Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte
Premiere 1790, Vienna
The third collaboration between composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, this opera shares the musical brilliance and complexity of earlier, and perhaps better-known operas The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni. It also offers audiences a story that is, simply put, a lot like being young and in love. In one turn light and comedic, in another providing a stark assessment of human nature, this opera tells the story of two young couples whose love for one another is challenged both by their youthful expectations, and by affections that manage to be sensuous, silly, intense and fickle all at once.
The opera was originally set in Naples. With its natural beauty and abundant sunshine, the city became the equivalent of a tourist destination in the 18th century. It has been suggested that the preponderance of woodwinds in the score is meant to evoke the breezy atmosphere of the seashore. For Opera Kelowna’s 2020 production Director Michael Cavanagh locates the action in a European spa in the early 20th century. Here, the story plays out in scenes of leisure and sport: a delightful paradox for the youthful angst experienced by two sisters when their fiancees go off to war … and then return in disguise as new love interests!