March 06, 2019
The Miracle of Così fan tutte
Così fan tutte is returning to Lyric for the first time in more than a decade. A dazzling international cast – as gifted dramatically as they are musically – will shine forth in John Cox’s enchanting production.
What does Così fan tutte (That’s What All Women Do), subtitled La scuola degli amanti(The School for Lovers), a work that premiered nearly 230 years ago, have to say to a contemporary audience – this story of a cynical old philosopher who bets two young men that their fiancées can’t remain faithful for 24 hours? We asked Joshua Hopkins, the remarkable Canadian baritone who’s returning to Lyric to portray the boastful but increasingly disillusioned Guglielmo.
Joshua views this story as being “really about how young lovers behave when they’re confronted by traumatic new situations they haven’t encountered before.” Joshua believes Così resonates today because “it’s all about love and relationships, seen through the lenses of desire or suspicion. The plot takes a magnifying glass and examines the complexity of relationships between young men and women. Watching this opera is like watching the ultimate teenage rom-com.”
But Così can also be an incredibly intimate piece, “as if you were in a lawn chair in front of your newlywed neighbors’ living room, observing the most intense moments of their burgeoning relationship. We do enjoy the voyeuristic side of humanity, and seeing what’s happening on the other side of the fence.” Così resembles “holding a magnifying lens up to young love and to relationships.”
Joshua enjoys the humor, especially when Guglielmo is disguised. “He has a showpiece in Act One, where he’s singing ‘Look at my mustache, it’s so awesome.’ The humor comes in the disguise itself. He’s in disguise for most of the opera, and that’s freeing for me as an actor – I get to explore an exaggerated version of Guglielmo, and that’s a lot of fun.”
Così astonishes Joshua because of “what I would call sections of emotional color, that build a drive toward climactic moments we feel viscerally when we hear them.” To the baritone, “Mozart paints and weaves magic,” and he deeply admires the music’s deceptive simplicity: “What’s so striking about his writing is he makes it seem like anyone could do it, but no one could!”