LSM Newswire

Friday, November 13, 2009

Oberlin Opera Theater Presents Mozart’s Comedy of 
Love And Deception, Così Fan Tutte, November 18-22, 2009

Cosi fan tutte, Oberlin Opera Theater, 1999

New Initiatives, including Cast Member Blog and Thematic Program Notes, 
Will Encourage Audience to Explore Behind the Scenes and Between the Lines

OBERLIN, OHIO (October 27, 2009)— Outrageous disguises, delightful music, and an impossibly hilarious plotline, all the makings of a great Mozart comedy, will come together to splendid affect in Oberlin Opera Theater’s Così fan tutte. A traditional interpretation, with 18th-century-style costumes and sets, this classic production will let Mozart’s glorious music and Da Ponte’s clever libretto sing, under the baton of Bridge-Michaele Reischl and the direction of Jonathon Field. Two new initiatives—a behind-the-scenes blog and thematic program notes—will offer audiences ways to explore different aspects of the production. As always, talented young singers from the conservatory will perform the opera, portraying Mozart’s faithful fiancées, seductive suitors, and mischievous masterminds.

The production opens on Wednesday, November 18, at 8 p.m. in Oberlin College’s Hall Auditorium, with additional performances on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. Tickets are incredibly affordable: $5 for students; $8 for Oberlin College faculty, staff, alumni, parents, area educators, and seniors; and $12 for the general public. Discounted season subscriptions are available.

Così fan tutte, one of a trilogy of collaborations between Mozart and master librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte, is a classic comic opera. As the curtain opens, Ferrando and Guglielmo proclaim the faithfulness of their brides-to-be, the lovely sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi. Their skeptical friend Alfonso proposes a test of the sisters’ fidelity, recruiting their spunky maid, Despina, to aid in his plan. Using every ploy he can muster, from disguising their lovers as mustachioed Albanians to staging their death (and resurrection), Alfonso attempts to prove that, when it comes to love, all women are the same. The production will be sung in the original Italian with projected English supertitles, to aid the audience in following the opera’s twisty plot.

With this production, Oberlin Opera Theater will also introduce new initiatives designed to help audience members delve deeper into the production. On the evening of the opera, engaging program notes by Tom van Nortwick, the college’s Nathan A. Greenberg Professor of Classics, will explore the history of disguise, a key element of the plot, offering an intellectual counterpoint to the music. Before the curtain rises, a new blog, Too Many Notes (a tongue-in-cheek reference a famous criticism of Mozart’s operatic style), will follow cast member Cree Carrico, an Oberlin junior portraying the role of Despina, as she rehearses and performs in the production. The blog has launched and is being updated regularly at In her first few entries, the soprano has taken readers backstage with diva Denyce Graves, mused on the makings of a successful singing career, and documented her musical jaunt to New York, taking in two Met operas and two Broadway musicals.

“These new approaches are designed to engage the entire community in the process of creating and interpreting opera,” says director Jonathon Field. “The blog will make visible the behind-the-scenes elements of the production, as well as the day-to-day experiences of a young singer, while the program notes will, we hope, foster an intellectual dialogue about the opera and its themes.”

Performers and Production Team
The cast for this production of Così fan tutte is comprised entirely of Oberlin Conservatory students. Principal roles are double-cast; one cast appears on Wednesday and Saturday, and the other on Friday and Sunday. Principal roles will be played by Stafford Hartman ’09 and Kelsey Stark ’11 (Fiordiligi), Summer Hassan ’11 and Julia Dawson ’11 (Dorabella), Cree Carrico ’11 and Sydney Mancasola ’11 (Despina), Chad Grossman ’10 and George Somerville ’11 (Ferrando), Joseph Lattanzi ’10 and Dominic Johnson ’12 (Guglielmo), and Gerard Michael D’Emilio ’11 and Brian Mextorf ’12 (Don Alfonso).

The opera’s production team of professional staff members from Oberlin includes Alan Montgomery, assistant music director; Hugh Floyd, chorus master; Howard Lubin, musical preparation; Michael Louis Grube, managing director and set designer; Victoria Vaughan, assistant director and stage manager; Jeremy K. Benjamin, lighting designer; Chris Flaharty, costume designer; JoEllen Cuthbertson, costumer; Joseph P. Natt, technical director; Andrew Kaletta, master electrician; and David Bugher, assistant technical director.

