The battle of the sexes will prove that some battles get some laughs on Saturday when K Cineplex theatres in Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos will screen a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comedy Cosi Fan Tutte as performed at the Metropolitan Opera.
This production by Phelim McDermott brings together a winning cast, who perform against a backdrop of fantastic stage designs that play their own part in the opera. This clever vision is set in a carnival-esque, funhouse environment inspired by 1950s Coney Island – complete with bearded ladies, fire eaters and a Ferris wheel. Manipulating the action are the Don Alfonso of Christopher Maltman and Despina of Tony Award–winner Kelli O’Hara, with Amanda Majeski, Serena Malfi, Ben Bliss and Adam Plachetka as the pairs of young lovers who test each other’s faithfulness.
The story begins in a café where two officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, talk about how much they are certain that their fiancées (sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi) will be eternally faithful. Then their cynical friend Don Alfonso claims that there is no such thing as a faithful woman and what follows is a wager with the two officers that he can prove, in one day, that their fiancées are fickle. The officers pretend to be called off to war while actually disguising themselves in an attempt to seduce the other’s lover.
The first act then turns to the women who are praising their men and are broken hearted when they learn that they will be going off to war. Once they are left alone, the two women are wooed by each other’s lovers. After being rejected the strangers say they have taken poison, and after the doctor (their maid in disguise) has drawn out the poison from their bodies, they ask for a kiss to fully recover. They are again rejected.
After the sister’s maid has lectured them on how to handle men, they agree that there is no harm in flirting. The final scene opens with a double wedding but we won’t reveal who marries who and who won the wager.
Cosi Fan Tutte (which means Thus do All Women or more commonly translated into Women are Like That) premiered in Vienna at the Court Theatre in 1790. It was to be the third and final collaboration between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. It was to be a comedy of manners with a look into the dark side of human nature. It is not a new story – as Shakespeare for example, touched on this theme a number of times – but it had a modern tone to it when it was first staged.
The opera was only moderately successful at its premiere and remained just outside the standard repertoire for more than a century.
Cosi Fan Tutte
Screening of the opera performed at the Met. March 31. K Cineplex Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos. 7.55pm. €14/18. Tel: 77-778383