(UPDATED) Oberlin Opera Theater Presents Mozart’s "Così fan tutte" March 11-15

February 28, 2020

Erich Burnett

cartoon man and woman having a text chat
Photo credit: design by Nicole Slatinsky

Conservatory singers and Oberlin Orchestra bring comic tale of deceitful romance to life in four performances.

COVID-19 UPDATE: In light of the recent announcement that Oberlin College and Conservatory will close for spring break at the conclusion of events on Friday, March 13, the scheduled Saturday and Sunday performances of Così fan tutte have been canceled.

We will live stream Friday’s performance from Hall Auditorium, which begins at 8 p.m. Please join us at go.oberlin.edu/opera-theater-live to enjoy Friday’s performance.

(updated March 12, 2020)


COVID-19 UPDATE: While all four performances of Così fan tutte will be closed to the public, the performances on Saturday, March 14 (8 p.m.) and Sunday, March 15 (2 p.m.) will be live streamed at go.oberlin.edu/opera-theater-live. (This page will be live shortly before the start of the Saturday and Sunday performances.)

(updated March 11, 2020)


COVID-19 UPDATE: Out of an abundance of caution, Oberlin Conservatory has made the decision to close Hall Auditorium to patrons for the Oberlin Opera Theater production of Così fan tutte. The opera will still be performed, however, and we are currently working on the necessary technology to make the performances on Saturday and Sunday available via live stream. We will publicize the link to the live stream as soon as it becomes available.

As the opera is double cast, live streaming multiple performances will ensure that audiences will have the opportunity to see all cast members. Performance times are Saturday, March 14, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, March 15, at 2 p.m.

All tickets purchased to date will be refunded upon request. Please contact the Oberlin College Central Ticket Service at 800-371-0178 weekdays between noon and 5 p.m. or by email at cts@oberlin.edu.

(updated March 10, 2020)


Citizens of Vienna scarcely batted an eye when Mozart delivered a comic opera built around fiancée swapping back in 1790.

Così fan tutte ran afoul of more prudish audiences in the years that followed, but its themes resonate today like a cable TV reality series—the kind nobody admits to watching even though they secretly do.

Oberlin Opera Theater will present Mozart’s opera—subtitled The School for Lovers—in four performances beginning at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 11, in Oberlin’s Hall Auditorium (67 N. Main. St.).

Additional performances are scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 13 and 14, with a final matinee at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 15.

Così fan tutte (loosely translated “They’re all like that”) was the last—and least performed—of three operas that joined Mozart with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, following Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni. It revolves around the relationships of two newly betrothed couples: Ferrando and Dorabella, and Guglielmo and Fiordiligi. When the men express certainty that their future wives will be eternally faithful, they are challenged by another man to put their ladies’ love to the test: each by wooing the other man’s fiancée. With that, the couples spiral into a tangle of deceitful hijinks that cast their marriages into doubt.

Director Jonathon Field delights in the many quirks that squarely place the opera in a bygone era.

“There is a point in the story where it becomes a point of honor with the gentlemen to behave in certain ways,” Field says, describing notes of chivalry and decorum that are all but foreign to modern society. “Those behaviors were present in the 1700s but no longer exist today, and that code of honor is central to the point of the show.

“Then you add to that the remarkable ability of humans to lie: to just look each other in the face and lie. The code of honor has changed over the years, but the lying, I’m sorry to say, has not!”

Così fan tutte’s cast is supported by the Oberlin Orchestra, under the direction of Christopher Larkin.

Field notes how the opera opens with the characters delivering the same vocal lines in harmony with one another, lending the sense that they are of one heart and mind.

“But as the show goes on, their melodic lines become more individualized, and they get to the point where they are each singing their own arias. So you can really trace the breakdown of the character by the amount that they don’t sing with the others in act two.”

Tickets to Così fan tutte are $10 (all students just $8). Get yours by calling 800-371-0178, visit oberlin.edu/artsguide, or stop by the Hall Auditorium box office weekdays from noon to 5 p.m.

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