Cosi fan tutte, on opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, might seem hard to pronounce at first, but it won’t be hard to understand. The fun and light-hearted comedic opera, to be performed in HSU’s Van Ellis Theatre, is usually sung in Italian, but HSU students will perform in a language more people in Texas can appreciate…English.
Cosi fan tutte, literally translated, means “Thus do they all,” but it is more commonly translated as “Women are like that.” The opera will be performed four times by Hardin-Simmons University students April 11 – 14, 2013, in Van Ellis Theatre at 7:30 p.m. The last performance, Sunday, will be at 2 p.m.
Assistant professor of voice and director of opera, Dr. Chris Hollingsworth, says, “Our student performers absolutely love how the many zany characters play out in this fun and twisted comedy! Audiences are in store for some very fun and outrageous costumes, but the moustaches will win them over. What woman can resist a stylish moustache,” asks Hollingsworth with a wink.
“Audience will have a lot of fun as they watch two young men try to win women’s hearts with some of the worst pick-up attempts ever tried. The fantastic and ridiculous nature of the two men disguised in Turkish attire and dawning Italian flair; quite absurd and yet full of fun,” says Hollingsworth. “People will also appreciate the animated characters that the maid Despina portrays as a bet unfolds.”
The first performance of Mozart’s opera took place at the Burgtheater, known by many as the German National Theatre, in Vienna on January 26, 1790. It was given only five times before the run was stopped by the death of Emperor Joseph II.
While the subject matter did not offend Viennese sensibilities of the time, throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries the opera was considered risqué and was presented in a style known as “to bowdlerize,” a common way to present Shakespearean plays as well, in a less offensive way. Hollingsworth says with a grin, “Audiences at HSU can expect a very clean, family fun production, with some mischief mixed in.”
The stage will be dressed as an 18th century period European living room. A garden on stage left features a fountain and flowers with benches.
As for the HSU students performing in the opera, Hollingsworth says, “This production gives students the opportunity to develop a role musically and artistically from the ground up.
“Performing in the main-stage opera with the HSU Orchestra gives them the opportunity to take the fundamental skills that they have learned in Opera Workshop such as stage craft, character development, stage direction, and role preparation and realize it in a finished performance product.”
Leslie Collie – Fiordiligi (Master of Music in Vocal Performance)
Rita Nsumbu – Dorabella (senior - Bachelor of Arts in Music)
Allison Grider – Dorabella (senior - Bachelor of Music Education)
Camille Skye – Despina (Master of Music in Vocal Performance)
Amanda Hollis – Despina (Master of Music in Vocal Performance)
Aaron Shipp – Ferrando (junior – Bachelor of Music Education)
David Jolly – Guglielmo (junior – Bachelor of Music in Church Music)
Jordan Juarez – Don Alfonso (freshman – Bachelor of Music Education)
“We look forward to a fun and light-hearted show,” says Hollingsworth. “Our hope is that everyone will leave having laughed a lot, enjoyed the masterful music of Mozart, and arrive home glad that they attended!”
Thursday, April 11, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.
General admission is $8; military, seniors, and students are $5; and HSU faculty, staff, and students are $3. Purchase tickets online at WWW.HSUTX.EDU/TICKETS or at the door.