The Summer 2013 season of the San Francisco Opera will provide Music Director Nicola Luisotti the opportunity to complete his performance of the trilogy of operas composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart for librettos by Lorenzo Da Ponte. Having performed Le nozze di Figaro (the marriage of Figaro) in 2010 and Don Giovanni in 2011, he will now conduct the last of the set, Così fan tutte (thus do all women), which Mozart composed in Vienna in 1790. Like Don Giovanni, Così has only six major roles; but Mozart is also highly economical in his use of instrumental resources. Were it not for the few scenes that require a full chorus, one could almost call it a chamber opera.
Dramatically, the narrative is as deep a study into the complexity of the human heart as were those of Così’s two predecessors; and, once again, the theme is that of fidelity. Tired of the boasts of his two young friends, Ferrando (Francesco Demuro) and Guglielmo (Philippe Sly), regarding the fidelity of their respective lovers, the sisters Fiordiligi (Ellie Dehn) and Dorabella (Christel Lötzsch), the cynical Don Alfonso (Marco Vinco) proposes a wager over just how faithful these women really are. He contrives a “cunning plan” according to which the young men will feign being called to battle, after which they will disguise themselves as Albanians. (As Anna Russell famously said about Wagner’s Ring, “I’m not making this up, you know!”) Each will then woo the other’s sweetheart. Alfonso then proceeds to tip the odds in his favor through some scheming with the sisters’ maid Despina (Susannah Biller).
What makes this the most fascinating of Da Ponte’s librettos is that; and the end of the final act, the text gives absolutely no indication of who won the bet. A double wedding is about to take place; but it is entirely up to the stage director (Jose Maria Condemi, under a co-production with the Opéra de Monte-Carlo) to decide who ends up with whom. (Peter Sellars decided that all four of them should suffer a meltdown due to the confusion of the situation.)
Così fan tutte will receive a total of seven performances in the War Memorial Opera House (301 Van Ness Avenue, at the northwest corner of Grove Street), all sung in Italian with English supertitles. Those performances are scheduled for June 9 (2 p.m.), June 12 (7:30 p.m.), June 18 (8 p.m.), June 21 (8 p.m.), June 26 (7:30 p.m.), June 29 (8 p.m.), and July 1 (7:30 p.m.). Tickets for these performances are priced from $22 to $340 and may be purchased through the event page for this production. They may also be purchased at the San Francisco Opera Box Office (in the lobby of the War Memorial Opera House) or by calling 415-864-3330. The Box Office is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. It is open for telephone orders only on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition Standing Room tickets are available at the Box Office for $10, cash only, going on sale at 10 a.m. on the day of each performance.