Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Così fan tutte, Così fan tutti

Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte is one of my top favorites.  The title declares that women are fickle.  The women in the opera, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, whose fidelity is tested by their respective sworn fiancés, Guglielmo and Ferrando disguised as Albanians, succumb to seductions of the wrong man and prove their failure in fidelity.  This is, however, a male point of view.  The two men, even in playing a trickery, were exercising infidelity by seducing each other’s beloved.  From the point of view of a flirtatious woman the seducer is no less a culprit than the seduced.  The two men, even after exposing themselves, don’t realize their own folly, not to speak of Alfonso who instigated the game, while Despina, recruited by Alfonso, knows the truth that men are everywhere ready to be seduced.  Having won their proper lovers in the end, Fiordiligi and Dorabella were victorious winners.  Rightly, the whole title of the opera reads Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, the School for Lovers All, Men and Women, as I understand it.  I would retitle it to read Così fan tutte, Così fan tutti — They All Do It, Men and Women. Mozart’s music, of course, is unsurpassed. 

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