About the Conductor: Bridget-Michaele Reischl
Bridget-Michaele Reischl is music director of the Oberlin Orchestras and associate professor of conducting at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Since becoming the first American to win Italy’s Antonio Pedrotti International Conducting Competition in 1995, Reischl has been an active guest conductor throughout the United States and internationally, appearing with such orchestras as the Atlanta and Milwaukee symphonies and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. She is also music director of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra in Green Bay, Wisconsin, a position she has held since 2001. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and a student of Robert Spano, Reischl continued her studies as a conducting fellow at both the Aspen and the Tanglewood music festivals, where she worked with Seiji Ozawa, Murray Sidlin, and David Zinman. She has recorded on the Velut Luna, CRI, and Sea Breeze Record Company labels.

Reischl has been on the faculty since 2005 and has participated in a number of notable Oberlin projects, most recently conducting the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra’s Walt Disney Concert Hall debut in January 2009. In 2005-06, she led the Oberlin Conservatory Symphony Orchestra on a concert tour of China; a recording from that tour, The Oberlin Orchestra in China, was released in 2007 on the Oberlin Music label. She has also conducted conservatory singers in opera performances in Arrezzo, Italy, as part of the conservatory’s summertime Oberlin-in-Italy program.

About the Director: Jonathon Field
Jonathon Field is one of America’s more versatile and popular stage directors, having directed more than 100 productions in all four corners of the United States. He served as artistic director of Lyric Opera Cleveland for six seasons, where he presented the operas of Mozart, Rossini, and Donizetti as well as the Ohio premieres of works by John Adams, Mark Adamo, and Philip Glass. Field’s productions for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, among them Trouble in Tahiti, Gianni Schicchi, The Old Maid and the Thief, and The Spanish Hour, were so successful they were repeated at the Illinois Humanities Festival with Stephen Sondheim as keynote speaker. Field’s productions of La Cenerentola and Die Fledermaus for San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theatre played in more than 20 states, as has an updated version of La Bohème for Seattle Opera. In addition to the standard Italian and German repertoire, he has directed Eugene Onegin and Boris Godunov in the original Russian in San Francisco; he had a great critical success there as well with Prokofiev’s The Love for Three Oranges. Over the past eight years Field has directed 10 productions with the Arizona Opera, being deemed by the press “their most perceptive stage director,” and working there with such esteemed artists as Teresa Zylis-Gara, Jerome Hines, Pablo Elvira, Giorgio Tozzi, and Angelina Reux.

In February 2007, Field directed—at Oberlin and at Miller Theatre in New York City—the U.S. premiere of Lost Highway, the dramatic music theater work by noted Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth based on the David Lynch film. The opera received critical acclaim from the New York Times and, which made special reference to Field’s direction. This is Field’s 12th season with Oberlin Opera Theater.

Tickets for Così fan tutte at Oberlin Opera Theater are $5 for all students; $8 for Oberlin College faculty, staff, alumni, parents, area educators, and seniors; and $12 for the general public. Season subscriptions are also available. All seats are reserved. Tickets may be purchased online, at; by calling Oberlin’s Central Ticket Service (CTS) 440-775-8169 or 800-371-0178; or by visiting the box office, located in the lobby of Hall Auditorium. CTS hours are from noon to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and select Saturdays. Tickets are $3 more when purchased at the door. Hall Auditorium is wheelchair accessible, and hearing enhancement is available upon request. Free parking is available throughout the campus.

The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865 and situated amid the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College since 1867, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. The Conservatory is renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber and has been pronounced a “national treasure” by the Washington Post. Oberlin’s alumni have gone on to achieve illustrious careers in all aspects of the music world. Many of them have attained stature as solo performers, composers, and conductors, among them Jennifer Koh, Steven Isserlis, Denyce Graves, Franco Farina, Christopher Robertson, Lisa Saffer, George Walker, Christopher Rouse, David Zinman, and Robert Spano. All of the members of the contemporary sextet eighth blackbird, most of the members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and many of the members of Apollo’s Fire are Oberlin alumni. In chamber music, the Miró, Pacifica, Juillard, and Fry Street quartets, among other small ensembles, include Oberlin-trained musicians, who also can be found in major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world. For more information about Oberlin, please visit 


Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 8 p.m.

Friday, November 20, 2009, 8 p.m.

Saturday, November 21, 2009, 8 p.m.

Sunday, November 22, 2009, 2 p.m.

Oberlin Opera Theater presents

Così fan tutte

By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte

Bridget-Michaele Reischl, conductor

Jonathon Field, director

Hall Auditorium

67 N. Main Street 
Oberlin, Ohio

Reserved seats: $12; seniors $8; students $5

All tickets are $3 more when purchased at the door.


Phone: 440-775-8169 or 800-371-0178

Central Ticket Service is located in the lobby of Hall Auditorium.

Open Noon to 5 p.m., Monday–Friday