Young artists battle infidelity in Italian opera

Brenna von den Benken
Arts Editor

Created by Plácido Domingo, L.A. Opera’s new Domingo-Thornton Young Artists program’s presentation of Mozart’s comedy “Cosi fan Tutte” showed that women are just as human as men are; even in a test of fidelity.

“Cosi fan Tutti” sings the story of two young men who go undercover to test the fidelity of their ladies.

With the classical accompaniment of a piano, played by narrator Douglas Sumi, the opera features a funny, witty plot with a hint of political incorrectness performed in Italian with English narration.

“It was fantastic to see the performers sing so close together,” dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jonathan Reed said.

Don Alfonso, played by Erik Anstin, asserts that all women are faithless.

Offended and in denial, Ferrando, played by tenor Ben Bliss, and Guglielmo, played by baritone Museop Kim, disagree because they are in love with the two trustworthy sisters – Dorabella, played by mezzo-soprano Renee Rapier, and Fiordiligi, played by soprano Tracy Cox.

Alfonso bets the two men he is right about all women, so the men pretend to receive military orders to leave Naples, then return in disguise to experiment with Alfonso’s theory.

Alfonso makes an ally out of the sisters’ maid, Despina, who advises the sisters to divert themselves in their lovers’ absences.

Ferrando and Guglielmo, wearing mere aviator sunglasses as their disguise, attempt to court their own fiancee’s sister, to discover the real truth about whether women are faithful or faithless.

Alfonso’s, theory that all women are as unfaithful as any man, is demonstrated with an honorable intention.

“His honorable intention is that nothing on Earth is perfect, but by arming yourself with humor, patience and forgiveness, you will always thrive,” Sumi said.

The Domingo-Thornton Young Artist Program is a two to three-year paid residency for singers and pianists of exceptional talent who are currently in transition from academic training to a professional career in opera.

The program is designed to support the future of opera by discovering and developing the talents of exceptionally gifted young artists to become potential international performers.

L.A. Opera uses its resources to provide extensive training for the Domingo-Thornton Young Artists and also gives them the opportunity to further develop their skills in main-stage roles, as principal artists’ covers, and in Young Artist concerts and productions while currently on tour in Southern California.

The Young Artists’ semi-staged version of “Cosi fan Tutti” expressed the program’s taste for exceptional art, despite their incorporation of very few props and no backdrops.

“I loved how they used very little props in the opera, but it was still very good and comprehensive,” Special Events Assistant Lucero Rojo said. “I also liked that it was very succinct and they fit the entire opera into an hour and 30 minutes; It was like the Cliff’s Notes version.”

“I love the small town of La Verne; the hall where we performed was just wonderful and beautiful,” Fleer said.

Brenna von den Benken can be reached at

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