Apparently Mozart had an extreme dislike for the soprano Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, for whom the role of Fiordiligi was first created. She had a strange tendency to drop her chin and throw back her head while singing low and high notes respectively, and knowing this, Mozart chose to fill her showpiece aria (“Come scoglio”) with constant harmonic leaps. Presumably he took great pleasure in watching her bob her head “like a chicken”.
While one typically sees the title Così fan tutte attributed to this opera, and translated as “Women are like that”, the full title is actually Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti or “Thus do they all, or The School for Lovers”.
Così fan tutte has often been called the perfect “ensemble opera”. This is due to the fact that among the small cast, the six roles are almost equal in weight and importance to the piece, thus making this an opera without the traditional “leading lady”.
Mozart’s own life bears a slight resemblance to the drama of Così fan tutte. A few years before marrying Constanze Weber, he was enamored with her sister Aloysia.
You might know that the storyline of this opera was considered quite scandalous in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and was only performed with an altered plot or accompanied by a public apology for the content. Interestingly enough, the Romantic composer Beethoven, a great admirer of Mozart’s work, is said to have written Così fan tutte off as “immoral”.
- Mozart may be the only composer who is also namesake to a frog. The species Eleutherodactylus amadeus was named in 1987.
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