Cosi Fan Tutte review - Kate Herbert

Director, Suzanne Chaundy, transposes Cosi Fan Tutte forward several centuries from 1790 into the 1960s to bring a fresh view to Mozart’s much loved, comic opera.

Greg Hocking confidently conducts the polished Melbourne Opera Orchestra playing Mozart’s cheerfully diverting score.

There are two casts alternating nights for this production and I saw Cast Two featuring Emily Xiao Wang singing Fiordiligi with a pretty, effortless soprano and Angela Hogan singing Dorabella with a warm mezzo and plenty of vibrato.

Roy Best’s sings the young soldier, Ferrando, with a powerful, bright tenor, and Nathan Lay’s warm baritone as Guglielmo is a fine compliment in their duets.

Don Alfonso (Ian Cousins with a dubious Italian accent), in cahoots with the maid, Despina, (Nicole Wallace as an entertaining 60s tart) convinces the young soldiers to test their darlings’ fidelity.

Chaundy capitalises on the 1960s sexual liberation to elucidate their story, introducing a chorus of doped up hippies carrying Make Love Not War placards to protest against the soldiers who depart for Vietnam.

Although the caricatures and clowning are sometimes awkward and the staging of the chorus crowded, these voices blend happily in Mozart’s complex harmonies.

Kate Herbert - reviewer for Herald Sun
15 July 2012

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