“Cosi` Fan Tutte” in Toronto

Cosi` Fan Tutte

Wolfgang Amedeus Mozart

Atom Egoyan explores love, fidelity and the frailties of the human condition.

Celebrated director Atom Egoyan returns to the COC, bringing his signature style to this wry comedy about two couples gambling with faith and desire. Featuring a cast of exciting young opera stars and distinguished, seasoned veterans, this work is full of both farce and folly. Yet Mozart’s sublime musical depiction of the honest and intimate struggles of love and temptation is truly one of the greatest pieces about relationships ever written.

Canadian Opera Company

JANUARY 18 to FEBRUARY 21, 2014

On stage at the Four Seasons Centre, 145 Queen St. W., Toronto.
Performance time is approximately three hours, 5 minutes including one intermission.
Sung in Italian with English SURTITLES™.

Conductor: Johannes Debus
Director: Atom Egoyan
Set & Costume Designer: Debra Hanson

Fiordiligi: Layla Claire
Dorabella: Wallis Giunta
Ferrando: Paul Appleby
Guglielmo: Robert Gleadow
Despina: Tracy Dahl
Don Alfonso: Thomas Allen

New Canadian Opera Company Production


Act I

Don Alfonso, a gentleman, goads two young soldiers into a wager regarding their fiancées’ fidelity. Ferrando and Guglielmo are convinced their lovers – Dorabella and Fiordiligi, respectively – are true to them, and agree to test the women’s faithfulness through trickery. The men agree to do everything Don Alfonso asks.

Sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi are met in their garden by Don Alfonso. He tells them that their fiancés have been recalled to military duty. The two soldiers arrive to bid their unhappy fiancées farewell. The sisters are inconsolable. Once the men have departed, their maid Despina suggests that Dorabella and Fiordiligi amuse themselves in the meantime by meeting other men. The women refuse to be unfaithful to their lovers.

Don Alfonso speaks privately with Despina, enlisting her aid in introducing two prospective lotharios to the sisters. He then presents to Despina two “Albanians,” who are none other than Guglielmo and Ferrando in disguise. When Fiordiligi and Dorabella arrive, the men proclaim their affection. The women demand that the strangers leave their house.

Later that day, the Albanians burst into the garden where the two sisters still sit, lamenting the absence of their sweethearts. The men drink what they claim is poison, expressing their wish to die for love. A doctor arrives (Despina in disguise) and “revives” the two men.

Act II

Despina attempts to persuade Dorabella and Fiordiligi to be more receptive to the Albanians’ advances. The sisters reluctantly agree that a flirtation might prove a welcome distraction in the absence of their fiancés. The men return once more to serenade the sisters, and this time Dorabella exchanges words of love with Guglielmo – to his astonishment. Ferrando has less luck with Fiordiligi.

Ferrando is told of his lover’s betrayal and vows revenge. Don Alfonso reminds the soldiers that the test is not yet over.

Dorabella confesses her new fondness for her Albanian to Despina. Fiordiligi admits that she also has feelings for the Albanian (the disguised Ferrando), but scolds her sister’s lack of control and vows to remain true to her fiancé. But when Ferrando returns, secretly accompanied by Guglielmo and Don Alfonso, Fiordiligi yields to his advances.

Ferrando and Guglielmo lament their lovers’ betrayal and express a desire for revenge. Don Alfonso urges the now-bitterly-disillusioned soldiers to marry the women.

Wedding preparations are quickly made. Don Alfonso produces a notary – Despina in disguise – who in turn produces a marriage contract. A drum is heard, signaling the return of the soldiers. Having hastily removed their disguises, Ferrando and Guglielmo appear and feign outrage at the incriminating scene. But when they put on their Albanian disguises, the truth comes out.

In the final chorus all four lovers, in the spirit of reconciliation, sing hopefully of accepting life as it presents itself and maintaining a sense of humour. But will they be able to when faced with an uncertain future?

Artist Basics: Layla Claire

What she’s doing with us: Hailing from Penticton, B.C., soprano Layla Claire makes her COC debut at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts as Fiordiligi in Atom Egoyan’s brand new production of Mozart’s romantic comedy, Così fan tutte.

Where you might have seen her: Well-known for her skills with Mozart’s repertoire, Layla has performed a variety of roles onstage at Palm Beach Opera, Tanglewood Festival, Curtis Opera Theatre, Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence and at the Metropolitan Opera. While at the Met, she also performed the role of Helena in the world premiere of The Enchanted Island.

Her background: Layla earned an undergraduate and a master’s degree from the University of Montreal, continued her studies at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and took her talents to the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. (Two of her Così co-stars, Paul Appleby and Wallis Giunta, also graduated from the Lindemann program.)

Interviews and profiles: Layla was featured in Opera News last year about her time spent at the Lindemann program, a Toronto Star article profiled her performance as Sandrina in La finta giardiniera at the 2012 Aix Festival, and she is featured in a coaching session with conductor James Levine in the PBS documentary, America’s Maestro. Most recently, she participated in a Q&A in a CBC Music blog post about being awarded the illustrious Virginia Parker Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts.

What’s next for Layla: Before she heads to Toronto for Così in the winter, Layla stars as Pamina in The Magic Flute at the Pittsburgh Opera, and next spring she performs the same role at the Minnesota Opera.

You can follow Layla on Twitter @laylaclairesop or on Facebook.

Watch Layla perform with Elizabeth DeShong (our Cenerentola from 2010) in this clip from The Enchanted Island.

Performance Dates & Times

  • Sat. Jan. 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri. Jan. 24, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Wed. Jan. 29, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sat. Feb. 1, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.
  • Thurs. Feb. 6, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • *Fri. Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.*
  • Sun. Feb. 9, 2014 at 2 p.m.
  • Sat. Feb. 15, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Tues. Feb. 18, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Fri. Feb. 21, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

* Special Ensemble Studio Performance

“Las Dos Fridas” painting by Frida Kahlo © 2011 Banco de México Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo Museums Trust. Av. Cinco de Mayo No. 2, Col. Centro, Del. Cuauhtémoc 06059, México, D. F.


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