What does love teach you?
Welsh National Opera takes you back to school with a brand-new production of Mozart’s comic opera Così fan tutte aka The School for Lovers directed by Max Hoehn (The Consul). Four sixth formers discover that falling in love can be incredible, awkward, and complicated in this coming-of-age tale.
The students are given a valuable lesson in love, life and liberty when their teacher involves them in a secret experiment. Played out to some of Mozart’s most ravishing music, they are challenged to re-think their own identities and relationships with each other as they are confronted with a series of amusing scenarios designed to deceive.
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WNO's new productions and new commissions are supported by the John Ellerman Foundation. Leading production support from the Colwinston Charitable Trust. Supported by Dunard Fund and WNO Donors.
Cast & Creative
At The School for Lovers, Don Alfonso is determined to educate his pupils, Ferrando and Guglielmo, on the subjects of relationships and fidelity. The boys consider their girlfriends faultless and refuse to believe they could ever be unfaithful. Don Alfonso insists that women, like human nature, cannot be trusted. He bets that he can prove his point. The boys agree to play the game by Alfonso’s rules and are confident they can win.
A little later, two sisters, Fiordiligi (Guglielmo’s girlfriend) and Dorabella (Ferrando’s girlfriend) are raving about how attractive their boyfriends are. Don Alfonso unexpectedly turns up to deliver the dreadful news that Ferrando and Guglielmo must leave immediately. The boys appear to say goodbye to Fiordiligi and Dorabella.
The dinner lady, Despina, turns up and sees how upset the girls are following their boyfriends’ departure. She gives them a lecture on male duplicity, urging them to make the most of their freedom.
Alfonso bribes Despina to help him in his plan to destroy the illusions of these young lovers. He introduces her to two young foreigners, who are in fact Guglielmo and Ferrando in disguise.
The sisters meet the new arrivals. They do not recognise their boyfriends. When the foreigners start making advances, the girls reject them. When the boys challenge Alfonso to admit defeat, he insists the game is far from over.
Fiordiligi and Dorabella reflect how quickly their lives have changed within a day. They are interrupted by the two foreigners, who have allegedly poisoned themselves. Panic ensues and Alfonso rushes for a doctor. Despina comes to the rescue, disguised as a psychic healer. Fiordiligi and Dorabella are desperate to save the boys’ lives. Once the danger has passed and they pretend to recover consciousness. Once again, Fiordiligi and Dorabella fight off their advances.
Despina dares the sisters to be more carefree. Fiordiligi’s thoughts turn back to their original lovers. Dorabella is more inclined to take Despina’s advice. Eventually they agree to meet the strangers again - just for fun. Each has her own favourite - namely the boyfriend of the other.
The boys serenade the girls and promise to behave more respectfully. Two intimate encounters develop. The sparks fly between Dorabella and Guglielmo and one thing leads to another. On the other hand, Fiordiligi remains resistant to Ferrando. She is torn between her feelings for her departed lover and this new, attractive stranger.
Don Alfonso sees his beliefs confirmed and the boys’ naivety exposed. Guglielmo and Ferrando are emotionally drained by the whole experience. Alfonso prescribes marriage as the best remedy for the situation.
A double wedding ceremony is prepared. Fiordiligi and Dorabella are ready to marry their new lovers. Despina pretends to be a notary and issues the marriage contracts. The new couples sign them only for Don Alfonso to announce the sudden return of the girls’ former lovers.
Guglielmo and Ferrando reveal their true identities. Dorabella and Fiordiligi ask forforgiveness. The boys accept and promise not to doubt them again. Despina is furious that she fell for the boys’ disguises and became part of Alfonso’s master plan.