Opera Scotland

Così fan tutte Women – all the same; The Don's Wager

Tours by decade

1930s - 1 tour

1934 - Chanticleer Opera Company
Fully staged, piano accompaniment

1940s - 3 tours

1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1948 - Glyndebourne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1949 - Glyndebourne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1950s - 1 tour

1954 - Glyndebourne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1960s - 7 tours

1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1965 - Bavarian State Opera, Munich
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1966 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1967 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1967 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1969 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1970s - 3 tours

1972 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1975 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1979 - Tayside Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1980s - 5 tours

1980 - Cologne Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1981 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1982 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1988 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1988 - Perth Festival Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

1990s - 4 tours

1990 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1992 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
1996 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
1998 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2000s - 8 tours

2000 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2001 - Edinburgh International Festival
Concert performance
2001 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2002 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2005 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2008 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2009 - Salzburg Festival
Cinema Screening
2009 - Scottish Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra

2010s - 14 tours

2010 - Opera Project
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2012 - Opera à la Carte
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
2012 - Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Concert performance
2012 - Swansea City Opera
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2013 - Opera'r Ddraig
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2013 - English Touring Opera
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Cinema Screening
2014 - Opera dei Lumi
Fully Staged, reduced orchestration
2015 - Scottish Opera
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
2015 - VoiceArc
Fully staged, piano accompaniment
2016 - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2016 - Edinburgh International Festival
Fully Staged with Orchestra
2016 - VoiceArc
Concert performance
2018 - Clyde Opera Group
Fully Staged with Orchestra

Tours by location

Scotland, UK - 128 entries

1934 - Chanticleer Opera Company
Edinburgh
1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1944 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1948 - Glyndebourne Opera
Edinburgh
1949 - Glyndebourne Opera
Edinburgh
1954 - Glyndebourne Opera
Edinburgh
1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1964 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1965 - Bavarian State Opera, Munich
Edinburgh
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Glasgow
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Aberdeen
1966 - Sadler's Wells Opera
Edinburgh
1966 - Scottish Opera
Kirkcudbright
1966 - Scottish Opera
Dunoon
1966 - Scottish Opera
Tain, Ross-shire
1966 - Scottish Opera
Duns, Berwickshire
1967 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1967 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1967 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1967 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1967 - Scottish Opera
Pitlochry
1969 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1969 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1969 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1969 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1972 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1972 - Scottish Opera
Perth
1972 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1972 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1972 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1975 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1979 - Tayside Opera
Dundee
1980 - Cologne Opera
Edinburgh
1981 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1982 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1988 - Perth Festival Opera
Perth
1988 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1988 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
1988 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
1988 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1990 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1990 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1990 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1992 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1992 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
1992 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1996 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
1996 - Scottish Opera
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
1996 - Scottish Opera
Ullapool
1996 - Scottish Opera
Portree, Isle of Skye
1996 - Scottish Opera
Acharacle
1996 - Scottish Opera
Thurso, Caithness
1996 - Scottish Opera
Kirkwall, Orkney
1996 - Scottish Opera
Kinlochbervie
1996 - Scottish Opera
Linlithgow
1996 - Scottish Opera
Dunfermline
1996 - Scottish Opera
Galashiels
1996 - Scottish Opera
Arran
1996 - Scottish Opera
Stranraer, Wigtownshire
1996 - Scottish Opera
Banchory, Kincardineshire
1996 - Scottish Opera
Dornoch
1996 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
1996 - Scottish Opera
Alloa
1996 - Scottish Opera
Oban, Argyll
1996 - Scottish Opera
Giffnock, Glasgow
1996 - Scottish Opera
Langholm
1996 - Scottish Opera
Helensburgh
1998 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
1998 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
1998 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2000 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Glasgow
2000 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Edinburgh
2001 - Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh
2001 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2001 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2001 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2001 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2002 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2005 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2008 - Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD)
Glasgow
2009 - Scottish Opera
Glasgow
2009 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2009 - Scottish Opera
Aberdeen
2009 - Scottish Opera
Edinburgh
2009 - Salzburg Festival
Dundee
2010 - Opera Project
Culross, near Dunfermline
2012 - Swansea City Opera
Pitlochry
2012 - Opera à la Carte
Dumfries
2012 - Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Edinburgh
2012 - Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Glasgow
2013 - English Touring Opera
Perth
2013 - Opera'r Ddraig
Edinburgh
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Glasgow
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Dundee
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Edinburgh
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Perth
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Dunfermline
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Galashiels
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
St Andrews
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Aberdeen
2014 - Metropolitan Opera
Falkirk
2014 - Opera dei Lumi
Berwick-upon-Tweed
2014 - Opera dei Lumi
Edinburgh
2015 - Scottish Opera
Stirling
2015 - Scottish Opera
Helensburgh
2015 - Scottish Opera
Ayr
2015 - Scottish Opera
Kelso
2015 - Scottish Opera
Dundee
2015 - Scottish Opera
Elgin, Moray
2015 - Scottish Opera
Ellon, Aberdeenshire
2015 - Scottish Opera
Aboyne, Aberdeenshire
2015 - Scottish Opera
Kirkwall, Orkney
2015 - Scottish Opera
Wick, Caithness
2015 - Scottish Opera
Inverness
2015 - Scottish Opera
Musselburgh, East Lothian
2015 - Scottish Opera
St Andrews
2015 - Scottish Opera
Greenock
2015 - Scottish Opera
Oban, Argyll
2015 - Scottish Opera
Ullapool
2015 - Scottish Opera
Stornoway, Lewis
2015 - Scottish Opera
Plockton, Ross-shire
2015 - Scottish Opera
Linlithgow
2015 - VoiceArc
Edinburgh
2016 - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Glasgow
2016 - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Perth
2016 - Edinburgh International Festival
Edinburgh
2016 - VoiceArc
Edinburgh
2018 - Clyde Opera Group
Glasgow

