Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
November 7, 10, 13, 15
8 p.m., 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m.
It’s the late 18th century in Naples, Italy along the scenic Mediterranean Sea. Two young military officers named Ferrando and Guglielmo find themselves embroiled in a deceptive wager designed to test the faithfulness of their fiancées, the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella. If this sounds like an epic Enlightenment-era soap opera to you, then you’re on the right track.
An Italian language opera written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Così fan tutte premiered in 1790 at Vienna’s Wiener Burgtheater—just one year before the legendary German composer’s death. The two-act, comic opera marks the final of three masterful collaborations between Mozart and librettist Lorenzo da Ponte—who also wrote the iconic 18th-century works, The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.
Fans of opera and Mozart alike won’t want to miss the chance to find out what ensues when Ferrando and Guglielmo—fully confident their girlfriends will remain true to them—are tempted by a scheme cooked up by their cynical philosopher friend, Don Alfonso.
Combining poignant witticisms and Mozart’s brilliant score, the opera’s all-star cast brings this timeless tale of trust, virtue, friendship and romance—complete with plenty of comedic “fiancée swapping”—to life on the Benedum stage for just four nights.
Taking the helm as the show’s director—while also starring as Don Alfonso—is the acclaimed English operatic baritone Sir Thomas Allen. Dubbed “Britain’s favorite baritone,” Allen is renowned for his captivating stage presence, remarkable acting and vocal prowess and performance versatility. Widely considered to be one of the late 20th century’s top lyric baritones, Allen is the real-life inspiration for the film and musical, Billy Elliot. Raised in a northern England mining town, Allen went on to become a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and a Knight Bachelor, and is currently chancellor of Durham University.
Così fan tutte also stars Danielle Pastin (Fiordiligi), Jennifer Holloway (Dorabella), Christopher Tiesi (Ferrando), Hadleigh Adams (Guglielmo) and Sari Gruber (Despina). The production’s trio of leading ladies all share connections to Pittsburgh: Holloway is a Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alum; Pastin lives in Pittsburgh and is also a Pittsburgh Opera Resident Artist alum; and Gruber, who has performed the role before, lives in Pittsburgh and recently have birth to a daughter.
Don’t miss the chance to meet the opera stars and staff during a special event in the Benedum’s lobby following the November 10th performance. On November 14th, the Opera will host a Brown Bag Concert at its George R. White Opera Studio in the Strip District. During the free program, opera lovers will be treated to an all-Mozart program, and will meet the company’s Resident Artists after the casual, one-hour concert.