Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fiancée Swapping Sisters In 1790 Vienna

Sisters (Ray Caesar, 2005)

Kiri Te Kanawa, Frederica von Stade, Jules Bastin
"Soave il vento"
The first performance of Mozart's Così fan tutte took place at the Burgtheater in Vienna on January 26, 1790. The subject matter did not offend Viennese sensibilities of the time, but throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries it was considered risqué. The opera was rarely performed, and when it did appear it was presented in one of several bowdlerised libretti. After World War II, it regained its place in the standard operatic repertoire. It is frequently performed and appears as number fifteen on Opera America's list of the 20 most-performed operas in North America.

Don Alfonso, an old philosopher and cynic, is determined to prove to his two young friends, Guglielmo and Ferrando, that their fiancées, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, are not to be trusted like any other woman. With the help of Despina, the ladies' maid, Alfonso lays his plot. First he tells them that as officers, their lovers have been called up on duty; and as a part of the old man's plan, he introduces the sisters to two Albanians, who are, of course, Guglielmo and Ferrando disguised. After inner conflicts the two women succumb to the advances of the "Albanians," forcing Guglielmo and Ferrando to concede defeat. However, Don Alfonso reveals the plot to the two deceived ladies and they are reconciled with their original lovers.

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