And All Of You Males Are The Same, Too: Cosi Fan Tutte at the SF Opera

Susannah Biller and Christel Lotzsch as
Despina and Dorabella discussing men.
Are women all truly the same? Or maybe it's just that all men have the same perspective, no matter how old they are? Yeah, I'm going to go with the second version. Don't miss Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte at the San Francisco War Memorial Opera. The cast consists of Ellie Dehn as Fiordiligi, Christel Lotzsch as Dorabella, Susannah Biller as Despina, Francesco Demuro as Ferrando, Philippe Sly as Guglielmo, and Marco Vinco as Don Alfonso. Nicola Luisotti conducts this performance of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

Marco Vinco and Susannah Biller as
Don Alfonso and Despina getting ready for
the wedding.
Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to write much during my time there, so I only have one entry that was written before the opera started. Also, since everybody in this opera seem to gamble and bet on anything they see, my dad and I placed a bet on one part in the first act. During Di scrivermi ogni giorno, most conductors made Fiordiligi and Dorabella weep while they sang those phrases. My dad thought that they would do the same here...I did not. So, much for not being a hypocrite and being contemptuous towards Don Alfonso, Gulielmo, and Ferrando for placing bets. Well, the good news is that I won the bet and now he owes me a certain amount of money...

"7:25p.m. San Francisco War Memorial Opera House, Cosi Fan Tutte:
Since I'm not what you would call an 'early bird', I only have a few minutes to describe. People today have a more touristy look than the people who came for The Tales of Hoffmann the day before. 7:30 p.m. and the orchestra is tuning. Most people are not seated yet; the lights dim."

Left to right: Philippe Sly, Christel Lotzsch, Ellie Dehn, Francesco Demuro,
and Susannah Biller as Guglielmo, Dorabella, Fiordiligi, Ferrando,
and Despina. 
And that't it. I remember that I was in a very good mood (maybe because I won that bet) after the performance. It was also very funny; but then, Mozart is rarely not funny. It's also very difficult to make Mozart unenjoyable. Even if the performance is terrible, it's still Mozart; and that's very hard to beat. Let's start with specific characters: Fiordiligi.

Ellie Dehn and Philippe Sly as Fiordiligi and Guglielmo
Ellie Dehn, Fiordiligi, is a very charismatic soprano. I remember when she did the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro two seasons ago. I think she was at her best there. She also did Donna Anna in last season's Don Giovanni, but I did not exactly fancy her in that role. In my opinion, Donna Anna was a smidge too high for Ms. Dehn. She is more of a Donna Elvira, I think. That is why Fiordiligi is the perfect role for her; her vocal texture and visual appearance both correspond with what one might call a Fiordiligi. Of course, people have different opinions, and something I consider normal might be the complete opposite of what someone else considers normal. Ms. Dehn did a great job.

Marco Vinco and Susannah Biller as Don Alfonso and Despina
Francesco Demuro, Ferrando, is a "Mozartarian", as one might call it. His Duke from Rigoletto was much weaker than his Ferrando. Mr. Demuro has shrilling high notes, the perfect sound for Mozart's tenors. I personally enjoyed him very much as Ferrando; even his acting was appealing to me. Mr. Demuro has sung Lucia di Lammermoor, La Boheme, La Traviata, Maria Stuarda, Don Pasquale and many other classics.

Christel Lotzsch, Dorabella, was very enticing. She is one of those singers you cannot stop staring at until they leave the stage. Her acting was also very charming. Ms. Lotzsch made a very stately Dorabella.

Christel Lotzsch and Francesco Demuro as Dorabella and Ferrando
Philippe Sly, Guglielmo, was very energetic. I don't remember a scene where he stayed seated for more than one minute. Mr. Sly's vocal skills were very superior, in my opinion. He performed Donne mie la fate a tanti very intriguingly.

Marco Vinco, Don Alfonso, isn't a favorite of mine, but his Don Alfonso was amusing. He performed Leporello in last year's Don Giovanni at the SF Opera along with Ellie Dehn as Donna Anna. Mr. Vinco's acting skills added charm to his singing.

Left to right: Marco Vinco, Ellie Dehn, and Christel Lotzsch as
Don Alfonso, Fiordiligi, and Dorabella.

Now, last but definitely not least, Susannah Biller as Despina. She too was very into the acting, and it paid off. She was very pleasant to look at, thanks to her elegant flirtation and small hand gestures etc. One thing I noticed was that she seemed very nervous; but that did not affect her vocal performance.


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