Ryan Brown, conductor
Nick Olcott, director
Misha Kachman, set designer
Kendra Rai, costume designer
Colin K. Bills, lighting designer
Claire Debono, Delphine
Bernard Deletré, Don Alphonse
Jeffrey Thompson, peintre
Friday, October 18, 2013, 7:30 p.m., Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Saturday, October 19, 2013, 2:00 p.m., Kennedy Center Terrace Theater
Thursday, January 23, 2014, 6:30, Rose Theater, Frederick P. Rose Hall,
Home of Jazz at Lincoln Center
Thursday, January 30, 2014, 8:00 p.m., Versailles
Saturday, February 1, 2014, 4:00 p.m., Versailles
Among the precedents for Mozart and Da Ponte’s final masterpiece, Così fan tutte, was Les Femmes Vengées (The Avenging Wives), a 1775 opéra-comique by Philidor and Sedaine. In a mirror image of Così’s plot, the women humorously uncover, punish, and forgive their husband’s infidelities. With a cast of six vocalists nearly identical to Così, Opera Lafayette reproduces the innovative set created for Les Femmes Vengées, and conceives and performs both operas with the same cast and set, and with a continuous story line. In Così, the pairs of lovers begin their familiar exploration of love and deception, guided by Don Alphonso’s challenge to the men; in Les Femmes Vengées, the four are older, married couples, and it is Despina’s counterpart Madame Riss who leads the wives to a better understanding of their husbands.
Philidor and Sedaine’s Les Femmes Vengées appeared in Vienna in 1776, a year after its debut in Paris. Mozart’s Così fan tutte was performed in Paris and in French as an opéra-comique thoughout the latter half of the 19th century. Opera Lafayette presents Cosi in this French version to shed new light on a familiar work and to integrate it with one of its most successful forerunners. Les Femmes Vengées will be an American premiere.