Thomas Allen as Don Alfonso, Stéphane Degout as Guglielmo and Pavol Breslik as Ferrando in Così fan tutte ©ROH/Mike Hoban, 2010

Così fan tutte

10 April – 10 May 2020

This stream is no longer available. It was broadcast free online as part of the Royal Opera House's #OurHouseToYourHouse series.

Così fan tutte was Mozart's final collaboration with the Italian librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, who based his story on a variety of sources including Greek myths and Renaissance tales. Così was slower to find success than Mozart and Da Ponte's previous collaborations, Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) and Don Giovanni. The first run of performances was cut short by the death of Emperor Joseph II, and in the 19th century many viewed the opera's plot as immoral or even cruel. However, since the second half of the 20th century its wonderful music and Mozart and Da Ponte's witty, compassionate examination of young love have ensured its lasting popularity.

Jonathan Miller’s production was created for The Royal Opera in 1995. It brings out the timelessness of this exploration of the human condition, as the classic story of love under the microscope is given a contemporary perspective.

Sung in Italian with English surtitles

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Ferrando and Guglielmo are convinced that their girlfriends Dorabella and Fiordiligi would never be unfaithful. Their friend Don Alfonso doubts this and persuades the men to try an experiment. Ferrando and Guglielmo must pretend to have been called away to war; they will then return in disguise and attempt to seduce their former girlfriends. If they don't succeed within 24 hours, Alfonso will pay them a large sum of money.

To begin with, all appears to go well: Fiordiligi and Dorabella spurn their 'suitors' and the men eagerly anticipate their winnings. But as Alfonso and his assistant Despina step up the pressure and the men try to woo each other's girlfriend, things get more complicated. Are the girls as loyal as the men thought? Are any of them the people they thought they were?