"You have the most punchable face" is not how most Opera's start, but in Skylark Opera's Cosi fan tutte it is a fantastic introduction to their take on Mozart's comic classic. Doing what Skylark Opera does best they give a modern spin to the 18th century opera, translating the Italian Opera into English and moving the story into present day and instilling it with modern jokes and a sense of humor.
The story is admittedly dated. It revolves around a bet between three friends, two of who are engaged to sisters and the single Don Alfonso, that their fiancees will be eternally faithful. The ever doubting Don Alfonso and instigator of the bet plays this theory out by orchestrating a plan in which the two fiancees will pretend to go off to protect their country, or in Skylark Opera's version of the comedy, build the wall, and then come back in disguises and try to woo their recently left lovers. Along the way Don Alfonso tricks the maid of the two sisters into helping him in this plan. The whole story is based off of men having fun playing tricks on women, but Skylark Opera tells the story in such a way that the entire 2 hour Opera is extremely engaging.
The adaptation by Ruth and Thomas Martin cleverly move the comic relief of the story into the present, with modern and timely jokes that kept the entire audience laughing. The beautiful music by Mozart is beautifully sung by the entire cast; Tess Altiveros, KrisAnne Weiss, Laurent Kuhnl, Justin Spenner, Siena Forest and Luke Williams, their interpretation of the score is sure to please any Opera lover. The typical orchestra behind an opera is replaced by a single piano player, Music director Nathan Cicero, who deftly plays Mozarts quick score and did not leave be wanting for any more accompaniment.
Lastly the production design by Director Robert Neu, Lighting designer Mike Grogan and Costume Designer Samantha Fromm Haddow presented this Opera front and center with a creative stage layout that make the performance even more intimate and highlighted the wide range of emotions portrayed.
Skylark Opera's production of Cosi fan tutte is playing at the Historic Mounds Theater through this weekend only. They only do one performance a year so make sure to enjoy their take on the art form known as Opera while you can. Click here for more information about the show and where to get tickets.
*Photo by Matt Bellin