor Ferrando!
It doesn’t seem possible.
Now turn your pretty eyes on me.

What do you want?

Doesn’t that look better?

Dorabella and Guglielmo
Oh happy exchange
Of hearts and affections!
What new delights!
What sweet pain!

And now, let’s listen to the aria:


Isn’t it charming?

And now, let’s read another beautiful text:


“Ladies, you treat so many thus
That, if I must speak the truth,
I begin to sympathise
When your lovers complain.

I adore the fair sex, you know,
Everyone knows it;
Each day I show it
And always take your part.

But such treatment of so many
Discourages me, in truth.

A thousand times I’ve drawn my sword
To defend your honor.
A thousand times I’ve championed you
With my tongue and, still more, with my heart.

But such treatment of so many
Is pernicious and a bore.

You’re attractive, you are charming,
Heaven has given you treasures galore
And graces envelop you
From head to foot.

But thus you treat so many,
That it’s difficult to believe,
And if your lovers complain
They have good reason indeed”.

Isn’t it charming?

And now, let’s listen to the aria:

and now, let’s read another part of the text, about love, which is charming and very well known:

Love is a little thief,
A little serpent is he.
According to his whim
The heart finds peace or not.

Scarcely does he open a path
Between your eyes and your bosom
Than he chains your soul
And takes away your liberty.

He’ll bring sweetness and content,
If you give him his way,
But will make your lot heavy
If you try to deny him.

If he visits your breast
And plucks at you there,
Do all that he asks,
As I will do too.

And now, let’s listen to the wonderful aria:

And now, on to another beautiful aria, but first, let’s read the wonderfully romantic text:

An amorous breath of our beloved
will offer a sweet refreshment to the heart,
to the heart which, nourished on love’s hope,
does not need a better bait.
An amorous breath, etc.

And now, let’s listen to this beautiful solo, my favorite solo of this opera!


And now, let’s listen to another ravishing aria, the most tormented and poetic one, in my opinion, but first let’s read the text!

In pity’s name, my dearest, forgive
The misdeed of a loving soul;
Oh God, it shall evermore be hidden
Among these shady bushes.
My courage, my constancy
Will drive away this dishonourable desir
And banish the memory
Which fills me with shame and horror.

And who is it whom
This unworthy heart has betrayed?
Dear heart, your trust deserved
A better reward!
Caro bene, al tuo candor.

What a beautiful text, sung from a hot air balloon, which evoked another novel and movie:

Jules Verne’s “Le Tour du Monde en 80 jours”, of course:

And also, the hot air balloon, evokes as well, the sci-fi atmosphere of Bird’s film, “Tomorrowland” (2015).


Let’s now, listen to the beautiful aria:

Isn’t it just stunning?

And now, let’s read about the two “love birds” emotions, discovering their mutual attraction for one another:


to himself
Could there be a love like this?

You shall never deck my head again
Till I return here with my true love;
In your place I do this helmet.
How it transforms my whole appearance!
I can hardly recognise myself!

N. 29 – Duet

Very soon now I’ll be enfolded
In the embraces of my true love;
Unrecognized in these garments
I will come before him.
Oh, what joy will fill his heart
When he sees me again!

to Fiordiligi, entering
And meanwhile I, left wretched,
Shall die of grief.

What do I see? I am betrayed!
Oh leave me!

Ah no, dear heart!

With this sword in your hand
Strike me to the heart,
And if you lack the strength,
By Heaven, I’ll guide your hand myself.

Alas, be silent! I am
Tormented and unhappy enough!

Fiordiligi and Ferrando
Ah, now my constancy
Begins to falter
Before his looks and his words!

Get up, I beg!

It cannot be.

In pity’s name, what do you ask of me?

Your heart or my death.

My strength is giving out!

Yield, my dearest!

Heaven, direct me!

Turn a merciful eye on me.
In me alone you’ll find
Husband, lover and more, if you wish.

Delay no longer, my adored one.


Merciful heaven! Cruel man, you’ve won!
Do with me what you will.

