At the Metropolitan Opera, NYC, April 2018 –
Mozart, the Met, and Spring in New York…what more could one wish for? Some Spring weather, perhaps?
Cosi Fan Tutte has the most preposterous plot in all opera, which takes in a lot of territory. But Mozart’s music rolls along so merrily that it doesn’t matter, and the piece can survive, and even be enhanced by throwing the switch to vaudeville, as director Phelim McDermott does here by re-imagining the action in 1950s Coney Island.
Lucy and Desi and Ethel and Fred…ah, no, sorry, let’s start again: Ferrando (Ben Bliss) and Guglielmo (Adam Plachetka) plan to wed beloved sisters Fiordiligi (Amanda Majeski) and Dorabella (Serena Malfi) but cynic/realist Don Alfonso (Christopher Maltman), with the help of knowing maid Despina (Kelli O’Hara) plan to undermine the lad’s sanguinity concerning the faithfulness of their fiancés. That’s basically it, but the great, cheesy sets (by Tom Pye) encapsulate the horrid 1950s well, added to which we have a carnival atmosphere reflecting the saltiness of the story.
The obvious stand-outs on the night were Majeski and O’Hara, great actors and wonderful singers, but the entire cast were superb, including non-singing support. Credit also deft and amusing directorial touches and great playing by the Met orchestra under David Robertson, which made it a great evening. To this Wagnerian, Cosi is wafer-thin but a lot of fun.