So fan tutte

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Work data
Title: That's how everyone does it
Original title: So fan tutte
Original language: Italian
Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto : Lorenzo Da Ponte
Premiere: January 26, 1790
Place of premiere: Burgtheater on Michaelerplatz , Vienna
Playing time: about 3 hours
Place and time of the action: Naples, 18th century
  • Fiordiligi ( soprano )
  • Dorabella (original: soprano, today mostly mezzo-soprano )
  • Guglielmo ( baritone , in the original libretto from 1790 the spelling is "Guilelmo", the Italian form of "Wilhelm")
  • Ferrando ( tenor )
  • Despina (soprano)
  • Don Alfonso (original: a baritone who has to master " Parlando " perfectly; today mostly bass baritone )
  • Choir

Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti [koˈsi ˈfan ˈtutte] ( Italian ), ( German "So do all (women) or the school of lovers") is an opera in two acts by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , KV  588, after a libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte . Mozart began composing in the autumn of 1789. The opera was premiered on January 26, 1790 in the “old” Vienna Burgtheater on Michaelerplatz .

Orchestral line-up

According to the New Mozart Edition , the orchestra provides the following instruments:

Piper's Encyclopedia of Music Theater also names a military drum for incidental music.


first act

The opera takes place in 18th century Naples. The young officers Ferrando and Guglielmo boast that the two Ferrara- born sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi, who love them more than anything, could never be unfaithful to them. Don Alfonso, a cynical man of the world, has his own relevant experience and therefore offers Ferrando and Guglielmo a bet if they are convinced. Both are sure of victory.

Meanwhile, the women in the garden of the house rave to each other about the unbreakable love of their partners, until Don Alfonso appears completely distraught and tells them that Ferrando and Guglielmo have to go to war at the king's command. In the following farewell scene, the men, now in war gear, finally board a ship occupied by villagers disguised as soldiers. Despina, Alfonso's housemaid and right-hand man, tries to get Dorabella and Fiordiligi to think differently with wise advice and views on loyalty to men, especially when it comes to soldiers. A little later, Ferrando and Guglielmo return to the house, disguised as foreign nobles, where they immediately begin to swarm each other's bride. Strongly rejected, the two exotic figures fake their suicide by poison and are "cured" by the hastily summoned doctor (in reality the disguised Despina) in a parody of the methods of the Viennese doctor Franz Anton Mesmer . The further compassionate care is placed in the hands of Fiordiligi and Dorabella. When the supposed suicides wake up, they ask for another kiss and are turned away again.

Second act

Despina explains to the sisters that love and loyalty shouldn't be taken so seriously. But the hearts of the two girls have long been softened for the strangers. Dorabella first “falls” in a romantic atmosphere. But Fiordiligi still follows her feelings and decides to follow her Guglielmo to war. She is stopped by Ferrando. He threatens to kill himself if she doesn't hear him. Then she confesses her love to him. A double wedding is being prepared. After the women have signed the marriage contract, the military march can be heard backstage, announcing the soldiers' "return home". The disguised spouses secretly leave the room and come back, now as Guglielmo and Ferrando. The men are embraced with mixed joy. Don Alfonso passes the marriage contract that has just been sealed to the allegedly returned home, which leads to a great jealousy scene. The two women contrite their infidelity, but Ferrando and Guglielmo, who have lost the bet with Alfonso, in turn uncover the unfair fraud. Alfonso orders the four young people to hug each other and keep quiet. Despina is confused and ashamed that Don Alfonso used her, but comforts herself with the fact that she does the same with many others. At the end there is a song of praise in C major : Happy is the person who takes everything from the best side and keeps calm despite the vicissitudes of life at which he laughs.

Libretto, first setting by Salieri and Mozart's composition

Stage design by Helmut Jürgens for Così fan tutte , performance in Munich 1959

The original libretto was intended for Antonio Salieri , who probably began his composition in 1789, but did not continue this after 65 bars of the trio “La mia Dorabella capace non e”. Constanze Mozart later stated to the married couple Mary and Vincent Novello that Salieri considered it "unworthy [of] musical invention". Salieri composed the second trio, “E la fede delle femmine”, in full. A recitative with these two pieces that has otherwise not survived in this form suggests that the libretto was arranged by Da Ponte for Mozart. How the commission for the opera Così fan tutte came to Mozart is unclear. After Le nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni, the work is the last of the three Da Ponte operas , buffa operas , that Mozart wrote to a text by Lorenzo Da Ponte. On New Year's Eve in 1789, Mozart held a rehearsal in his apartment in which he played parts of the composition to several friends and acquaintances, including Joseph Haydn .

For Guglielmo, Mozart first composed the magnificent and extensive aria Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (KV 584) in the first act , one of the greatest buffo arias he has ever written. For unknown reasons, however, Mozart replaced it with the much shorter aria Non siate ritrosi and entered the original aria as a separate work in his catalog raisonné . One explanation could be, however, that the singer premiered the tessitura was the aria too high.

