My Musical November: “Cosi Fan Tutte”

I caught the third and final performance over the weekend of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte.” A presentation of Juilliard’s Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts, conducted by Nimrod David Pfeffer and directed by faculty member David Paul,. The production’s three hours flew by as swiftly as any “Cosi” I’ve ever seen. Set at Naples West High School, in modern-day America, the evening (mostly) escaped the sense that the story was being shoehorned into a contemporary conceit. The story relies on such a giant suspension of disbelief — that the young women Dorabella and Fiordiligli don’t recognize their lovers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, who are trying to trick them into infidelity — that I was happy to allow myself to be gullible about all the details in the libretto that don’t quite jibe with 2019. The audience’s heartiest approval went to the mezzo Megan Moore, as Dorabella. Possessed of a beautiful, full voice at mid- and lower registers, Moore powered through two signature arias. I was equally happy, however, with the rest of the ensemble, especially the lovely tenor of James Ley, as Ferrando. Other cast members included: Kathleen O’Mara as Fiordiligi, William Socolof as Don Alfonso, Erik van Heyningen as Guglielmo, and Mer Wohlgemuth as Despina. So happy I got a chance to hear all of them!

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