Cosi Fan Tutte
In two acts by MOZART.
Text by DA PONTE, newly arranged by L. SCHNEIDER and ED. DEVRIENT.
This opera, though lovely in its way, has never had the success, which
the preceding Figaro and Don Juan attained, and this is due for the
most part to the libretto. In the original text it really shows
female fickleness, and justifies its title. But the more Mozart's
music was admired, the less could one be satisfied with such a
libretto. Schneider and Devrient therefore altered it and in their
version the two female lovers are put to the test, but midway in the
plot it is revealed to them that they are being tried--, with the
result that they feign faithlessness, play the part out and at the
close declare their knowledge, turning the sting against the authors of
the unworthy comedy. The contents may be told shortly.
Don Fernando and Don Alvar are betrothed to two Andalusian ladies,
Rosaura and Isabella.
They loudly praise their ladies' fidelity, when an old bachelor, named
Onofrio, pretends that their sweet-hearts are not better than other
women and accessible to temptation. The lovers agree to make the trial
and promise to do everything which Onofrio dictates. Thereupon they
announce to the ladies, that they are ordered to Havannah with their
regiment, and after a tender leavetaking, they depart to appear again
in another guise, as officers of a strange regiment. Onofrio has won
the ladies-maid, Dolores, to aid in the furtherance of his schemes and
the officers enter, beginning at once to make love to Isabella and
Rosaura, but each, as was before agreed, to the other's affianced.
Of course the ladies reject them, and the lovers begin to triumph, when
Onofrio prompts them to try another temptation. The strangers, mad
with love, pretend to drink poison in the young ladies' presence.
Of course these tenderhearted maidens are much aggrieved; they call
Dolores, who bids her mistresses hold the patients in their arms; then
coming disguised as a physician, she gives them an antidote. By this
clumsy subterfuge they excite the ladies' pity and are nearly
successful in their foolish endeavours, when Dolores, pitying the
cruelly tested women, reveals the whole plot to them.
Isabella and Rosaura now resolve to enter into the play. They accept
the disguised suitors, and even consent to a marriage. Dolores appears
in the shape of a notary, without being recognized by the men. The
marriage-contract is signed, and the lovers disappear to return in
their true characters, full of righteous contempt. Isabella and
Rosaura make believe to be conscience-stricken, and for a long while
torment and deceive their angry bridegrooms. But at last they grow
tired of teasing, they present the disguised Dolores, and they put
their lovers to shame by showing that all was a farce. Of course the
gentlemen humbly ask their pardon, and old Onofrio is obliged to own
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