After three years of silence due to COVID restrictions, Mozart’s musical comedy of social manners, Così fan tutte, will mark Opera Nova Scotia’s return to the Halifax performing arts scene.
Realizing the many similarities of argument between the opera and Jane Austen’s novels, the Opera Nova Scotia production moves the action from Naples to Regency England as it tells the story of two officers testing the fidelity of their intended brides by pretending to leave for the wars, then returning outlandishly disguised and attempting to seduce each other’s sweethearts. Order is restored by the philosopher Don Alfonso’s advice: true love is founded on accepting the foibles inherent in each gender, the resulting harmony promising a secure society.
Sung in English using Metropolitan Opera’s translation, Opera Nova Scotia’s version is a staged chamber production with six vocal soloists, piano, harpsichord, and cello.
Each of the vocal cast has a significant link to Nova Scotia, with Canadian early music star soprano Meghan Lindsay appearing in her third role with Opera Nova Scotia and Dartmouth native Suzanne Rigden adding to her characterizations of Mozart’s comic soprano roles.
Bass Jon-Paul Décosse adds another portrait to his gallery of male roles. Also, Nova Scotian baritone Nicholas Higgs celebrates graduating from the University of Toronto with a master’s degree in voice.
Halifax audiences will also discover two singers new to the city, including soprano Ellita Gagner, with Annapolis Valley roots, and Jamaican Canadian tenor Paul Williamson.
The instrumental trio of Neil Cockburn, Nick Rodgerson and Shimon Walt will supply Mozart’s orchestral score.
Opera Nova Scotia presents Così fan tutte at the Sir James Theatre in the Dalhousie Arts Centre (6101 University Ave, Halifax) on May 26 & 27. Visit nsopera.ca for tickets and information.