Portland Opera Presents Così fan tutte

CONTACT: Julia Sheridan, 503-295-3508
download pdf



 Cosi fan tutte title art
Wolfgang Amudeus Mozart

February 5, 7m, 11, 13, 2010 | Keller Auditorium


Cosi fan tuttePortland, Ore.— Così fan tutte roughly translates to All Women Are Like That.  And thus begins Mozart’s surprisingly modern tale about the nature of love and fidelity, offering deep insight into both.  Mozart’s wit and wisdom in the matters of the heart and the foibles of couples in love have delighted audiences for over 200 years.  His exploration of the subject is profoundly complex and deeply human.  In this wry, yet amusing opera, love may sometimes be frail and faith occasionally unstable, but, be that as it may, we are still enriched by the powerful experience of love in any of its wondrous forms.  And thus Così fan tutte makes a fitting addition to a season devoted to Love & Marriage.  Così fan tutte opens February 5 with additional performances February 7m, 11 & 13.

“Mozart is a genius of mythic proportions,” says Portland Opera General Director Christopher Mattaliano.  “His music has become part of the collective conscience of the entire western world,” he continues “and with the gentle passion of his music in Così, we’ll all be reminded that the world may change, but love is eternal.  It’s the perfect opera to be included in a season revolving around love and marriage.”

Mr. Mattaliano also noted an extremely full slate of special events designed around Così fan tutte, including the exciting evening presentation of “The Stars of Così,”  the film “In Search of Mozart” in partnership with the NW Film Center, and a host of other previews and events listed below.

Così fan tutte is the comic tale of Ferrando and Guglielmo, bridegrooms-to-be confidently touting the virtues of two sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, whom they are to marry.   A skeptical friend wagers that the women’s faithfulness won’t withstand a day of the men’s absence.  The suitors accept the bet and agree to disguise themselves and woo each other’s fiancées.  But what begins as a lighthearted deception ends on a bittersweet note when the women actually fall for the “impostors.”  Set in the crisp sea air of Naples, Così fan tutte is, on the surface, a sparkling satire. But Così also reveals some disturbing truths about love and the heartbreak that can happen when a joke goes too far.

Commissioned in 1790 for the Vienna stage, Così fan tutte was the third collaboration between Mozart and the librettist, Lorenzo da Ponte.  Unlike Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, however, the piece was not received favorably in Vienna or the rest of Europe.  Its portrayal of young men who would so casually deceive their beloved girlfriends to win a wager created scandal among the aristocracy.

Last performed by Portland Opera in 2002, Così fan tutte marks the return of Portland’s own ANGELA NIEDERLOH (Giunone in La Calisto 2009, title role in Cinderella 2007, Third Lady in The Magic Flute 2007, Melibea in The Journey to Reims 2004) as Dorabella.  The New York Times declared her “an exciting coloratura mezzo soprano.”  Also returning is the always popular ROBERT ORTH (title role in Nixon in China 2006, Trombonok in The Journey to Reims 2004, Alfieri in A View from the Bridge, Truffaldino in The Love for Three Oranges and many others) to sing Don Alfonso.  Opera News calls him simply “superb.”  Baritone KEITH PHARES (Chou En-Lai in Nixon in China, 2006) sings Guglielmo and was hailed by The New York Times as having a “warm voice and lively stage presence.” Tenor RYAN MACPHERSON (Heurtebise in Orphée 2009, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw 2009 ) sings Ferrando.  In several reviews The New York Times has made particular note of his voice, calling it a “bright tenor voice” and MacPherson a “sweet-toned tenor.”  Making their Company debuts are soprano CHRISTINE BRANDES as Despina. Opera (London) praised her recently, noting that “every word … was infused with both meaning, musical intelligence and vocal beauty.”  Soprano LAUREN SKUCE debuts as Fiordiligi.  Of Ms. Skuce, The New York Times exclaimed that she “gave a splendid performance, singing with warm, rich tone and endless agility.” New York City Opera Music Director GEORGE MANAHAN (Rigoletto 2009, Rodelinda 2008, Macbeth 2006) conducts. ELISE SANDELL, familiar to Portland Opera for her numerous productions as Assistant Director, makes her mainstage debut as Stage Director.  Ms. Sandell was a Finalist at the recent OPERA America Director-Designer Showcase.

