Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor: David Robertson
My mother is a subscriber to the Metropolitan Opera so she treated me to a performance of this Mozart comedy. This is only the fifth opera I’ve seen in my life (after The Magic Flute, La Boheme, Semele, and Madama Butterfly). This was also my first visit to the spectacularly modernist Metropolitan Opera House, and now I’ve seen a performance in all three of the main venues of Lincoln Center.
As for Così fan tutte, well it’s not modern at all. The title is translated as “all women are like that” and is a misogynist depiction of women as unfaithful. The performance begins with two sailors Ferrando and Guglielmo, bragging about the faithfulness of their fiancees, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi. Their older, wiser (creepy old dude) friend Don Alfonso makes them a wager that these women cannot remain faithful. The young men pretend that they are called to war and return in disguise to attempt to seduce the other man’s fiancee, which of course, they do within 24 hours and lose the bet to Don Alfonso. There’s a lot of ickiness in all of the farce and it’s disappointing that Dorabella and Fiordiligi have to apologize for their unfaithfulness rather than ditching Ferrando and Guglielmo for their manipulative deception.
Of course, the singing and the music is lovely. I particularly like Kelli O’Hara as the feisty maid Despina who helps Don Alfonso in his plot. And some of the gags are worth a laugh, if only because the Metropolitan Opera is very loose in the translations they display on the subtitle screens (one line about a cowboy from Texas was almost certainly not in the original libretto). What’s remarkable about this staging is that it is set in a seaside resort modeled after Coney Island in the 1950s which makes for delightful costumes and scenery. They even have a team of actual sideshow performers (and a live ball python) performing tricks on stage. But the best part was the stagecraft, especially in the second act, when most of the scenes were set on amusement park rides. One aria in particular was set entirely on a floating balloon.
This Così fan tutte is definitely worth seeing for its adaptation through a carnival lens.
Late, but still worth listening to. There’s a lot of terrific material this week, although to be fair several of my recommendations are repackaging previously released content, so think of this as a greatest hits package of greatest hits!
Several stories debunk the myths of poverty and ask why economists don’t ask the right questions about poverty.
Have You Heard – ‘I Quit’ – Teachers Are Leaving and They Want to Tell You Why
The stress and inequity of teaching in defunded and underesourced public schools is causing teachers to quit teaching, but some of them are prominently telling the world why they’re leaving in hopes of bringing positive change for future teachers, students, and schools.
Slavery and segregation not only meant discriminating against black people, but also defining what it means to be white. Three stories detail how the idea of whiteness played out in different periods of American history.
Three stories of the experiences of transgender persons, as well as an exploration of the “feminine” qualities of straight cis men. I was particularly touched by the story of “The Accidental Gay Parents.”
A beautiful early Spring day proved perfect for a visit to New York’s seaside playground, Coney Island. We started with a visit to the New York Aquarium, which is still rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, but still able to display and explain a variety of aquatic animals. We enjoyed seeing Diego and Osborne in the sea lion show, particularly. Then, Peter and I took a ride on the famous Wonder Wheel, where the cars not only go in a big circle, but slide around within the circle. In between, we ate lunch on the Boardwalk at Nathan’s Famous Frankfurters.
Diego and Cristina give a lesson on shark conservation.