cosi fan tutte
cape town opera | baxter theatre | cape town | 2012
This uncompromsinging Cosi focussed unflinchingly on the piece’s darker undercurrents - the sadism of the plot, the ever-present shadow of war, and the pain and loss experienced by the four lovers. Framed as a home make-over reality TV show, two returning veterans of the war in Afghanistan lost their dreams of domestic bliss in a maze of cardboard boxes and bubble-wrapped furniture.
★★★★ “Three crystalline sopranos, two resonant baritones and a finely-nuanced tenor lead the cast under the zany, but brilliant direction of Matthew Wild, who proves yet again that he has the ability to disconcert and delight his audiences, jolting their complacency and confounding their expectations. Who else would have thought of setting an 18th-century masterpiece in the context of a 21st-century reality TV show, with its distinctive blend of emotional voyeurism and whimsy? Wild not only does it, but he pulls it off ...The departure from convention is apparent as the first notes of the overture are played: surtitles enlighten the audience regarding the dumb-show enacted as a preface to Act One, as the young leads learn that they have won a home make-over. All the attendant publicity brings an invasion of cameramen as well as decorators and builders into their space (quintessential reality TV). What ensues is a repeated violation of their privacy as the ubiquitous cameras and lights appear at inappropriate moments throughout the testing of female constancy and the torture of their lovers. All of which is instigated by the urbane Don Alfonso, who, like the audience, is just having fun ... an entertaining production which unites sublime music with thought-provoking interpretation” CAPE ARGUS
“While Così fan tutte is the world’s eleventh most frequently performed opera, Capetonians were completely bowled over by Matthew Wild’s brilliantly renovated and original production ... It was fresh, creative and wholly successful in entertaining the audience whilst exploring the age-old mysteries of the human heart ... The decision to stage the play as a modern day reality-TV-show-in-progress works remarkably well ... Along with some exceptional lighting from Kobus Rossouw, set designer Tina Driedijk has once again outdone herself with a visually arresting stage design and props that echo the transience of young love. All in all it was a visual and aural feast” WHATSONINCAPETOWN
“In many ways, Mozart’s opera, Cosi fan tutte despite its comic moments, can be said to be a dark tale of manipulation, infidelity and emotional cruelty. The temptation in most productions would be to focus on the comedic aspects and gloss over the darkness of Lorenzo Da Ponte’s libretto ... However, director Matthew Wild has in this production taken a different approach. By setting the action in a TV reality show, the comedy is assured along with the cruel manipulations of the host Don Alfonso, played by Phelo Nodlayiya. Television is indeed a cruel medium and the antics of the duped foursome; Fiordiligi, Dorabella, Ferando and Guglielmo are at once slapstick, ridiculous and pathetic ... On the face of it, the plot (as in most opera) is very thin, but Matthew Wild’s staging thickens the action by providing extra twists. The reveal of the deception to all the “contestants” at the end is as big a surprise to the audience as it is to the hapless foursome. Layer on layer, the levels of deception, carefully woven by the arch manipulator Don Alfonso, make this somewhat lengthy opera fly by.” MONDAY MISSILE
“Vir dié produksie van Così, deur Kaapstad Opera (KO) en die Universiteit van Kaapstad (UK) se operaskool, het die regisseur Matthew Wild gereken die verhaal het elemente van realiteitstelevisie – dink Cheaters! En so gee hy energie aan die opera en laat die gehoor daarby aanklank vind. Hierdie mondering werk ... Die spelleiding sorg egter vir boeiende komedie ... hierdie is ’n goedontwerpte en deurdagte produksie.” DIE BURGER