Mozart's 'Così fan tutte' -
'... a disappointing monument ...'
Beethoven thought the Così subject unworthy of Mozart's attention. With Leonora to his
eternal credit, Beethoven naturally considered Fiordiligi and Dorabella no more than the couple of
silly gulls they superficially are. Much of the 19th century agreed with Beethoven; the 20th was not
so sure; and the 21st is so enamoured of partner-swap, before, during, or after marriage that Da Ponte's
down on women can be readily applied to all available sexes. But the work depends as never before on
sympathetic direction and conducting if the characters' behaviour is to seem both cheerfully modish
and yet carry a hint of psychological depth and responsibility.
A scene from Act I of Così fan tutte. © 2006 Azor Films/Bel Air Media
Copyright © 2 November 2006
Robert Anderson, Cairo, Egypt