Friday, September 23, 2011

Cosi Fan Tutte

This last week I tagged along with the Black Hat Collective, a crew of cartoonists and bloggers, to the Minnesota Opera for a showing of the Mozart opera Cosi Fan Tutte.  And the lot of us drew some funny pictures to go along with what we've seen.

Read on to learn more about Cosi Fan Tutte and to see my cartoons.

My write-up:

In Cosi Fan Tutte, the epic troll Don Alphonzo convinces our two young "heroes"(?) to test their girlfriends' fidelity —their method: dressing up in ridiculous disguises and seducing (read: dogging the hell out of) each others' objects of affection. 
When they succeed at the seduction (failure would be impossible given the effort they expend) they logically lose their wager with Alphonzo, and when they get upset at this and reveal themselves to their lovers (at the altar, of course), the girls are utterly ashamed.  So in the final assessment, everybody loses.  Then Don Alphonzo reveals that he did it for the lulz and to teach the boys a lesson, and this fact makes everybody happy for some reason, the end.

The opera is a hilarious, slapstick farce (I like to compare Mozart operas to Marx brothers films) but Cosi Fan Tutte is also oddly reprehensible at the same time.  Half the laughs are from the delightfully hammy antics and half are awkward tension-breaking laughs at all the sexism and peer pressure happening on stage.  But however you choose to look at it, it's going to be a lot of laughs.  Go see it.

My cartoons based on the play:

Costume for Despina, the maid who serves the two women in the story. 
She teams up with Alphonzo to stage the elaborate practical joke that is this play.

The young mens' "clever disguises" might as well look like this

In a scene where the young men pretend to poison themselves,
Despina dresses up as a mad scientist and zaps them "back to life"
with a giant magnet.  If that doesn't tell you what this play is like,
nothing will.

The antics depicted in these cartoons are not exaggerated from the stage in the least.

At whoever wrote the subtitles for this opera-
I didn't know there were zombies in this play
Towards the end of the final act, Don Alphonzo schools the
heroes on the finer points of sexism
Have a nice day everyone, and keep laughing
Further notes:  The play has some sparse sets, but the interactions between the characters keeps everything dynamic so it's not an issue.  I wonder whether Mozart and Ponte knew that the characters they were writing were inappropriate (and thus extra funny) when they wrote it, or if it's only become that way over time.  Anybody who wants to discuss this opera, let's discuss.

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