England, UK - 10 entries

1966 - Scottish Opera
Darlington
1967 - Scottish Opera
Lincoln
1967 - Scottish Opera
Clitheroe, Lancashire
1972 - Scottish Opera
Liverpool
1972 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1982 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1988 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1990 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
1992 - Scottish Opera
Newcastle-upon-Tyne
2002 - Scottish Opera
Brighton

Music
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (born Salzburg, 27 January 1756; died Vienna, 5 December 1791)

Text
Lorenzo da Ponte.

Source
Original.

Premières
First performance: Vienna (Burgtheater), 26 January 1790.
First UK performance: London (King’s Theatre, Haymarket), 19 May 1811.
First performance in Scotland: Edinburgh (Nelson Hall), 13 February 1934.
Scottish Opera première: Perth (Theatre), 12 April 1967.

Background
On the face of it, Così can seem a frivolous, misogynistic, and almost farcical story. The device of testing the faithfulness of a female character by having her lover court her in disguise is not novel. To have two couples, to have the men court each other’s girl, and to have the whole plot based on a drunken bet does, on the face of it, lower the tone. It is not surprising that the opera gained a dubious reputation in the decades after its creation. It was considered shocking, even disgusting, or contemptible. However any justification for this view evaporates when Mozart’s glorious music is heard well performed. Even in recent decades, eminently respected conductors continued to cut wonderfully dramatic arias that didn’t fit their preconceptions. Some less talented directors give the impression that they have not read the text or, more importantly, listened to Mozart’s music. They therefore reduce the piece to the level of a not very good farce. In recent decades it has become possible to recognise the depth of musical characterisation in this opera. The six people are all fully three-dimensional and clearly have their lives changed as a result of the day’s business. It is a comedy in the sense that no one actually dies, but it is sometimes a close run thing. Even at the end, when sanity is ostensibly restored, we do not know which arrangement of couples is left for the final curtain. It is one of the truly great operas.

