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Review: Cosi Fan Tutte, Glyndebourne Touring Opera, Norwich Theatre Royal

PUBLISHED: 10:33 15 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:33 15 November 2017

Glyndebourne production of Cosi fan tutte. Photo: Mike Hoban

Glyndebourne production of Cosi fan tutte. Photo: Mike Hoban

Mike Hoban

Glyndebourne Touring Opera’s touring production of Cosi Fan Tutte brings the fun along with Mozart’s magical music, says Christopher Smith.

Welcome back in Norwich, Glyndebourne Touring Opera gave an effervescent performance of Cosi Fan Tutte at the Theatre Royal on Tuesday evening. Nowadays Mozart’s masterly comedy is sometimes taken very seriously. But Nicholas Hytner’s production lets the audience enjoy the fun as four attractive young people spend a day finding their way through a tangle of emotions before everything turns out well.

Mozart’s triumph is to capture in music every changing mood in an instant. When the two ladies sing of undying love or else are surprised to find their affections running out of control, they take on the operatic style of tragic heroines. Their suitors are also swept into a whirlpool of conflicting feelings when a worldly-wise friend tempts them to test their lovers’ constancy.

Kirsten MacKinnon and Rachel Kelly make a marvellous pair as Fiordiligi and Dorabella. Alike in many ways yet clearly different in voice and appearance as well as in their responses, they act most convincingly while singing their richly-ornamented arias and duets magnificently.

Bogdan Volkov, a golden tenor, and Ilya Kutyukhin, a flexible and powerful baritone, are no less impressive as Ferrando and Gugliemo, whether as cocksure young officers or in transparent disguise as Albanians who quickly overcome all obstacles when they come to sweep the girls off their feet.

Jose Fardilha takes the role of the cynical Don Alfonso. He never becomes threatening or sinister while manipulating the characters. He is aided and abetted by Ana Quintans’ Despina, the ladies’ maid only too willing to add to the comedy by dressing up as a doctor and a notary in successive acts.

The action flows forward easily on Vicki Mortimer’s set with an uncluttered stage that transforms from an interior to a bright apartment with sea views from the terrace.

Under Leo McFall and led by Richard Milone, the Glyndebourne Tour Orchestra is always sprightly and responsive, adding touches of instrumental colour either to establish the scene or else to emphasise an emotion. The contributions by the Chorus were brief, but hearty.

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