The University of Louisville ’s school of music put on Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte opera over the weekend at the Kentucky Center. Backed by the school’s wonderful orchestra, the small group of singers showed poise and talent that brought the production to a professional level.
Cosi fan Tutte, translated as “All women are like that”, tells of an older lord, Don Alfonso, who wagers two young officers that their fiancés are not as faithful as the stricken lovers would believe. Alfonso concocts a plan in which the two young men pretend to leave for battle, put on disguises, and return trying to court their women, thus tempting their faithfulness. Apart from the egregiously sexist moral, the opera benefitted greatly from comedic turns that succeeded with the cast’s energy. They clearly dedicated themselves to this performance. While the level of vocal mastery ranged from competent to breathtaking, everyone involved gave the opera their complete, dedicated efforts.
Though the subject matter suffered from cultural hindsight, and there seemed to be some extended technical difficulties with the English projected subtitles, the production went beautifully. Chloe BlainRichard, who played Fiordiligi when I attended, performed with such a striking control. The glowing intensity she gave to her arias made them simply breathtaking. Haley De Witt as the conniving, deceitful Despina, donned her own tricky disguises and changed her whole demeanor, giving a subtle hilarity to many scenes. And through it all, the School of Music orchestra played with utter precision. They were a treat all their own.
The University’s School of Music should hold their heads high for offering such an enjoyable evening. The level of skill displayed speaks very well of their instruction and continued support to offer their students and the community at large. I hope they are able to hold more centerpieces that highlight the students’ accomplishments. It stands as a gift to the city and a representation of the cultural sophistication that Louisville can offer.
Image: Courtesy of University of Louisville School of Music