ROCHESTER, NY The Eastman Opera Theatre will bring Mozarts final comic opera, the entertaining Cosí fan tutte, to the Eastman Theatre stage this spring. Performances will be at 8 p.m., Thursday-Saturday, March 30-April 1, and at 2 p.m., Sunday, April 2.
Best described as a morality play disguised as a bedroom farce, Cosí fan tutte (which, translated, means "All Women Do the Same") is one of Mozarts most frequently performed operas. With a libretto by Lorenzo DaPonte, the story centers around the willingness of two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, to bet against their friend Don Alfonzo that their respective fiancées, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, will remain true to them no matter what the temptation.
Originally set in 18th century Naples, Eastmans production has been moved to late 19th century (specifically, the 1890s) Venice by director Steven Daigle, dramatic director of Eastman Opera Theatre, and set designer Mary Griswold.
"We wanted to create an Impressionistic look and feel to the opera, since the story lends itself perfectly to the qualities of that era," said Daigle. "There is no background history given to the characters. What seems to be important to DaPonte and Mozart is to create a fresh and new vision to the age-old subject of love and fidelity."
The opera, which will be sung in Italian, features two alternating casts of Eastman voice students, accompanied by the Eastman Philharmonia. The orchestra will be conducted by Benton Hess, a visiting professor of voice and opera. Students in leading roles include Aaron Guckian and Kirk Dougherty as Ferrando; Dan Spiota and Brad Alexander as Guglielmo; Wade Woodward and Ricard Mercado as Don Alfonso; Nicole Kenley and Angela Baade as Fiordiligi; Amber Smoke and Sarah Lambert as Dorabella; and Tiffany Blake and Holly Bae as Despina.
General admission tickets to the opera are $15, with discounts available to University of Rochester faculty, staff, and students. They are available in advance at Ticket Express, 100 East Ave., or by calling 222-5000. They also will be available at the door one hour prior to the start of each performance.
The Friends of Eastman Opera are sponsoring an opening-night dinner at Villa DEste (the former Rochester Club Ballroom), 120 East Ave. The event, open to the public, begins with a cash bar at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m. It features guest speaker Carol Webber, Eastman professor of voice. Tickets, which include dinner and reserved seating for the performance, are $55 per person. For reservations, call 442-8069.