Preview: Cosi fan tutte
Updated version of Mozart's opera from Christophe Honoré
This article is from 2016.
Hot from the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence in the south of France is EIF's brand new production of Mozart's greatly loved comic opera Cosi fan tutte. With much of the usual operatic antics of disguise and deception, love and lovers, this Cosi is, however, not so usual in the small print advising that it contains 'adult themes and nudity'. Director is the oft-controversial Christophe Honoré who takes the opera and 'unflinchingly examines the power relationships between the opera's characters'. That's one way of putting it.
Often referred to in its rough translation of the title, 'Women are like that', about the supposed fickleness of women, this production is far removed from librettist Lorenzo da Ponte's intended setting of 18th-century Naples. Instead, Honoré takes it to 1930s Eritrea, at that time an Italian colony, and to the sexual tensions of the piece adds a whole new layer of dark and violent racial tension. The two engaged couples at its centre, with each of the men trying to seduce the other's partner, become so much more sinister as the two young army officers disguise themselves as African mercenaries and the two sisters enter the taboo world of interracial sex.
Festival Theatre, 25, 28 Aug, 7.15pm, 27 Aug, 5pm, £20–£95.