I travelled to Edinburgh yesterday to see Tom in Cosi fan Tutte. It was held in the Lauriston Halls in an almost informal way with the story updated to nowadays, and set in a coffee shop. We, in the audience sat around tables with drinks from the bar and a sense of being in the story!
Sometimes updating doesn't work, but sometimes it does. The age old story of infidelity and the rashness of playing hurtful jokes never wanes. The story is as pertinent today as it was 250 years ago. If you play tricks on folk they almost certainly will backfire, and the only outcome is hurt.
This was a slightly cut down version so it could fit within the tight time slot, but had been put together very well, so the narrative flowed and the speech instead of recit was perfectly in keeping with the modern sets, libretto and costumes.
It was funny, serious and ultimately heart breaking, and I very much liked the way they did not try to give it any sort of happy ending.
Tom was a fine, and mean Don Alfonso, the perpetrator of the joke which the guys play on the girls, and he really held the show together, being the one role who plays significantly with both sets of couples, and winds each set of players around his little finger! He sang with such strength and commitment. I always felt is was a role waiting for him to sing, and which would be a perfect vehicle for his dark rich baritone, which has a tough colour when he is singing about such strong emotions. He almost looked as if he sincerely regretted it by the final darker scenes !
The rest of the roles were well sung, most especially the two chaps who sang the arias stylishly, with solid technique and a hot, and very real emotional temperature, There was a terrific Despina who was so easy on stage she compelled you to watch her. She was very small physically, but very large theatrically !
The pianist was a wonderful Korean chap who was underpinning the whole show at all times. When opera can only be sung with a piano accompaniment, it is vital that that person is empathetic, strongly able to lead, and easily able to put right the odd wrong entry or ensemble moment. He impressed me very much!
We had a lovely meet up afterwards and a post mortem of the show - something which is obligatory in the performing world! However, Tom is very relaxed about things and does not feel the need to talk 'singing' the whole time. This is most refreshing in the business! Do the job, have a chat about it and then get on with life! What a super evening, I'm so very glad I managed to get to the show.
Another warm glow of pride, they are coming thick and fast at the moment! Well done that man,
Tom and the other chaps in rehearsal - with the T Shirts !