Main Characters
Ferrando, a young army officer (tenor)
Guglielmo, another officer, his friend (baritone)
Don Alfonso, a middle-aged bachelor (baritone)
Fiordiligi, a young lady engaged to Guglielmo (soprano)
Dorabella, her sister, engaged to Ferrando (mezzo-soprano)
Despina, maidservant to the sisters (soprano)

Plot Summary
The setting is a villa on the bay of Naples, with Vesuvius usually visible in the background, symbolising the passions bubbling down below. Opening and closing scenes frame the action with a Neapolitan café setting. The officers, encouraged by their friend Alfonso, are debating the respective virtues of their girls, and are persuaded to have a bet on the matter. The sisters are horrified when they hear that their boys are off to war. Alfonso then introduces two “old friends” from Albania, exotically disguised, who proceed to woo each other’s girl. Initially the girls fight them off easily, but with Despina’s help the men persevere, and a staged fake suicide attempt at the end of the first act sows seeds of doubt in the girls’ minds. In the second act the atmosphere deepens dramatically as the girls eventually succumb. When the soldiers return, just in time to prevent a double wedding, all sorts of doubts are left hanging in the air regarding the behaviour of all the characters.

 

RECORDINGS

DECCA (3 CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1974
Conductor: George Solti
London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Pilàr Lorengar (Fiordiligi), Teresa Berganza (Dorabella), Jane Berbié (Despina)
Ryland Davies (Ferrando), Tom Krause (Guglielmo), Gabriel Bacquier (Alfonso).

This recording was rather under valued when it first appeared, but it has worn well. The French pairing as Alfonso and Despina (unusually a mezzo) work together beautifully. Two Spanish ladies are excellent as the sisters – Lorengar’s voice always had a natural flutter that some listeners dislike, but it gives her Fiordiligi an attractive vulnerability. Berganza’s voice is wonderfully creamy. Ryland Davies was a naturally dramatic and serious interpreter of Ferrando, singing it for the first time with Scottish Opera in 1967. He went on to sing the part in many major houses and here gives a riveting performance, well supported by the Finnish baritone. Solti is more flexible than was sometimes the case in his Mozart recordings.

 

CHANDOS (3 CDs) Sung in English Recorded 2007

Conductor: Charles Mackerras.
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Janice Watson (Fiordiligi), Diana Montague (Dorabella), Lesley Garrett (Despina).
Toby Spence (Ferrando), Christopher Maltman (Guglielmo), Thomas Allen (Alfonso).

It is good to have a modern recording in English, beautifully conducted by Mackerras. He had decades of experience in conducting Così all over the world, but in his 80s rethought it in terms of an orchestra using original instruments with splendid results (and it was the last opera he conducted in the theatre, working at Glyndebourne, in spite of acute pain, only a few weeks before his death). The cast is without a weak link, and Thomas Allen, although used to the Italian text, has no problem adapting to an English version. The translation used is the old one by the Rev Marmaduke Browne. In the ‘60s this was rejected in favour of more modern versions, but now the circle has turned, and with a little tweaking by John Cox for his Coliseum production a few years ago, it now works well.

 

EMI (3CDs) Sung in Italian Recorded 1962

Conductor: Karl Böhm.

Philharmonia.

Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Fiordiligi), Christa Ludwig (Dorabella), Hanny Steffek (Despina).

Alfredo Kraus (Ferrando), Giuseppe Taddei (Guglielmo), Walter Berry (Alfonso).

This classic set still sounds good, and the singing is uniformly excellent. Böhm’s conducting now seems a bit leisurely but was much admired at the time. Several cuts, traditional in those far-off days, now seem surprising and rather regrettable.

 

PONTO (3CDs) Sung in English Recorded 1969

Conductor: Alexander Gibson.

Scottish National Orchestra

Elizabeth Harwood (Fiordiligi), Janet Baker (Dorabella), Carol Anne Curry (Despina).

Kurt Westi (Ferrando), Peter van der Bilt (Guglielmo), John Shirley-Quirk (Alfonso).

Scottish Opera live in 1969 is self-recommending for anyone curious about the standard of performance in those days. Gibson, Baker and Harwood are just as good as everyone said at the time. The others back them up well. Sadly, the Martins' translation seems sometimes clumsy.

The Cast

Despina
 maidservant to the sisters
Don Alfonso
 a middle-aged bachelor
Dorabella
 Fiordiligi's sister, engaged to Ferrando
Ferrando
 a young army officer
Fiordiligi
 a young lady from Ferrara, engaged to Guglielmo
Guglielmo
 another officer, Ferrando's friend

© Copyright Opera Scotland 2019

Site by SiteBuddha