Farce, flirtation, fidelity and flannel.
Mozart’s charming comic opera Così fan tutte concludes Manitoba Opera's celebratory 50th anniversary season.
“There's something about this piece that’s just different from all the other (Mozart operas), in that it reaches another height,” says director Rob Herriot.
Premiered in 1790, a year before Mozart’s premature death at 35, Così fan tutte is the last of the composer’s fruitful collaborations with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, alongside Marriage of Figaro (1786), and Don Giovanni (1787).
Written at the height of his abilities, Mozart’s music provides all the guide needed for Herriot, who calls the work "one of (his) favourite Mozart operas.”
“If you try and be clever and reinvent the wheel, you’re doing a disservice to what Mozart wrote,” he explains. “You have to take the material that you have and really let Mozart shine.”
Featured in the production are a number of singers making the Manitoba Opera debut – including soprano Jamie Groote (Fiordiligi), mezzo-soprano Danielle MacMillan (Dorabella), and tenor Jean-Philippe Lazure (Ferrando) – plus some familiar faces, such as Johnathon Kirby (Guglielmo), David Watson (Don Alfonso) in his 51st Manitoba Opera production and soprano Tracy Dahl, who made her debut in 1982.
In a career that has taken her around the world, singing on some of the grandest stages and in the most renowned concert halls, Dahl fondly recalls that first performance with the organization.
“I’ll never forget that first time singing on the stage with an orchestra in the hall,” says Dahl. “It was like a drug.”
Singing the role of the wily servant Despina, Dahl relishes the opportunity to portray a comic character – stirring the pot, driving the drama forward through plenty of hijinks and disguises.
“I would say the last fifteen years of my career have been doing a lot of ladies who die, or are killed,” says Dahl. “It’s really fun to get back into the comic side of the repertoire.”
Set in pre-war 1930s, this production features a distinctly Canadian twist. Fiordiligi and her sister, Dorabella, are two young very stylish Italians who travel to Canada on vacation, where they meet two Mounties at an elegant resort hotel in the rugged wilderness.
The idea for this “Canuck Così” came from Manitoba Opera Director of Production and Designer Sheldon Johnson, explains Herriot, who was approached to direct the show.
“The collaboration has been fantastic,” says Herriot.
Manitoba Opera’s Così fan tutte opens 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at the Centennial Concert Hall with a second performance 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 25 and closing night 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 28.
Visit: www.mbopera.ca for more details and tickets.