Author: Christine Richard OBE FRSA

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Monday, August 29th, 2016 at 3:28 pm
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Music Reviews

Cosi Fan Tutte

Mozart with darker interpretation.

When the programme notes accompanying a Festival high-end production run to 12 pages, I wonder if it takes away some of the magic of the unfolding performance?

The Edinburgh Festival Theatre was the venue for the opera, Cosi Fan Tutte, the work of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 91) with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. In advance, the public had been made aware of the graphic and sometimes brutal nature of this version of the tale of love, deception and intrigue. Personally I found some of the performance contained nugatory scenes of quasi violence and were excessive.

On a more positive note, the large cast of principals, singers, actors and chorus as well as musicians were, as one would expect, highly professional. Indeed, the more enjoyable lighter music from Andante (slow) to Allegro (fast) were deliberate and offset the more bleak parts, providing almost a musical irony.

The underlying tale of love and betrayal is, of course, one of the enduring themes of opera and this one is no exception. In the second half comedy gets an airing, which lightens the mood. There is no moralizing overtly and, somehow, the contradictory elements in this tale of triumph and disaster, worked well enough.

The length of the programme – three and a half hours – was a challenge to many of the audience, in particular older people with disabilities although we all knew in advance the length of the programme and there was an interval, which I think  helped the artistes too.

However, the music was first class and Director, Christopher Honore could take pride in bringing together this large cast of singers, musicians, actors, chorus and soloists who brought together the relatively simple story of love, deceit and, eventually ‘Happy Ever After’ for the main characters – the two couples reunited. Similarly the music conductor of the Freiburger Barockorchester, Jeremie Rhoter did an excellent job.

In summary, I was glad to have seen this production and the opinions expressed in the article are personal ones, whether critical or complimentary.

The programme was funded by the Edinburgh International Festival Opera Development Fund.


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