March 06, 2019

COSÌ FAN TUTTE: Mozart’s Delightful Battle of the Sexes On Deck This Winter

"Modern-day audiences tend to regard the condescending sexism at the core of Così fan tutte with an indulgent eye, given the abundant delights of Mozart's music and the rich opportunities it gives singers to savor its rueful laughter. The real problem is striking a balance between the opera's serious and comic elements, something few stagings get right. Lyric Opera got it emphatically right with its splendid production of Così …the work made a welcome return in a smart, beautifully realized production by John Cox, from San Francisco Opera."

These were the words of the Chicago Tribune’s John von Rhein in 2007 when this vibrant production of Mozart’s delightful romantic comedy, Così fan tuttemade its Chicago debut. The opera – which tells the story of two young men who are challenged by a confirmed bachelor friend to test the fidelity of their girlfriends – is set in the Mediterranean at the dawn of World War I. A whimsical and colorful set replete with striped umbrellas and a blue sea in the background sets the stage for Mozart’s shenanigans. Mistaken identities and romantic overtures abound in this thought-provoking battle of the sexes.

Lyric is excited to bring this favorite to life with a star cast of today’s brightest talent, including the two central couples who will keep the laughs coming and the arias soaring:

From Don Giovanni’s Donna Elvira and Eugene Onegin’s Tatyana to the title role in RusalkaAna María Martínez (Fiordiligi) has lit up Lyric’s stage many times. The Chicago Tribunepraises her “vibrant, shining soprano" that received "properly thunderous ovations" for her Ravinia performance in this glorious role.

Lyric audiences got to know tenor Andrew Stenson (Ferrando) in his successful debut as Gen in the world premiere of Bel Canto in 2015/16. Lyric audiences can look forward to hearing his “crisp, assured tenor” (Opera News) as he returns as half of the duplicitous male duo in Così.

Marianne Crebassa (Dorabella) was hailed for her adorable characterization of Romeo’s page Stephano in Romeo and Juliet at Lyric (debut, 2015/16). Gramophone magazine praises her “wide-ranging voice, with an appealing tang in her lower registers and a soprano-like brilliance at the top, which allows her to ascend effortlessly to the high C.”

Joshua Hopkins (Guglielmo) deeply impressed Lyric audiences as the violinist Tadeusz in The Passenger (debut, 2014/15) and in his return as Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Now the Canadian baritone will show his prowess as a comedian. He’ll bring a “glistening, malleable baritone of exceptional beauty” (Opera Today) to Mozart’s Guglielmo.

Playing the cynical philosopher and the vivacious maid are a longtime Lyric favorite and a new discovery: 

Alessandro Corbelli (Don Alfonso), a truly great artist, “sensational” and “hysterically funny,” invariably boasts “the most commanding presence” (The Guardian) -- as the Italian baritone has shown Lyric audiences throughout his illustrious career.

Elena Tsallagova (Despina), “the spritely and sparkling Russian soprano…the very incarnation of nimble Puckish mischief,” will be making her eagerly awaited American debut in Lyric’s Così!

Lyric presentation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte generously made possible by

Lead sponsor

The Negaunee Foundation


Randy L. and Melvin R. Berlin

Marion A. Cameron

Nancy and Sanfred Koltun

Così fan tutte is a joint production of Opéra de Monte-Carlo and San Francisco Opera.

Photo: Cory Weaver/San Francisco Opera