Cosi Fan Tutte
Review by Willard Manus

LA Opera followed Tchaikovsky with Mozart, mounting a bright, buoyant, fresh-voiced production of COSI FAN TUTTE, one of the most beloved operas of all time.

Originally created by Nicholas Hytner for Glynebourne Festival Opera, this COSI FAN TUTTE starred six of the finest young singers

on the scene today: Saimir Pirgu, Ildebrando D'Arcangelo, Lorenzo Regazzo, Aleksandra Kurzak, Ruxandra Donose and Roxana Constantinescu. They not only effortlessly handled Mozart's vocal challenges, but acted with flair and skill, making real people out of opera buffa characters.

Vicki Mortimer's set (faux Italian marble) and costumes (soft pastels) helped give the story a modern, sleek look. In keeping with that, the young soldiers Ferrando (Pirgu) and Guglielmo (D'Arcangelo) dispensed with the usual elaborate disguises (crazy get-ups, massive moustaches) when they tested the fidelity of their teenaged fiancees, Fiordiligi (Kurzak) and Dorabella (Donose). Hytner (and his successor, Ashley Dean) allowed the audience to use its imagination for a change.

The cynic Don Alfonso (Regazzo) was interpreted in a fresh way as well. Instead of playing him as a crabby old man, Regazzo made him youthful and vigorous, keeping tongue firmly planted in cheek while commenting on the inherent faithlessness of women. Even the sisters' bawdy maid Despina (Constantinescu) kept a twinkle in her unromantic eye. She also had fun lampooning a Mesmer-like doctor and a pretentious notary public.

The music supporting all of COSI'S complicated love stories (and intrigues) is by turns sublime and captivating, elegant and poignant. As one famous critic said, it is music that "pierces the heart and ravishes the ear." Conductor James Conlon attacked Mozart's score with gusto, bringing it to vibrant life.

(In November, LA Opera will mount a production of Charles Gounod's Romeo et Juliette, starring Placido Domingo).

Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave. Contact 213-972-8001 or