"Così fan tutte" doesn't always get its due. Wagner and Beethoven were among its famous detractors. And as the last of three operas written by the greatest composer-librettist team in history, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte, it's often overshadowed by "The Marriage of Figaro" and "Don Giovanni."
But it would be a big mistake to underestimate this opera. It's a masterpiece of musical and psychological sophistication, tempered with wit, compassion and genuine humanity. Utah Opera's handsome, well-sung production, which opened a five-performance run Saturday, captures all those qualities.
A well-matched cast is essential in this ensemble show, in which the six principal roles carry more or less equal weight. Artistic director Christopher McBeth's casting is spot on. Karin Wolverton and Leah Wool, who play the sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella, not only deliver their big arias with panache, their voices are compatible enough to make you believe they could be sisters. David Adam Moore and Aaron Blake, as the sisters' fiancés Guglielmo and Ferrando, likewise sound fantastic together as well as on their own. Matthew Burns, whom many operagoers will remember from his outstanding performance in the company's "Of Mice and Men" a couple of years ago, invests the cynical Don Alfonso with a depth that may surprise you; even the fun-loving maid Despina has a surprise or two to offer in Abigail Levis' delightful portrayal.