"Bravo to conductor Carlo Goldstein for conducting this excellent orchestra with elegance, free from any exaggeration, and with an attention to detail that did justice to this sophisticated score."  

Musica - Nicola Cattò



Così fan tutte is judged by some as the Mozart opera where Reason dominates.
Here is the hidden secret of this score’s immortal youth, which should attract,
and likely will do so in the future, the preferences of free spirits, those who see
in the music – as Nietzsche did – a cathartic art capable of playing
with the forces of the Universe.”
Eugenio Montale

Among the overtures of the major Mozart operas, it is only the Così fan tutte overture that is not played as a symphonic piece. From the very first it is clear that this overture has neither the symphonic importance of its counterpart in The Magic Flute nor the irresistible originality of the Don Giovanni overture.

Following a few beats of the introductory Andante, the Presto begins: several motifs pursue each other in a kind of moto perpetuo. From the strings to the winds, from the first to the second theme, from the base key exploring other keys near or quite far, this line of quavers slithers and slides away, seeking something it cannot find.

Here is the second theme! Nothing new, it’s much like the first; here is where the development section can be found: it wanders here and there but the music is always the same. We never have a point of arrival, never a positive and conclusive statement; so much energy, yet at the end nothing real remains. Why?

Mozart describes the continuous, unending flow of human affections in this way as the lover restlessly wanders, believing he can control a situation that in reality has him in its grasp. He puts into music the foolishness of Eros, the tragic/joyous labyrinth of emotion.

Let the curtain fall on the desire that will create desire upon desire upon desire.

This overture is too tightly bound to the literal and theatrical meaning of its Opera to effectively stand as an independent piece in concert. 


Everything in Così fan tutte focuses on the duality of the human soul. This is the only original libretto of the Mozart trilogy; it was inspired by Ariosto but the development is very personal. It was Da Ponte’s last project before he was forced to leave Vienna.

The life story of Emanuele Conegliano is also characterized by duality. He was born in the ghetto of Ceneda – a city that today is known as Vittorio Veneto. Jewish by birth, he was converted to Catholicism by the bishop Lorenzo da Ponte, from whom he took his name. He became a priest despite also being an incurable libertine. He was an intellectual but a terrible entrepreneur, the first professor of Italian Literature in the history of New York’s Columbia University, but also a grocer, impresario, bookseller, adventurer…

In Act II, Mozart, inspired by Da Ponte’s libretto, raises a monument to the complexity of desire and the elusiveness of the human soul.

A few examples:

In Duet no. 20 between Fiordiligi and Dorabella, the concluding words are: “ed intanto che diletto, che spassetto io proverò!” The concluding phrases of the piece are sung antiphonally in a semi-phrase that is interrupted by a stop at the Dominant – beats 52 and 53 – and then taken again in a clearly marked passage and with a light character in B flat major – beats 54-57. At the end of this phrase, Mozart insists on twice repeating the words “Io proverò…” on several syncopations that convey indecision and disorientation – beats 58-60. At their conclusion, through a deceptive cadence that lets us hear the unexpected key of  G minor (violas!), we can hear the same words but this time in a melancholic and lachrymose passage – beats 62-68 – in which the fundamental position of the Tonic chord is finally reached only through further rhythmic syncopations. Out of such a simple text, Mozart has created an entire world! “il diletto e lo spessetto…” is at first desired but not achieved, then at last lived with carelessness, and at the end, through the ambivalence of “Io proverò…”, (in Italian it means both “I will feel” and “ I will try”!) lived with a feeling of uneasiness and melancholy.

Duet no. 23 between Dorabella and Guglielmo – introduced by the contradictory exclamation of the previous recitative “Infelice Ferrando! Oh che diletto!” – begins with interrupted phrases that give a sense of desire and indecision. The uncertainty grows in the second part when, after a pause, Mozart begins to play with our rhythmic perception. Instead of starting again on the beat, as one would expect – beat 39 – he begins on the last movement and the two soloists do the same on the successive beat: the entire chordal passaggio – beats 39-48 – that accompanies the words “ei batte così”, with the syncopations of the winds and the offset accents giving the sense of an irregular heartbeat, of loving anxiety, of the eternal conflict between desire and decorum that grips the lovers. At the end of this passage, a pedal of horns restores equilibrium to the discourse, and Guglielmo and Dorabella, disoriented, say “Qui lascia che il metta” “Ei qui non può star.” The entire concluding section of this duet is about stating and denying, proposing and then considering, going to the Dominant and returning to the Tonic, with no real direction or meaning. Even the last two beats of the orchestra are a statement of the clarinet that would like to… and a response from the horn, which likely cannot.

The climax of this duality is found in the Finale of Act II.

The A flat major passage, “E nel tuo, nel mio bicchiero…” – beats 173 and following – opens to a reconciliation (any other composer would have set this text to music with a Brindisi!).

Fiordiligi, Ferrando and Dorabella complement each other in a moving, lyrical counterpoint. Guglielmo’s entrance – the fourth voice – is a surprise: he enters sottovoce with a line that seems a recitativo buffo in which he says: “Ah bevessero del tossico…”! In short, he does not play along, he does not complete the counterpoint. Instead he mocks the others with eccentric music that seems incongruous in this setting.

In the Scena Ultima, the phrases are always suspended at the Sub-Dominant or Dominant, and so the same occurs in the final stretta – Allegro molto – beat 576. The flow of the action is constantly interrupted by unexpected stops and new departures that convey the conflict between the “turbini” of life and the desire to find “la bella calma” among them. So the conclusion of the opera is anything but triumphant: it is more about the search for equilibrium than the happiness that has been achieved.

A perfect metaphor of Eros: in the end they are all satisfied, but no one wholly so; everyone gets what they wanted at the beginning but must accept that in reality it is very different from what they expected.