Così fan tutte ★★★★ London Coliseum | March 10 - 22, 2022


Mozart's Così fan tutte is always fun, but this ENO production completely captures all the silliness and sly insight of the original. Mozart and librettist, Lorenzo Da Ponte, used everything in their box of tricks to amuse and regale the audience, and to ridicule those follies of the social conventions that governed love. The young men in the piece may think they are testing their lovers' fidelity, but it is also their own unrealistic expectations that are being put to the test. The skeptic, Don Alfonso, and the charmingly capricious Despina, are perfectly played by Neal Davies and Soraya Mafi. Their singing and arch interplay is terrific. As the two officers who think they know women and understand human nature, Benson Wilson and Amitai Pati demonstrate excellent comic timing and strong voices. However, for us, the evening belongs to Nardus Williams and Hanna Hipp who in their solos, duets, and ensemble work were both quite mesmerising. Hipp's interpretation of the more amenable Dorabella was simply perfect. The Coney Island setting beautifully reinforces Mozart's delightfully comic commentary on the carnival of love, but there are moments when the spectacle threatens to overshadow the singing. Nevertheless, this is an exhilarating production that respects and enhances Mozart's brilliant opera buffa.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Lloyd Winters.

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