There are those who can enjoy La Traviata and La bohème multiple times in a year, but I’m one of those operagoers that can see Così fan tutte again and again. Why? Admittedly Don Giovanni, another of Mozart’s tremendous works, is one of my favourite operas and a lot of that has to do with the highly memorable and addictive music, as well as the hilarious narrative that caused a bit of a stir when it was first shown in 1790 at the Burgtheater in Vienna.
Considering it was written and performed in the late 1700s, some may argue that Mozart’s Così was ahead of its time, depicting would-be fiancées falling for new lovers on the same day their fiancés had been called away to war. It would be fair to say that today, where so-called freedom of speech and supposed gender equality exists, current directors wouldn’t be fazed about the way that women are depicted in this opera.
Così fan tutte translated from Italian means both ‘School for lovers’ or ‘women are like that’. It would be unfair to suppose that ‘women are like that’ and, of course, Mozart or his librettist Da Ponte didn’t compose the opera to voice such opinion but some sources suggest that the young composer was writing against the backdrop of the French Revolution, in the final years of the Enlightenment era where rational and liberal thoughts were motivating creative minds, leading to vast new artistic innovations, including this one.