Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Libretto Lorenzo Da Ponte
Conductor, Ryan Wigglesworth
Director, Phelim McDermott
New ENO production of Così fan tutte plays out Mozart’s dark comedy of fidelity in the curious world of the funfair
Opening Friday 16 May 2014, 7.00pm at London Coliseum (12 performances)
English National Opera presents a new production of Mozart’s dark comic masterpiece Così fan tutte, directed by Artistic Director of Improbable Phelim McDermott. Roughly translated as ‘Women are like that’, Così fan tutte tells the story of a bet between two young men with a philosopher about the fidelity of their fiancées. Deception, disguise, deceit and desire are played out in a world where make-believe and reality are fantastically blurred in Improbable’s fresh new take on the opera.
Phelim McDermott and Improbable worked with ENO on the recently revived and critically acclaimed production of Philip Glass’s Satyagraha in November 2013 and the UK premiere of The Perfect American at ENO in June 2013. McDermott and designer Tom Pye have set the opera in a faded 1950’s Coney Island inspired seaside town complete with pleasure garden, fairground rides, carney workers and an end-of-the-pier circus sideshow with freakish acts. The artwork of traditional fairground artist and sign writer Joby Carter adds an authentic feel to the production.
Joining the cast of singers and the ENO Chorus is a 12 strong skills ensemble who will become the somewhat sinister circus freak show acts and assist Don Alfonso in his deceit. They perform a number of roles including a witch doctor, a fortune teller, a bearded lady, a giant and two little people, while showcasing a variety of unique talents including sword-swallowing, acrobatics, contortion and fire-eating.
British soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Kate Valentine sings the role of Fiordiligi. Kate has performed a number of roles with ENO including ‘a heartbreaking Mimi’ in La bohème according to The Guardian in 2013, Countess Almaviva (The Marriage of Figaro) and Helena (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). She has also performed with Scottish Opera and Welsh National Opera.
Celebrated British mezzo soprano Christine Rice is Dorabella, Fiordiligi’s sister. Recent roles for ENO include Muse/Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Tales of Hoffman in 2012 and Berlioz’s The Damnation of Faust directed by Terry Gilliam in 2011 where The Observer commented that she was ‘vocally impressive’ as Marguerite. She has performed numerous roles at the Royal Opera House and with Bavarian State Opera, Garsington Opera and Glyndebourne.
American tenor Randall Bills makes his UK and ENO debut as Ferrando, Dorabella’s fiancé. He has sung with numerous opera companies across the USA and in Europe. Young British baritone Marcus Farnsworth sings the role of Guglielmo, Fiordiligi’s fiancé. He has previously sung roles for ENO in Death in Venice (2013) and Billy Budd (2013).
British baritone Roderick Williams – fresh from his triumph at Baden Baden singing Christus in Bach’s St John Passion with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic – takes on the role of philosopher and impresario Don Alfonso. For ENO he has performed in the world premiere of Michael Van der Aa’s Sunken Garden at the Barbican in 2013 and Castor and Pollux in 2011. He has also sung with the Royal Opera House, Opera North and Scottish Opera.
British soprano and ENO Harewood Artist Mary Bevan completes the cast as the mischievous maid Despina. Her most recent roles for ENO include the second niece in David Alden’s critically acclaimed revival of Peter Grimes in 2014 and Papagena in Simon McBurney’s new production of The Magic Flute in 2013.
ENO’s award-winning Composer in Residence Ryan Wigglesworth conducts.
Così fan tutte opens at the London Coliseum on Friday 16 May for 12 performances – 16, 22, 24, 30 May 5, 4, 6, 13, 19 June, 2 July at 7.00pm, 6 July at 3pm.
Running time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Pre-performance talk, 5.45-6.30pm £5/£2.50 concessions
An *Opera Undressed performance of Così fan tutte will take place on Thursday 22 May 2014 at 7.00pm.
Co-produced by English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera, New York. In collaboration with Improbable.
Notes to Editors:
English National Opera (ENO) is the UK’s leading producer of world-class opera, sung in English. Working with the very best talent from across the arts and creative industries, we create distinctive, highly theatrical productions and stage more new work and contemporary opera than any other UK opera company. We champion British and British-trained talent by placing it at the heart of our performances and providing unique development programmes for singers, musicians, composers and conductors. Our productions are seen by audiences across the world thanks to partnerships with its most celebrated opera houses. Through all our activities we aim to make our work enjoyable, accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.
*Opera Undressed is an audience development scheme that aims to introduce newcomers to English National Opera by demystifying the opera-going experience in a fun and informal setting.
During our 2013/14 season, ENO is hosting eight Opera Undressed nights. For just £25, audience members will:
- Get one of the best seats in the house
- Attend a pre-performance chat about the production
- Get an outline of the opera in advance
- Attend post-show drinks with cast and company members
- Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the London Coliseum, with bars serving beer and cocktails
For further information please contact:
Sara Parsons, Press Officer – firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7845 9433