Don Alfonso holds back Guglielmo who tries to leap forward.

Ferrando and Fiordiligi
Embrace me, my dearest,
And may the consolation for our sorrows
Be to spend our time in sweet affection,
And sigh for joy!

And now, let’s listen to the aria:

And for the final aria, I am sharing, (I told you “Così” was incredibly rich in arias), let’s discover an incredible one, sang in a large group, and incredibly powerful, but first, let’s read the text!

Here is the doctor, lovely ladies.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO (aside)
Despina disguised, what a terrible sight!DESPINA
Salvete amabiles bones puelles.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
He speaks a language that we don’t know.DESPINA
Let us speak then as you command.
I know Greek and Arabic,
I know Turkish and Vandalic,
and I also know how to speak
Swabian and Tartar.DON ALFONSO
Save all those languages for yourself:
for the present observe those wretches.
They’ve taken poison.
What can be done?
Doctor, what can be done?DESPINA
(feeling the pulse and the forehead,
first of one, then the other)

First I must know the cause,
then the nature of the potion;
whether hot or cold,
whether small or large,
whether in one dose, or in several.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA, DON ALFONSO
They’ve taken arsenic, Doctor;
they drank it here.
The cause is love,
and they swallowed it in one gulp.DESPINA
Don’t be worried, don’t be upset;
here is a proof of my power.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA, DON ALFONSO
He has taken an implement in hand.DESPINA
This is that piece of magnet,
Mesmer’s stone,
that originated in Germany,
then was so famous
there in France.
(With part of the magnet she touches the heads of
Ferrando and Guglielmo, then draws it gently along
their bodies.)
How they move, writhe, stir!
Soon they will strike their skulls on the ground.DESPINA
Ah, hold their foreheads up.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
Here we are, ready!DESPINA
Hold on tight. Be brave!
Now you are freed from death.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA, DON ALFONSO
They look around, they recover strength.
Ah, this doctor is worth a fortune.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO (standing up)
Where am I? What place is this?
Who is he? Who are they?
Am I before Jove’s throne?
Are you Pallas, or Venus?
No, you are my heart, my goddess;
I recognise your sweet face
and the hand that now I well know
and which is my only treasure.
(They tenderly embrace the girls
and kiss their hands.)
These are still effects of the poison.
That may be true, but all these grimaces
are harmful to our honor.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO (aside)
From my desire to laugh
my lungs are about to burst.
(to the women)
Have mercy, my lovely idol!FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
I can resist no longer!FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO
Turn your happy eyes towards me.DESPINA, DON ALFONSO
These are still effects of the poison.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
I can resist no longer!DESPINA, DON ALFONSO
Very soon you will see
that by virtue of the magnetism
the spasms will end,
and they will be their former selves.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO (aside)
From my desire, etc.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
I can resist, etc.DESPINA, DON ALFONSO
These are still effects of the poison.
Have no fear, etc.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO
Give me a kiss, o my treasure,
a single kiss, or I’ll die here.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
Humor them, out of kindness.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
Ah, too much is asked
of an honest, loyal mistress;
my faithfulness is outraged,
A jollier little picture
was never seen in this world.
The thing that makes me laugh the most
is that anger and that rage, etc.FIORDILIGI, DORABELLA
Desperate, poisoned,
go to the devil, one and all!
Later you will truly be sorry,
if my fury increases! etc.FERRANDO, GUGLIELMO (aside)
But I do not know if that anger
and rage is feigned or real.
Nor would I like all that fire
to end in the fire of love, etc.DESPINA, DON ALFONSO (aside)
I well know that all that fire
will change into the fire of love, etc.

And now let’s enjoy the aria!

Isn’t it wonderful, even if at times, a tad silly?


And of course, this reminds me of another “goddess”, the beautiful Rita, in this excerpt of “Down to Earth”, by Hall, in 1947, embodying Terpsichore: an other “over the top” story, but equally charming, which I am sure, Mozart would have also loved!







Loving …

Eternal butterflies 😊