'Così fan tutte' at Lyric Opera Cleveland,
appreciated by KELLY FERJUTZ
Dating from 1790, any opera would be full of anachronisms judged by today's standards. Mozart's Così fan tutte is no exception. 'Women are like that' is one translation of the title, and of course we are! We are like that, because men are as they are. So there.
Still, Mozart's music, when given glorious voice, can gloss over a multitude of sins -- whether real or imaginary -- and this is very true in the current production of Lyric Opera Cleveland. On the boards only through Sunday 1 August 2004, this is a very traditional rendition with a few non-traditional flourishes to keep us all on our toes.
Stage Director Jonathon Field doubled as set designer and pulled off a real coup. The floor of the stage was covered with a mirror-like surface that reflected the lighting against the background scrim in a rippling and constantly-moving effect, much like a kaleidoscope. It was fascinating, but not especially distracting. A smallish sort of strangely-shaped platform was placed at the center of the stage floor, hiding the trap door behind it. Seen from the balcony, it proved to be trapezoidal with the front edge about six feet wide, and two feet high. The sides tapered to a width of approximately ten feet at the rear, which was at floor height, a raked stage in reverse. The balance of the set consisted of chairs and the occasional small table, deftly moved from here to there by the chorus.
Steven Mello as Ferrando and Lori Lind as Fiordiligi in the Lyric Opera Cleveland production of Così fan tutte at the Drury Theatre, Cleveland Play House. Photo © 2004 Steve Zorc
The costumes designed by Susan Allred for the Utah Opera Company were scrumptious and sumptuous, especially those for the Albanians. Lighting design by Jeremy Benjamin provided all the warmth and sunniness one would expect from Naples. Important as these details are to the overall effect of an opera, it is still the singing that is most important, and for this Lyric Opera Cleveland deserves a solid A+.
Copyright © 31 July 2004
Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA