A confectionery delight: ‘Così fan tutte’ in Grass Valley | TheUnion.com

A confectionery delight: ‘Così fan tutte’ in Grass Valley

John Deaderick
Special to Prospector

Mozart's comic opera, "Così fan tutte," is loosely translated as "They (Women) All Act Like That." The play is ultimately about the fidelity of men and women, but focusing on the comedy that surrounds the topic.

This Saturday at Grass Valley's Del Oro Theatre Sierra Theaters presents Mozart's "Così fan tutte" as the latest offering of new season of The Met Opera Live in HD.

Sexism has never been so lively and fun, and well, tuneful. Mozart's delightful comic opera, loosely translated as "They (Women) All Act Like That," begins ostensibly as a test of female fidelity. The cynical Don Alfonso challenges two young officers, Fernando and Guglielmo, that their fiancées, Dorabella and Fiordiligi respectively, will never remain faithful.

The men rally to their intendeds' defense, and Don Alfonso puts them to the test. A wager is placed on the young women's honor. Don Alfonso then interrupts Dorabella and Fiordiligi as they sing passionately of their betrotheds. He tells them their young soldiers have been called away to war. Alas! The men return for farewells in one of Mozart's most splendid quintets.

Complications arise, naturally; the maid Despina encourages the women to, shall we say, enjoy themselves in their lovers' absence as the men are sure to be unfaithful, as they are men. The soldiers reappear, disguised as Albanians, and begin to woo the pair. Fake suicide attempts follow, protestations of fidelity amid a weakening resolve lead to an incredibly beautiful sextet that ends the first act.

The Met unveils Phelim McDermott's colorful new production set in the Coney Island of the 1950s. Genuine carnival sideshow acts — bearded ladies and fire eaters — add to the mayhem and the spectacle. Somehow, this works; da Ponte's libretto reveals its universality no matter the setting.

The production represents a bold departure for the usually conservative Met. I say "Bravo!"

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No one, but no one, writes more ravishing music for the voice than Mozart. If you are a fan of truly beautiful (and exceedingly difficult) vocal music, "Così" is for you. And perhaps surprisingly, beneath all the silliness, the disguises, the plot turns, the opera does have something serious to say about the nature of love.

Think of this as an exquisite chocolate mousse, with just the slightest hint of bittersweet. Enjoy!

John Deaderick is a theater artist and the author of "Make Sweet the Minds of Men: Early Opera and Tragic Catharsis," available at Amazon.com.

Know & Go

WHO: The Del Oro Theatre

WHAT: The Metropolitan Opera, LIVE in HD – “Così fan tutte”

WHEN: 9:55 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Del Oro Theatre, 165 Mill Street, Grass Valley

TICKETS: $22 adults, $20 seniors, $18 children 12 and under & students with ID; Available online at http://www.sierratheaters.com or at the Del Oro Box Office

INFO: Visit http://www.sierratheaters.com or call 530-477-1100 for more information

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