Biola Conservatory of Music presents a captivating night at the opera

Biola Opera Theater puts a 1950s spin on a original Mozart opera “Cosi Fan Tutte.”



Biola Opera Theater put a 1950s spin on a original Mozart opera “Cosi Fan Tutte.” | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES

Miranda Paul, Writer

Biola Opera Theater put a 1950s spin on a original Mozart opera “Cosi Fan Tutte.” Their performances took place in Crowell Hall last weekend. | Tomber Su/THE CHIMES


Performed originally in 1790 by Mozart, “Così Fan Tutte” is currently performing for Biola audiences in the Crowell Music Building. The comedic Italian play’s title loosely means “As They All Do,” or “Women Are Like That.” Biola’s coordinator of vocal studies and director of Biola Opera Theater, Jeanne Robinson adds a twist by taking this 18th century plot and placing it within the Happy Days era of the 1950s. Placing opera within the ‘50s era seems odd at first, as the two themes seem unrelated. However, “Così” has many surprises in store, especially for the first time opera-goer.


The plot centers around two couples who claim to be in love, but chaos arises, causing them to question their true affections for each other. The male roles of Guglielmo (Hee David Yoon) and Ferrando (Nate Brown) are two friends who are dating sisters Fiordiligi (Elizabeth Sywulka) and Dorabella (Sharon Clark). Guglielmo and Ferrando promise undying love and loyalty to their high school sweethearts. However, an older friend, Alfonso, (Israel Bacchus) claims that all women are not as faithful as they seem. Guglielmo and Ferrando make a bet with Alfonso and pretend to be drafted and reappear disguised as European suitors who try to win the hearts of their girlfriends.

I was a first time opera-goer when “Così” premiered on opening night, and I had great anticipation and excitement built up beforehand. Right from the beginning, Biola’s Symphony Orchestra captures the audience with the sounds of Mozart, which compliment the technique and sound of the singers. From the very first act, the show is simply stunning — a captivating performance by some of Biola’s finest musicians and vocalists.


Conductor of the Symphony Marlin Owen made an important note that, especially with Mozart, the plot may have lulls and the audience may become restless for more action. Especially for one’s first exposure to opera, there may be a danger of drifting attention. However, “Così” does a fantastic job of always bringing you back with its fabulous ensemble, entertaining choreography and lively music.

While opera may not be the first item on Biolan’s bucket lists, “Così Fan Tutte” is an opportunity to get acquainted with a unique performance style while getting a rich dose of history and culture. With standout performances by fellow students and a show packed with emotion and beauty, missing this show would be a shame. Performances are on Feb. 14 and 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 3 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online and at the door for a $10 student admission.

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