Cost fan Tutte
|Date||13th July 2019|
|Venue||Rondo Theatre, Bath|
|Type of Production||Opera|
|Musical Director||Peter Blackwood|
Author: Dee Way
In this touring production, six singers comprised the cast, which, while a little the richness of the performance as a whole, at the same time created a much more intimate production. The stage was split into two sections and the accompanist's piano to the side. The minimal setting, using hanging screens upstage, a chaise longue and low table on one side and a garden table and chairs on the other, successfully created two performance spaces with very different characteristics. The replacement of the recitative with dialogue worked very well and the touches of humour were excellent! This was a production that anyone would enjoy for the sheer fun and humour included. I really liked the level of acting included in the opera, as supporting the beautiful singing in creating well-rounded characters throughout.
The technical support was very good and unobtrusive, while the costumes and make up were very well done. The level of eye shadow on the young ladies in the second act was amazing! The scene with the heart monitor and cables was great fun and added to the presentation by keeping the action engaging. The costumes throughout were lovely 1930s, with the story updated to wartime, while the men's disguises were wonderfully ridiculous.
The six cast members were all highly accomplished singers who obviously enjoyed their roles to the full, supported by the most beautiful piano accompaniment. The two girls complemented each other wonderfully, their duets being both highly emotional and harmonic. The combination of the voices was delightful while their solo arias were wonderful soundscapes of light and shade. Their suitors were highly believable with their flirtatious looks and buffoonery. Again the voices blended very well with the solo arias very well sing with an amazing level of character. Don Alfonso sang his part with a lovely level of mischief in setting up the challenge to the men, then turned wonderfully serious and moody in Act 2, with very good vocal variety and changes of tone. Finally, Despina created a fabulous persona as the Don's helper. In turn she became the girl' friend, confidante, advisor, notary and priest, giving each a vocal tone and colour. However, underlying all her parts was an irrepressible sense of humour that heightened the opera's sense of fun.
Most remarkable perhaps was the way in which the characters and vocal quality combined to create a very engaging and entertaining production. If all opera was as accessible and as entertaining as this one, then I think the genre would win new audiences and enrich their enjoyment of such excellent music.
This was a delightful production, highly entertaining and very enjoyable for its humour, good acting and wonderful singing. Congratulations to all involved!