2017, at the Teatro Costanzi, starts with Mozart. The first new production featured in the 2016-17 Season is Così fan tutte, which is the most loved opera among Mozart and Da Ponte’s trilogy and, until today, the less performed at the at Costanzi. It was first performed in 1950 with only five other replicas until 2007.
This year’s edition is conducted by Speranza Scappucci who makes her debut as musical director on the podium of a theatre with which she has developed an emotional relationship and established a special collaboration.“When I think that on January 18 I will step on the podium of the Teatro dell’Opera of Rome – says Speranza Scappucci – I have many strong feelings and profound emotions. It’s the theatre of my city, where my parents took me since I was a child: I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t already dreamed of returning as a musician, for me it was a majestic and fabulous place; I still remember the first opera, La sonnambula. Then I came back as a student, with a different kind of commitment, and eventually it became a place of work. As a pianist I was accompanying the singers as they rehearsed their performances. On the occasion of my debut, besides directing the orchestra, I will personally accompany the recitative singing at the fortepiano.”
The stage direction is by Graham Vick, who returns to delight the Costanzi audience following his success of Mahagonny in October 2015.
Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, is an opera buffa in two acts, it is the third and last of the three Italian operas written by the Salzburg composer, and it is based on a libretto written by Lorenzo da Ponte.
It is a work characterised by the use of a sophisticated language and it has an illustrious literary precedent. The theme of “fiancée swapping” was considered scandalous and therefore rarely dealt with by poets and writers of the period, however, before Mozart, the subject had already been explored by Ludovico Ariosto in the Orlando Furioso. ( XXVIII canto).
It was first performed at the Burgtheater in Vienna on January 26, 1790, but it still continues to be loved by the audiences. The secret of its longevity lies in the magic of Mozart’s music, in the brilliant and compelling story skilfully narrated in the verses by Lorenzo Da Ponte, who tests the strength of feelings to reveal the whole human fragility. After the first performances it was often regarded as immoral, today is considered a comedy of manners that deals with the nature of love between sexes and explores seduction and its erotic deception (and self-deception).
Everything starts with a wager on women’s faithfulness: “The faith of women / is like the phoenix; / all claim to its existence / but where it is, no-one knows”. The architecture of this dramma giocoso is based on a game of symmetries. The two pairs of protagonists (Fiordiligi and Guglielmo, Dorabella and Ferrando) are perfectly symmetrical. The exchange of couples the it follows after the wager, seems to re-establish order, with the awareness that it is really true: Così fan tutte!