Mozart’s Così fan tutte, the third collaboration with Lorenzo da Ponte, is a masterpiece of comic invention and dramatic detail. Two young men disguise themselves to test their lovers’ fidelity and what starts out as fun and games, turns into something no one quite bargained for. The alternative title, The School for Lovers (La scuola degli amanti) is perhaps a more precise description of the opera – four naïve young lovers trying to understand and figure out the nature of love and relationships. The mischief makers, Don Alfonso and Despina, two characters with a little more experience, lead the young lovers through the opera, imparting their worldly advice and cynical points of view. The opera will be conducted by the remarkable Joseph Mechavich (Il matrimonio segreto 2010) and directed by Artistic Director, Joshua Major. (Pre-opera talk one hour before performance by Joseph Mechavich)
Sondheim’s enduring and touching masterpiece, A Little Night Music, continues where Così fan tutte leaves off. With a sweeping, lush score, (“Send in the Clowns,” “A Weekend in the Country”) and a plot that cleverly weaves together stories of love, intrigue and heartache, Sondheim continues our exploration of love. Based on Ingmar Bergman's film Smiles of a Summer Night, A Little Night Music is set in a weekend country house in turn-of-the-century Sweden. This witty and romantic story with music set in ¾ time is the perfect midsummer musical. A middle-aged lawyer, an 18-year-old bride, a sardonic old woman, the somber brooding son of the middle-aged lawyer, a former actress lover, the military lover of the former actress lover, the manic depressive wife of the military lover of the former actress lover, and a maid all end up spending a weekend together in a country estate. Wit, romance, heartache and finally, reconciliation ensue.
The Resident Opera Artist program, an integral part of the Festival opera productions, is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.