Così Fan Tutte Essay

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Così Fan Tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti, or more familiarly known as Così Fan Tutte, is one of Mozart’s last operas, translated as “Women are all alike, or The School of Lovers.” Being named as such, the principal theme of this opera is the fickleness and infidelity of women. The libretto of this piece was written by Lorenzo da Ponte, who was also the librettist for Don Giovanni and La nozze de Figaro, two other renowned operas of Mozart’s.1 This opera was first performed in Vienna at the Burgtheater, on January 26th, 1790.2 Though the exact origin of the story Ponte based his libretto on is unclear, many people at the time believed that the story was based on a scandal in Emperor Joseph II’s court, where two Viennese officers were …show more content…
Don Alfonso, a wise philosopher, warns two young military officers, Guglielmo and Ferrando, that all women are infidel, and they cannot trust even their own fiancés, Fiordiligi and Dorabella (who are sisters). The officers laugh at Don Alfonso, retorting that their fiancés loyalty is unwavering and eternal. Don Alfonso then asks the men if they would like to make a wager on their fiancés fidelity to them. Guglielmo and Ferrando quickly accept the bet, believing it to be highly in their favor. The girls’ maid, Despina, joins in on the charade to earn some quick money.

Guglielmo and Ferrando pretend they are leaving for the war, and bid a tearful farewell with their fiancés. They dress up as Albanians and attempt to sway the other’s fiancé. Ferrando is devastated to see his fiancé, Dorabella, surrender to Guglielmo’s advances so quickly. Fiordiligi, initially very loyal to Guglielmo, also falls for Ferrando’s advances by the end. Both new couples become engaged, though the men are hurt and bitter, finally seeing the truth to Don Alfonso’s words as the three sing in unison—“Cosi fan tutte”—all women are the same.

In the end, Guglielmo and Ferrando reveal their true identities, and Fiordiligi and Dorabella are ashamed and confused. However, they properly marry their original fiancés happily, and what happens afterwards is left for viewers to imagine.4


Character Voice
Fiordiligi, sister of Dorabella Soprano
Dorabella, sister of
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