Show artwork for Cosi fan tutte

Cosi fan tutte

Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Conducted by James Conlon

March 830, 2025

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion

The battle of the sexes is about to begin.

The wine is flowing a little too freely, and two young men enter into a risky (and risqué) bet: Each will try to seduce the other’s fiancée. Hijinks ensue, with dashing disguises, outrageous flirting, and, of course, wedding bells—but we won't say who ends up together! 

Mozart’s razor-sharp comedy is back in a delightful production by director Michael Cavanagh. A stylish set by Erhard Rom updates the action to a swanky American country club, bursting with kitsch and color. James Conlon conducts a fantastic ensemble cast, led by longtime LA Opera favorites Ana María Martínez and Rod Gilfry as the schemers behind the deception. Featuring an endless parade of exquisite ensembles, Mozart’s deliciously scandalous opera is a can’t-miss for newcomers and seasoned fans alike.

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“A terrific new production... directed with a light but richly inventive touch”

San Francisco Chronicle

Cast

Fiordiligi
Erica Petrocelli
Dorabella
Rihab Chaieb
Ferrando
Anthony León
Guglielmo
Justin Austin
Despina
Ana María Martínez
Don Alfonso
Rod Gilfry

Creative Team

Conductor
James Conlon
Director
Michael Cavanagh
Scenery & Projections
Erhard Rom
Costumes
Constance Hoffman
Lighting
Jane Cox
Chorus
Jeremy Frank

Read the synopsis

Synopsis

Act One
Don Alfonso is trying to enlighten Ferrando and Guglielmo as to the true nature of women. He places a bet that he can prove their fiancées, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, are not the icons of purity the young men believe them to be. Both sides are confident of victory within twenty-four hours, and during this period Ferrando and Guglielmo agree to do as they are told by Alfonso.

Sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella are celebrating the virtues of their lovers. Alfonso tells them that their men have been called up and must leave immediately for the “front lines”. The men feign a tearful farewell scene and “go off to war.” The women are devastated but their maid, Despina, tells them to look on the bright side and have a good time in their absence—in other words, behave exactly as men would do.

Don Alfonso enlists Despina in his scheme, and he presents two “Albanian” friends to the sisters. Neither Fiordiligi nor Dorabella recognize Guglielmo and Ferrando in disguise.

Offended to see the strange men, Fiordiligi and Dorabella are repelled by their advances. They declare fidelity to their lovers. The young men are delighted but Alfonso is still confident in his ultimate triumph.

The sisters continue to grieve for their men at the front. The two Albanians return and, despondent in the women’s rejection, swallow “poison” and collapse. The terrified girls call for Despina, who goes to find a doctor who claims to cure any illness by magnetism. The men revive and believing they are in heaven, demand a kiss from their “angels,” Fiordiligi and Dorabella. The sisters rebuff their advances once again.

Intermission

Act Two
Despina persuades the sisters to befriend their new admirers. They decide on preferences: Dorabella chooses Guglielmo; Fiordiligi selects Ferrando. Each has instinctively chosen the other’s partner. Dorabella yields to Guglielmo, exchanging lockets as a pledge of fidelity. Meanwhile, Fiordiligi rejects Ferrando.

Ferrando and Guglielmo report on their progress. Ferrando is furious at the infidelity of his fiancée, Dorabella.

Despina and Dorabella put pressure on Fiordiligi to have fun. Fiordiligi decides she must run away to join Guglielmo at war, but Ferrando confronts her again and she finally yields. Agonized, Guglielmo witnesses it all. Don Alfonso has proven his point and won the bet.

Don Alfonso and Despina arrange for the new couples to be “married” by Despina, disguised as a notary. As the girls sign their names, a military band is heard, signaling that the soldiers have returned unexpectedly. In the confusion, the two men disappear, reemerging without their disguise. Shocked at the evidence of a wedding they swear vengeance on their rivals.

The entire plot is finally revealed. All four lovers’ certainties have been destroyed and no one knows quite what to believe, except that human nature is far more complex than they ever imagined.

Courtesy of San Francisco Opera

Running time: approximately three hours and 30 minutes, including one intermission

Sung in Italian with English subtitles

Production from the San Francisco Opera

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