Monday, October 18, 2010

Review of Opera Carolina's "Cosi Fan Tutte"

There are many reasons art enriches life. Besides its beauty and its spectacle, it speaks truth.

Recently, I've been musing a lot about the role of love in one's life. It's very easy to somehow forget how transformational true love really is. We all get busy with work, family and just day-to-day life and even if we have a beloved in our lives; it becomes very easy to forget the magic.

Opera Carolina's premier offering of the season, Mozart's "Cosi Fan Tutte" reminded me just how important love really is. And more importantly not questioning or testing love but believing, accepting and surrendering to its power.

At the heart of the story lies two sisters who are faithfully devoted to their beaus. However a world weary older man convinces their boyfriends that they could be swayed by their devotion. And therein the plot unfolds.

To say more might ruin the fun. But take a dash of "The Road" movies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby, add some modern goddesses and add some the lushly inspired music of one of the world's greatest composers and you begin to understand what a delightful experience "Cosi" offers.

James Meena's thoughtful staging of the show really helped make the plot relevant and realistic. Originally Mozart wrote this as a contemporary piece in the 1790s but Meena updated the period to the 1920s/30s and used a somewhat contemporary set from "The Transit of Venus." This helps make the opera far more approachable than if it had stayed in the 18th century. Even though stories of love are universal, the updated staging and costumes helps the audience just relax and slip into the beautiful arias.

The opera talent on stage -the combined talents of Robert Mack (Ferrando), Caitlin Lynch (Fiordiligi), Elizabeth Stannard (Dorabella) and Marian Pop (Guglielmo) - are uniformly spectacular. Together with Sarah Callinan and Krisopher Irmiter, as Despina and Don Alfonso, respectively, the cast puts forth a world class offering. They make the quartets and sextets reach incredible heights as well as shine in their solo arias.

Ultimately the story leaves you wondering to the end how this romantic folly will play out. But I walked away feeling more hopeful about love than before and being grateful how great art can inspire great living. See "Cosi Fan Tutte" before its run finishes this week at the Belk and remember the magic of love!

To learn more or purchase tickets, visit CarolinaTix.

Alison Woo
Carolina Weekly Newsgroup

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