“Cosi fan tutte” – Arizona Opera

Opera Review – April 9, 2022


Arizona Opera, Symphony Hall
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater/Opera Critic

In an earlier Arizona Opera review this season, I stated that our local company had joined the ranks of this country’s finest regional opera presenters.  That qualification was brilliantly maintained in this season’s closing opera, Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte.”  It was lushly sung and acted plus it was a visual delight in a stunning new production designed and built here.  The opera comically tells of spirited young lovers and the games they play with their soon-to-be-mates.

Right from the overture, remarkably performed by a superb orchestra under the nimble and insightful conducting of Karen Kamensek, the opera was impressive musically.  When the curtain rose on designer’s Laura Fine Hawkes’ impressive picture-framed setting of an eighteenth-century Naples drawing room and the characters arrived in Kara Harmon’s colorful and historically appropriate fashions, all illumined with Julie H Duro’s atmospheric lighting, the visual elements were perfect.  Then the wonderful singers sang the melodic score with impeccable musicianship but who also contributed believable characterizations of the spoiled rich people they were portraying.

The machinations the characters embark on are backed by the lyrically lovely Mozartian score.  As silly as much of the opera’s antics are, the performers played every moment with the utmost seriousness which emphasized the humorous elements.  The story nets no surprises as everyone ends up with their intended partner but they have so much fun getting there.

Much of the credit for the opera’s pleasure must be credited to stage director E. Loren Meeker who used the opera’s malarkey while the remarkably adept singers danced around the wonderful Mozart melodies as they displayed comic frivolity.

Caitlin Gotimer’s Fiordiligi flounced about in her elegantly elaborate farthingale having an enchanting time playing tricks on her intended Ferrando, jested with staunch devotion by Bille Bruley.  Her sister, Dorabella, essayed with limpid humor by Katherine Beck opposite her intended partner Guglielmo, portrayed with regal arrogance by Jarrett Porter.  The quartet of lovers all sang with beautiful sincerity.  Cadie J. Bryan had marvelous comic fun with the maid Despina.

“Cosi fan tutte” concluded its Phoenix run with an April 10 matinee followed by two Tucson performances on April 16 and 17.  Next season begins with two smaller operas at the Herberger Theater Center followed by three larger productions at Symphony Hall.  If this season is any indication, the next Arizona Opera season promises to impress. To buy tickets for ”Cosi fan tutte” or for the 2022/23 season, call the Arizona Opera box office at 602-218-7334.

Grade: A