The sets, designed to look like a finely wrapped box of chocolates, are by Allen Moyer.  The costumes, designed by David Woolard, feature a chorus in a tightly controlled monochromatic palette with principals that pop with a vibrancy befitting foil-wrapped chocolates inside the box.


Fiordiligi Lauren Skuce*
Dorabella Angela Niederloh
DespinaChristine Brandes*
Ferrando Ryan MacPherson
GuglielmoKeith Phares
Don AlfonsoRoberth Orth
Conductor George Manahan
Stage Director Elise Sandell*

And the Portland Opera Orchestra

* Portland Opera debut

For musical excerpts, synopsis and detailed cast bios visit www.portlandopera.org.


Music:Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto:Lorenzo da Ponte
Lyrics:Sung in Italian with English translations projected above the stage.
World Premiere:January 26, 1790, Vienna, Burgtheater
Portland Opera Premiere:March 1973
Performances:February 5, 7m, 11, 13, 2010

All performances begin at 7:30pm, with the exception of the 2:00pm matinee on February 7.

(Calendar Editors Kindly Note)

A full slate of special events swirl around the production, including:

Portland Opera and NW Film Center present In Search of Mozart

Featuring Renée Fleming, Magdalena Kozená, and a host of others, this ambitious documentary is an engaging biographical portrait of Mozart and a master class in his collected works. Though the music takes center stage, his letters reveal an extraordinary voice, which rings out on a human level, full of joy, passion, pain, rage, bawdy humor, and great sensitivity.

1/10/10  2:00pm |  Whitsell Auditorium | 1219 SW Park Ave., Portland, OR 97205.  
$8 GA, $7 PAM members, students, seniors, $5 Friends of Film Center
Tickets can be purchased online at www.nwfilm.org.


Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche 

An insider’s look at Così fan tutte explores its relevance beyond the stage. Destination Opera: From Music to Psyche brings Alexis Hamilton, Manager of Education and Outreach, together with guest speaker Ralph Beaumont from the Oregon Psychoanalytic Institute to explore the hidden subtexts of the upcoming production of Così fan tutte.

1/19/10  7:00pm | Sherman Clay Pianos | 131 NW 13th Ave., Portland, OR 97209.  Free!


An Evening with the Stars of Così

Enjoy an exciting evening of popular opera arias and ensembles performed by the stars of February’s Così fan tutte, along with the Portland Opera Studio Artists. This is your chance to hear these artists perform a variety of opera favorites in an intimate concert setting before you enjoy them on the Keller stage in Così fan tutte.

1/20/2010  7:00pm | Scottish Rite Center, 709 SW 15th Ave., Portland, OR 97205
$10 Students, $30 General, $50 Premiere Seating and Reception with the Stars
For tickets, call 503-241-1802.






Così fan tutte preview on “Northwest Previews,” All Classical 89.9 fm at 6pm.

Così fan tutte preview, Multnomah County Central Library, 2pm, Free!


Opera Insights

These free and informative sessions, led by musicologist Bob Kingston, focus on the music and history behind the
evening’s opera in ways that make the evening’s performance even more satisfying.
1 hour prior to each performance.  First Balcony Level.  Free.

Back Talk

Immediately after each opera performance, audiences are invited to join General Director
Christopher Mattaliano and an interesting variety of guests that will include fresh-from-their-dressing-room
performers, directors and conductors for a 20-30 minute Q&A. 
Free. Orchestra Level.




Friday, Thursday, Saturday performances at 7:30pm, Sunday Matinee at 2:00pm
Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay

Regular tickets start at $20 and can be purchased:

BY PHONE:    Portland Opera Box Office, 503-241-1802, Toll-free 866-739-6737,
                      Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm.
                      Ticketmaster, 800-982-ARTS (days, evenings, and weekends).

ONLINE:        www.ticketmaster.com 

IN-PERSON:  Portland Opera Box Office, 211 SE Caruthers St. (just south of OMSI, off Water Ave.)                                          Mon – Fri, 9:00am – 5:00pm.
                      Ticketmaster outlets. 
                      Portland Center for the Performing Arts (SW Broadway & Main).

GROUPS:       10 or more save up to 20% by calling Group Sales at 503-295-3509.

6:30 RUSH:    Students/Senior/Military, $10 per ticket, 1 hour prior to show only, all available unsold
                       seats. 1 ticket per person, valid ID required.


For other information about tickets and much more about the production of
Così fan tutte
, please visit our website at: www.portlandopera.org.


# # #