Arizona Opera takes a look at Mozart’s comic “Cosi” through the lens of 2022 | Music
Meeker, making his Arizona Opera conducting debut, flipped the script on “Cosi,” the story of two soldiers who decide to test their fiancée’s loyalty by pretending to go to war. Would women remain faithful while their men left or would they find new lovers?
What if women were in the game? What if they knew they were being played?
Such a notion of 2022, okay.
“We’re taking classic masterpieces from the operatic canon, including ‘Cosi,’ and finding ways to really help them stay relevant and really resonate with modern audiences,” Meeker said on a call. phone call from Phoenix a few days before the show. opened there last weekend.
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In Meeker’s hands, Dorabella and Fiordiligi play unsuspecting as their fiancé Ferrando and Guglielmo go into battle. They have no idea that the two men, under a bet from Don Alfonso, are testing their loyalty.
But when the game is revealed towards the end, the women get it.
Now, instead of being devoted helpless women answering to their men, Meeker’s Dorabella and Fiordiligi are empowered to follow their own destinies.
“Why did women have to be manipulated and not have a say? said Meeker.
Mozart ended the opera with something that felt like a moral of the story: the characters kiss, wear makeup, and live happily ever after.
Not in Meeker’s version.
The women are on their own, leaving the men to wonder what just happened.
“No one is the same after that,” she explained. “We decided by listening to the text and the music that there was no reason for everything to be happily ever after again. … The characters are really left free to make their own choices.
Meeker also introduced the play in 2022 with a few minor set and costume tweaks, evolving from the classic French Rococo era – large wigs, flowing, ruffled dresses – to Mozart’s 1790s that the characters wear in the early 1900s. opera to contemporary styles of 2022 with attitudes to match the ending.
And while audiences will walk away with a very different message than audiences of Mozart’s day, Meeker has remained true to Mozart’s music and story.
“It’s going to be musically fantastic. It’s really fun. There are fabulous and wonderful human lessons to be learned in the play, but in a charming and deliciously comedic way,” said Meeker, general and artistic director of Opera San Antonio in Texas.
“Opera is a living, breathing art form. It is a misconception that so many of these pieces were written 300 years ago, that they are museum pieces that do not evolve or change,” she added. “There are a lot of artists and companies around the world that are bringing a light and fresh new take on these pieces, and I think that’s really exciting.”
The cast of the Arizona Opera production is drawn from the current and past ranks of the company’s Marion Roose Pullin Opera Studio, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary. Conductor Karen Kamensek, who conducted in 2019-20 Metropolitan OperaPhilip Glass’ production of Akhnaton will conduct the orchestra.
“Cosi fan tutte” will be performed at Tucson Music Hall, 260 S. Church Ave., at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 16 and 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 17. Tickets cost between $30 and $125. azopera.org
Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @Starburch