Six individuals under the tuteladge of the world in the School of Love. Who will love whom, who will betray whom and who will win the bet? Mozart's and da Ponte's classic comedy of love is a fanciful romp through the mentality of lovers and lovers of love.
Jonathan Miller's production of Cosi is a modernly-dressed, modernly-set and modernly-acted portrayal of this Mozart classic. Bringing the old into the new is always a dangerous and risky endeavour and Miller takes this challenge head-on. His work brings forth a finished product that is a very relatable for today's audience. However, some of the updates are rather distracting at times. Cellular phones and laptops waving about as an overtone in the plot detract from the beauty of the Opera itself. However, there are some modern aspects that, without them, this production could very well have seemed like just one more Mozart (if there is such a thing as 'just one more Mozart'). The costuming of this production and the white-washed set lent their help in bringing the audience right into the action of the opera. With the clearly polar oposite costumes of Ferrando and Guglielmo as themselves and then as the disguised lovers are wonderfully modern. Don Alfonso and Despina in their matching black, white and red add a new dimension to their characters. Their red flash of taunting lust amidst their generally plain costumes give them the ability to not only act in a mischevious manner, but dress in one as well!
The vocal and acting work of the on-stage talent is fantastic. All six voices blend together beautifully and the magnificent thrusts of Mozart are captured very well. Unfortunately, the actors' ad-libs in English immediately throw away the magical world of the play and remind the audience that, indeed, one is watching actors on a stage, not an oversized and outrageous world. Additionally, as much fun as modern translations are, Jonathan Dean's supertitles were somewhat distracting at times.
All-in-all, even with these few marks against the production, this show is extremely fun and even more adept at bringing the old and new worlds to square in the search for the fidelity, the meaning of love, and some 'green stuff' from a bet.