From March 24-27, The School of Music, Theatre & Dance will put on a production of Mozart’s last great opera, “Così Fan Tutte” at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. “Così Fan Tutte” literally translates to “Women are like that;” it is a comedy following the story of two women, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, and their respective beaus, Ferrando and Guglielmo. As the men are bragging about the fidelity and commitment of their women, a misogynistic older friend of theirs, Don Alfonso, bets 100 gold pieces that, if they follow everything he says, their women will betray them. Through a series of comical antics and schemes, the relationships take tumultuous turns, and all characters are faced with confusion and confronted with situations regarding their own faithfulness.
An incredibly immense amount of work has gone into this production: the opera was cast in October, and the performers got their scores in November. Music rehearsals began in January as soon as the Winter semester began, with staging beginning mid-February. Rehearsals with the live orchestra started a few weeks ago, and rehearsals on the Lydia Mendelssohn stage began just last week.
“The whole process has been an absolute blast,” said Josh Lovell, a first-year Masters student, in an interview with The Michigan Daily. “This is a very intense show for all of us. It’s great to do this as a part of the University of Michigan, where you are working with professionals who can coach you along the way.”
Lovell, who worked professionally with the Pacific Opera Victoria in Canada prior to beginning his studies at the University, will be playing the lead role of Ferrando, one of the two men trying to prove their significant other’s loyalty.
“Mozart writes realist stories with realistic characters that are all about the human condition. It’s a story that anyone can connect to,” Lovell said of “Così Fan Tutte.” “It’s not totally blown over the top — it is so real.”
“There’s such a high level of excitement,” said Amy Petrongelli. Petrongelli plays the role of Despina, a servant who is bribed to help Don Alfonso in getting Fiordiligi and Dorabella to be unfaithful. “Everybody is hungry. Everybody wants to be the next big thing. It creates such a fun atmosphere,” Petrongelli said of her cast mates.
Lovell agreed, saying “(The high level of excitement) builds a really nice momentum between the learning and performing process.”
The opera is in Italian, but there are supertitles above the stage that will translate everything that the performers sing.
“Sometimes operas can get really confusing, but we’re talking about love and relationships, and it’s set in modern day, so it will be really easy for the audience to understand what’s happening,” Petrongelli said.
The whimsical nature of Mozart’s composing style is evident through the humorous elements present in the music, acting and storyline.
“It’s really funny. It’s like a classical chick-flick.” Lovell said.
“Così Fan Tutte” is loved by international audiences, and is seen as one of Mozart’s three great operas, along with Don Giovanni and The Marriage of Figaro. Residents of Ann Arbor will have the opportunity to see this opera come to life next weekend.