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  • Writer's pictureSTEVE COOKE AATA

Cosi Fan Tutte at The lowry review by Steve gRIFFITHS


Opera North’s Cosi Fan Tutte, directed by Tim Albery a revival since it was first done in 2004, is still excellent value.

 

Albery sets it in its own period, with 18th-Century wigs and costumes, and in an anonymous place with no backdrop but with a huge “camera obscura” in which all truth is to be revealed by an unblinking lens (set and costume design by Tobias Hoheisel).

 



The story – of two sisters and their lovers, who discover that affections can easily be simulated and then transferred to each other’s sweethearts in a single day (thus winning a bet for philosopher Don Alfonso, aided by amoral ladies’ maid, Despina) – is a kind of scientific experiment - it works really well.

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The central pairs of young lovers are believably youthful. Alexandra Lowe (Fiordiligi) and Heather Lowe (Dorabella) - not sisters in real life – show their vocal mastery and ability to impart character.

 



The virtue of their casting here is that their vocal tone is quite distinct but complementary, and they play their parts as distinct and balancing personalities.

 

 Heather Lowe is more sensual from the start (her line about Ferrando – her original lover – being “possessive”), and there’s no doubt she’s up for flirting with someone else with relatively little encouragement. Her scene with Guglielmo begins to seem as if they both know exactly what they’re up to and are enjoying the play-acting.

 

Anthony Gregory (Ferrando) is a tenor of mellow, refined tone and joins in the fun very well, albeit with a straight face. Henry Neill is an earthier, more knowing Guglielmo, but still capable of a telling burst of emotion at the thought of his lover’s betrayal.

Gillene Butterfield enjoys herself as the sparky Despina, showing great comic timing

 

Clemens Schuldt conducts with assured grace and constant vitality

And Quirijn De Lang maintains his air of gentle superiority, educating the youngsters in their relationship studies – and winning his bet, too.

 

As always the Lowry provides super entertainment at a realistic price. And no need to put yourself at the mercy of Avanti West coast. Or their web site .

                                                      

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