2 August 2016 at 11.26am | Comment on this article
In his short lifetime of 35 years, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote 22 operas - penning his first at the tender age of 11. But it's his 'Da Ponte' operas, the trilogy of works with librettos by Lorenzo Da Ponte, that continue to delight audiences with their brilliantly absurd plots and sublime music in equal measure: Don Giovanni, Così fan tutte and Le nozze di Figaro.
A serial seducer gets his just desserts in Don Giovanni, a tale of murder, the supernatural and redemption. The work features a rich mix of humour, drama and thrills as well as some of the most disarming arias ever composed – all framed within a white-knuckle ride to the Don’s damnation.
If you have five minutes, listen to: The famous Queen of the Night aria, 'Der Hölle Rache'
Classic comedy Così fan tutte tells the story of two young men, testing the faithfulness of their girlfriends for a bet with wily old Don Alfonso. Containing some of Mozart’s most romantic and beautiful music, the opera has proved a repertory staple in recent decades. The most recent production of this work at the Royal Opera House was dubbed a ‘Mozart meets Sex in the City triumph’ - thanks in part to its costume designs by Giorgio Armani. Unlike the other two Da Ponte operas, Così’s reception has always been more complex, with the opera variously considered immoral, unfinished, cruel or simply odd since its 1790 premiere, but it's now finally accepted as one of Mozart’s masterpieces.
If you have five minutes, listen to: 'Soave sia il vento'
The story of a 'day of madness' at Count Almaviva's palace near Seville, Le nozze di Figaro rounds off the trio of Mozart and Da Ponte operas in comedic fashion. Featuring one of the most infectious overtures in opera, Figaro is also a showcase for a handful of famous arias, including 'Voi che sapete', as well as sublime characterisation.
If you have five minutes, listen to: 'Se vuol ballare'
A new production of Così fan tutte runs from 22 September – 19 October 2016. Tickets are still available.