Sunday, January 18, 2004

Cosi fan tutte / tutti

The singers were excellent but the night was long. Tenor John McVeigh in particular was excellent. His singing was outstanding and he has an understated but very real comic presence as well. The conductor took every single repeat and the show didn't start on time. The costume of the "Albanians" was sort of like that of the zouaves in the old Buster Keaton short, "The Plahouse." Setting Cosi fan tutte at the Coronado 'round the turn of the century was not a bad idea, though it probably resonated more with the inhabitants of San Diego, for whom the production was first designed. Is the slogan "opera worth seeing" a good one? Not for me. If there's a choice between opera worth hearing and opera worth seeing, it's easy to choose. Our first performance of this opera was a UT student production in which the young women were much better singers than the young men, and the "Albanian" costumes were rather like the one sported by Johnny Carson when he used to play a magician or mind-reader or whatever he was doing when he'd tap an envelope against his forehead and then open it. The Despina of the student production used to play all the roles of that sort and was very good. On our way back home we took the scenic route via the east side and were surprised to see that the Espuela de Oro was doing so much business that there were a couple of ParKings directing vehicles. Coincidentally, I just read a mystery by Michael Dibdin (interview), set in Naples this time. Cosi Fan Tutti isn't much of a mystery, but the short chapters make for good evening reading and the chapter heads are taken from the opera, which is a funny conceit. The plot incorporates a sort of reverse-gender version of the opera libretto


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