Review: Cosi fan tutte, English Touring Opera, Snape, April 18th

It was surely a combination of Mozart’s irresistible music and the loyal support that ETO has engendered in this region that led to an almost full house at The Maltings.

As befits a touring production the set was simple and crisply effective and as the wind players danced through their solos in the overture one sensed a successful evening unfolding.

The small, symmetrical cast (all parts equally important) requires a consistent level of performance that was certainly achieved. Both Anthony Gregory (Ferrando) and Toby Girling (Gugliemo) brought a freshness and ardent lyricism to their roles, young men in love but novices in the ways of the world. Richard Mosley-Evans was their perfect foil, all worldly cynicism and manipulation, though leavened by an occasional twinkle and delivered with pleasing character and clarity.

Both Laura Mitchell and Kitty Whately in the roles of Fiordiligi and Dorabella gave accomplished displays, the famous duet as their lovers set off to war as beguiling as ever and Mitchell outstanding in her coloratura aria.

Paula Sides, a strong stage personality as well as a fine singer, made the most of the opportunities in the part of Despina and forged a strong bond with the audience. All singers rose comfortably to the vocal demands and the production flowed easily and happily.

Everything worked. Conductor James Burton got the tempi spot on and the orchestra was in top form with sparkling contributions from the wind particularly deserving of praise.

Director Andrew Higgins displayed a sure touch, a plate of grapes a nice parallel for the temptations of straying from the path of true love. This was a wholly successful and enjoyable performance, fully capturing the humour and high spirits of the work, but acknowledging its darker moments as well.

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Gareth Jones

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