John Eliot Gardiner conducting The English Baroque Soloists:
Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School For Lovers) K. 588, is an opera buffa by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The libretto was written by Lorenzo da Ponte.
Così fan tutte (often shortened to Così in the English-speaking world) is one of the three Mozart operas for which da Ponte wrote the libretto. The other two da Ponte-Mozart collaborations were Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni.
Così was written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II. The libretto was originally intended to be set to music by Mozart’s contemporary Antonio Salieri but Salieri only completed parts of the first act and then broke off work on the opera.
The title, Così fan tutte, literally means “Thus do all [women]” but it is often translated as “Women are like that”. The first performance of Mozart’s setting took place at the Burgtheater in Vienna on January 26, 1790.
Synopsis Mozart and Da Ponte took as a theme “fiancée swapping” which dates back to the 13th century, with notable earlier versions being those of Boccaccio’s Decameron and Shakespeare’s play Cymbeline. Elements from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew are also present. Furthermore, it incorporates elements of the myth of Procris as found in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, vii.
The two officers Ferrando and Guilelmo are in a coffehouse raving about their brides, the two sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi. Their skeptical friend Don Alfonso, as old philosopher, expresses his doubt concerning the women’s fidelity, immediately provoking such indignation on the part of the young men that they challenge him to a duel.
The London Philharmonic conducted by Andrew Davis: La Clemenza di Tito (The Clemency of Titus), K.621 is an opera seria composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with text after Metastasio. It was in fact, his very last opera, having been started after the bulk of Die Zauberflöte was already written (though Mozart did not complete Die Zauberflöte until his return to Vienna after the Prague premiere of Tito). In July 1791, the last year of his life, Mozart was already well advanced in writing The Magic Flute when he was asked to compose an opera seria.
The commission came from the impresario Domenico Guardasoni, who lived in Prague and who had been charged with providing a new work to mark the coronation of Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor as King of Bohemia. The Ceremony would take place on September 6; Guardasoni had been approached about the opera in June. There was not much room to manoeuvre.