Home Theaters Moscow Bolshoi theatre - Small Stage 7 February 2019, 19:00 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart "Cosi fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti" Opera in two acts
2019 | Thursday
Duration: 3 hours 40 minutes
World premiere: 24 May 2014

Cosi Fan Tutte, a comic tale of love tested by deception and seduction. The title, literally translated, “thus do they all” suggests that women are easily seduced and quick to fly from the arms of one love to another. The opera was a great success in its day, but for most of the nineteenth through the first half of the twentieth century, its subject matter was deemed too racy for public consumption. Since that time, it has returned to the standard repertoire and, according to recent tabulations, is the eleventh most popular opera being performed today.

Cosi fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers) is an Italian-language opera buffa in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed in 1790. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte.

Cosi fan tutte is one of the three Mozart operas for which Da Ponte wrote the libretto. The other two Da Ponte-Mozart collaborations were Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Although it is commonly held that Cosi fan tutte was written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II, recent research does not support this idea. There is evidence that Mozart's contemporary Antonio Salieri tried to set the libretto but left it unfinished. In 1994, John Rice uncovered two terzetti by Salieri in the Austrian National Library.

The title, Cosi fan tutte, literally means "Thus do all [women]" but it is often rendered as "Women are like that". The words are sung by the three men in act 2, scene 3, just before the finale. Da Ponte had used the line "Cosi fan tutte le belle" earlier in Le nozze di Figaro (in act 1, scene 7).

The first performance of Mozart's setting took place at the Burgtheater in Vienna on January 26, 1790. It was given only five times before the run was stopped by the death of the Emperor Joseph II and the resulting period of court mourning. It was performed twice in June 1790, with the composer conducting the second performance, and again in July (twice) and August (once). After that it was not played in Vienna during Mozart's lifetime. The first British performance was in May 1811, at the King's Theatre, London. Cosi fan tutte was not performed in the U.S. until 1922, when it was given at the Metropolitan Opera

According to William Mann, Mozart disliked prima donna Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, da Ponte's arrogant mistress for whom the role of Fiordiligi had been created. Knowing her idiosyncratic tendency to drop her chin on low notes and throw back her head on high ones, Mozart filled her showpiece aria Come scoglio with constant leaps from low to high and high to low in order to make Ferrarese's head "bob like a chicken" onstage.

The subject matter (see synopsis below) did not offend Viennese sensibilities of the time, but throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries it was considered risquй. The opera was rarely performed, and when it did appear it was presented in one of several bowdlerised libretti.

After World War II, it regained its place in the standard operatic repertoire. It is frequently performed and appears as number eleven on the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.

Louis Nowra uses the staging of Cosi fan tutte in a mental hospital as a background for his 1992 play Cosi.

© Photo by Damir Yusupov/Bolshoi Theatre.

Casts & Credits

Opera company: Bolshoi Opera
Conductor: Tugan Sokhiev
Bass-baritone: Nikolai Kazansky
Mezzo soprano: Alexandra Kadurina