Cosi fan tutte

Cosi fan tutte
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Opera Queensland. Conservatorium Theatre, Brisbane. Original Director: Sue Rider. Re-Study. Director: David Berthold. Conductor: Stephen Mould. 9 to 30 July 2011.

Opera Queensland have dusted of their 2000 production of Cosi fan tutte, director David Berthold has looked at it with fresh eyes, and the result is an excellent example of what opera buffa should be – witty, insouciant, and a musical delight. Mozart’s 1790 opera about infidelity, partner swapping, and cheating, is as contemporary as the pages of today’s street press.

Leanne Kenneally and Zoe Taylor as the two sisters Fiordigili and Dorabella set the tone of the piece with their effortless handling of the showy colaratura duets, a feature of this score. Company stalwarts, Shaun Brown and Virgilio Marino as the two brothers Guglielmo and Ferrando, in love with the sisters also sang well, as did Stephen Bennett as the elder brother Don Alfonso.

But it was Emily Burke as Despina who really stole the show. It was a perfect part for Burke and she was perfect in it. Gloriously funny in her two drag disguises she was the lynch-pin that held the whole piece together. I have rarely seen her give a better performance.

Christopher Smith’s almost cubist set was spare but effective (ideal for touring which this production is about to do), David Walters’ lighting was bright, and Stephen Mould was the busiest  man on the night skillfully leading the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and also playing the Harpsichord Continuo under the recitative.

Peter Pinne

Image: Ferrando (Virgilio Marino), Dorabella (Zoe Taylor), Fiordiligi (Leanne Kenneally) and Guglielmo (Shaun Brown).

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