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Cosi fan tutte

Cosi fan tutte (or La scuola degli amanti, The School of Lovers, also known under the German title So machen es alle; a more accurate translation would be All women do like that, tutte being feminine gender) is a comic opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte.

This opera was written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II, and was first produced at Vienna in 1790. It is founded upon an actual occurrence. The libretto is of rather a doubtful character and has often been improved and altered.


Place, Naples.
Time, the 18th century.

Act I. Don Alfonso lays a wager with the officers Fernando and Guglielmo, by which they are to test the fidelity of their brides, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, for the space of a day. The officers seemingly bid farewell to them, but return disguised as rich Albanians. They are unrecognised and make love to each other's wives. The maid Despina tries to induce her mistresses to give ear to the rich strangers, but the sisters remain steadfast. Alfonso, who does not wish to lose his wager, bribes Despina, and when the Albanians seemingly take poison before the eyes of the ladies, the maid appears disguised as a physician, and saves their lives by pretended magnetism.

Act II. Persuaded by Despina, Dorabella is the first of the two to listen to the pleadings of the disguised Guglielmo, to whom she gives the picture of her betrothed Fernando. Fernando wins Fiordiligi. Despina, at the suggestion of Alfonso, now disguises herself as a notary and brings the marriage contracts. At this moment news ar­rives of the return of the officers. The cowering Alba­nians, who have been hidden by the sisters, escape in order to reappear in their true characters. They unmask Despina, show the faithless brides their marriage contracts, and finally reveal themselves, but at the critical moment Alfonso, who has won the bet, explains all and brings about a recon­ciliation.

External links and references

  • Plot taken from The Opera Goer's Complete Guide by Leo Melitz, 1921 version.

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