Cosi Fan Tutte

Royal Opera of Versailles (Palace of Versailles), Paris, France
All photos (6)
Wednesday 18 January 2023

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Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Paris, France
Starts at: 19:30
Overview

It is perhaps, along with Wagner's Tetralogy, the most famous cycle in opera: between 1786 and 1790, Mozart and Da Ponte signed their famous Trilogy comprising three major operas, The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), and Così fan tutte (1790). In truth, in Mozart's vast output, these three works are perhaps the most accomplished, thanks to his librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte. The latter, a key figure in Vienna, not only brought Mozart success, but also librettos tailored for the composer's genius. For music is at its most beautiful, and the three works give the listener no rest, with a succession of situations, arias, duets and sumptuous ensembles.

Their common points are very powerful: three Italian operas, in the buffa style, three "drama giocoso", intended for the troupe of the Vienna Opera; each  presents the action condensed in a single day, a guarantee of urgency and brilliance; the French influence is evident everywhere: Figaro inspired by Beaumarchais, Don Giovanni echoing the rebellious and flamboyant character illustrated by Molière, and Così in a style drawn from Marivaux and the French comic opera that was very popular in Vienna. Finally, it is the spirit of freedom that unites these three works and still speaks to us today, although in its time it was particularly daring. The heroes of the Trilogy are certainly libertines: in politics for Figaro who, like Beaumarchais, breaks social barriers and leads the game, in religion for Don Giovanni who defies God as "the great lord who has turned into an evil man" he is, and lastly in love all the time, especially in Così, whose four protagonists play a game that is as entertaining as it is imprudent....

Così fan tutte, or The School for Lovers, is the last joint opera buffa by Mozart and Da Ponte. Emperor Joseph II, who had enjoyed their Marriage of Figaro, commissioned a new work, inspired by a news item that had amused the whole of Vienna: in Trieste, two officers had swapped wives! The libretto and score were written in a month in December 1789, and the premiere took place at the end of January 1790, but the death of the Emperor interrupted the run after five performances. This Neapolitan-style comedy (the action is set in Naples!), but very much inspired by French comic opera, and in particular by Femmes Vengées composed by Philidor in 1775 to a libretto by Sedaine (which was performed in Vienna), where two women wanting to teach their husbands a lesson exchange their roles by cross-dressing... in order to seduce them and confuse them better! Twenty years later, Mozart and Da Ponte found exceptional inspiration for this comedy of manners in the spirit of Marivaux, where love, beauty and cruelty are subtly intertwined, until all hell breaks loose for some anthological moments!    

The three operas of this famous Trilogy are presented here together over three days, in the order of their composition. The characters (and their interpreters) travel from one work to the next, as so many bonds of love and power run through these three emblematic operas, to the point of imagining that they could be three acts of an exceptional whole. In any case, this is the vision selected by Ivan Alexander and Marc Minkowski, in the flexible set of trestles and sails designed by Antoine Fontaine for the stage of the Drottningholm Historical Theatre and the Royal Opera of Versailles. The great challenge of this "complete" project is for the singers to have nearly 9 hours of music in their heads and in their voices, without being able to rehearse or rest between each evening... The ace team brought together for this project with the Musiciens du Louvre, will bring it to a climax! And the challenge for the spectator is obviously here, to see the three operas in three successive days, to be more than ever dazzled by an absolute concentrate of Mozart’s genius!

Original production : an  Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles, Drottningholms Slottsteater coproduction
Coproduction of the Trilogie : Opéra National de Bordeaux, Fundació del Gran Teatre del Liceu, Opéra Royal / Château de Versailles Spectacles

History
Premiere of this production: 26 January 1790, Burgtheater, Vienna

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (All Women Do It, or The School for Lovers), is an Italian-language opera buffa in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed on 26 January 1790 at the Burgtheater in Vienna, Austria. The libretto was written by Lorenzo Da Ponte who also wrote Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.

Venue Info

Royal Opera of Versailles (Palace of Versailles) - Paris
Location   3 Place Léon Gambetta, Versailles

The Royal Opera of Versailles is the main theatre and opera house of the Palace of Versailles. The Royal Opera is one of the greatest works by the architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel. Inaugurated in 1770 during the reign of Louis XV, it was at the time the largest concert hall in Europe, and was also a great technical achievement and an impressive feat of decorative refinement. A theatre for monarchic and then republican life, it has hosted celebrations, shows and parliamentary debates.

Designed by Ange-Jacques Gabriel, it is also known as the Théâtre Gabriel. The interior decoration by Augustin Pajou is constructed almost entirely of wood, painted to resemble marble in a technique known as faux marble. The excellent acoustics of the opera house is at least partly due to its wooden interior.

The house is located at the northern extremity of the north wing of the palace. General public access to the theater is gained through the two-story vestibule. Some parts of the Opéra, such as the King's Loge and the King's Boudoir represent some of the earliest expressions of what would become known as the Louis XVI style.

Lully’s Persée — written in 1682, the year Louis XIV moved into the palace — inaugurated the Opéra on 16 May 1770 in celebration of the marriage of the dauphin — the future Louis XVI — to Marie Antoinette.

The Opéra Royal can serve either as a theater for opera, stage plays, or orchestral events, when it can accommodate an audience of 712 or as a ballroom when the floor of the orchestra level of the auditorium can be raised to the level of the stage. On these occasions, the Opéra can accommodate 1,200.

Important Info
Type: Opera
City: Paris, France
Starts at: 19:30