Puzzling Così

The 2013 production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte from Madrid’s Teatro Real is one of German film director Michael Haneke’s comparatively rare forays into opera.  Naturally I was expecting a highly conceptual interpretation but, although his vision is far from conventional, Konzept found I not.  What I saw was a collection of ideas that didn’t quite cohere for me.  Costume and sets are a mix of 18th century modern.  We are in Don Alfonso’s inconsistently modernised mansion.  There are enormous 18th century paintings and chandeliers but also leatherette banquettes and the Giant Fridge of Booze.  The boys and girls wear contemporary party attire, including a rather fetching red dress for Fiordiligi, but Don Alfonso is in full 18th century gard and Despina seems to be dressed as Pierrot.  Perhaps it’s some sort of party where some of the guests have decided to do the costume thing and some haven’t?  When the boys go off to the army they do so in some sort of distant past opera version of military uniform; wigs and swords.

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