Cosi Fan Tutte
Two internationally renowned Scottish artists take pride of place in Scottish Opera’s Così fan tutte, a production first seen in Strasbourg, where it was created for Opéra National du Rhin in 2005. Although director David McVicar was with Scottish Opera just a few months ago for La Traviata, soprano Marie McLaughlin has not appeared with the company for over 25 years. Since then she has dazzled audiences at opera houses all over the world, including the Met in New York, Paris Opéra, Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden, the stage for all of her major roles.
‘It’s lovely to be back in Scotland,’ she says. ‘After moving to London, I’ve travelled a lot and am still travelling. I’m just about to go to Salzburg and then it’s back to Covent Garden.’
In Mozart’s famous opera, McLaughlin’s plays Despina, maidservant to the two young women whose love for their partners is put to the test. On the surface, it is an amusing tale with pretence, disguise, seduction and flirting around the assertion that women are fickle creatures. Underneath, sexual tensions run deep.
‘Some people think that it’s far-fetched,’ says McLaughlin, who sang the role in the original production. ‘But for the first time singing in Cosi, which I’ve done many times, I am finding the incredible credible. David has stayed very true to the text and the telling of the story.’
Set in the Bay of Naples in the late-19th century, the production has an elegant sun-washed look, with each of the six characters clearly defined. McVicar achieves this with typical ingenuity. For McLaughlin, he asked her to think of ‘that wee Scottish actress, Una McLean’.
‘Keep that in mind when you see it,’ she says.
Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Wed 29 April, Sat 2, Sat 16, Thu 28, Sat 30 May; Edinburgh Festival Theatre, Fri 19, Sun 21, Thu 25, Sat 27 Jun