Performance history

Theater ticket for the first performance in 1790

At the premiere on January 26, 1790, singers took part whose skills Mozart was partly known from performances of earlier works such as Le Nozze di Figaro and Don Giovanni . Francesca Gabrieli, known as Adriana Ferrarese del Bene , and Louise Villeneuve sang Fiordiligi and Dorabella. They were sisters in real life too. Dorothea von Sardi from Vienna played the “couple” Despina and Don Alfonso with her husband Francesco Bussani. Vincenzo Calvesi took over the role of Ferrando and Mozart's Figaro actor from 1786, Francesco Benucci , sang Guglielmo. After four more performances on January 28 and 30 and February 7 and 11, Emperor Joseph II died and all theaters had to close for several months because of court mourning. On June 6, 1790, however, the opera was performed again and had another five performances in Vienna by August 7 of the same year. The work was no longer performed in Vienna during Mozart's lifetime.

The Wiener Zeitung of January 30, 1790 reported the premiere without rating, while the Viennese correspondent of the Weimar Journal of Luxury and Fashion in March 1790 commented positively:

"I am announcing to you another excellent work by Mozart that our theater has received [...] It has the title Così fan tutte [...] I think everything is said of the music that it is by Mozart."

From mid-1791 the work was performed at the theaters in Frankfurt am Main , Dresden , Mainz , Prague and Amsterdam in Italian but also in German under the titles Love and Temptation and So do the girls , sometimes also in an edited form.


Così fan tutte was controversial for a long time. Shortly after Mozart's death, the supposedly silly and immoral textbook was criticized. Disparaging remarks have come down to us from Ludwig van Beethoven and Richard Wagner , among others . In the 19th century Così fan tutte was often performed in mutilating arrangements, and in some cases Mozart's music was even given a completely new text. It was not until the 20th century that Così fan tutte was accepted as an equal masterpiece alongside Figaro and Don Giovanni .

Fiordiligi's aria in the second act, Per pietà, ben mio (No. 25), Beethoven took as a model for the great aria of Leonore in Fidelio . The same applies to the four-part canon in the finale of the second act (for which Mozart also composed a more easily performed substitute), which is mirrored in Fidelio's Quartet No. 3 .

There are various text versions of the opera in German, including more recent translations, such as by Kurt Honolka .


  • Bruce Alan Brown and John A. Rice : “Salieri's Così fan tutte” in: Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 8, No.1 (Mar., 1996), pp. 17-43
  • John Eliot Gardiner (conductor): Così fan tutte . Program for the opera. Hamburg 1992 (archive production).
  • Arnold Werner-Jensen : Vocal Music . In: Reclams music guide, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart . tape 2 . Reclam, Stuttgart 1990, ISBN 3-15-010360-6 .
  • Ute Jung-Kaiser : Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. So fan tutte. The loyalty test in the mirror of the music . Wißner-Verlag , Augsburg 2004, ISBN 3-89639-442-8 .
  • Malte Krasting, Così fan tutte , Bärenreiter u. a., Kassel u. a. 2013, ISBN 3-89487-922-X *
  • Stefan Kunze : Mozart's operas . 2nd, unchanged edition. Reclam, Stuttgart / [Ditzingen] 1996, ISBN 3-15-010416-5 .
  • Silke Leopold , Robert Maschka: Who's who in the opera . Extended new edition. dtv-Taschenbuch 34126 / Bärenreiter, Munich / Kassel / Basel / London / New York / Prague 2004, ISBN 3-423-34126-2 (or ISBN 3-7618-1780-0 (Bärenreiter)).
  • Constanze Natosevic: "Così fan tutte" - Mozart, love and the revolution of 1789 . 2nd Edition. Bärenreiter, Kassel / Basel / London / New York / Prague 2005, ISBN 3-7618-1619-7 .
  • Salieri's autograph: Austrian National Library Vienna, signature: (A-Wn) Sm 4531
  • Ulrich Schreiber : From the beginning to the French Revolution . In: Opera guides for advanced learners. The history of music theater [in 5 volumes] . 4th edition. tape 1 . Bärenreiter, Kassel / Basel / London / New York / Prague 2007, ISBN 978-3-7618-0899-3 .
  • Susanne Vill : Così fan tutte. Contributions to the history of the impact of Mozart's opera . Published by the Research Institute for Music Theater at the University of Bayreuth. Writings on Music Theater, Vol. 2. Bayreuth 1978.
  • Ian Woodfield : Mozart's 'Così fan tutte' - A Compositional History . The Boydell Press, Woodbridge 2008 (English).


  • Lorenzo DaPonte [text], Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart [music]: Così fan tutte or The School of Lovers / Così fan tutte o sia la scuola degli amanti . KV 588. Comedy in two acts / Dramma giocoso in due atti. In: Reclam's Universal Library . No. 8685 . Reclam, Ditzingen 1992, ISBN 3-15-008685-X (paperback, textbook Italian / German).
  • Richard Bletschacher : Mozart and da Ponte . Chronicle of an encounter. Residence, Salzburg 2004, ISBN 3-7017-1364-2 .
  • Jürgen von Stackelberg: Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. Da Pontes Libretti and their templates . A contribution to the literary history of Mozart's operas. In: Supplements to Quo vadis, Romania? tape 24 . Praesens, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-7069-0499-5 .
  • Werner Wunderlich: Mozart's Così fan tutte . Elective affinities and love games. In: Facets of Literature . tape 6 . Haupt, Bern / Stuttgart / Vienna 1996, ISBN 3-258-05252-2 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. tutte (all) refers to women; it is the feminine plural to the masculine plural "tutti".
  2. NMA II / 5/18 / 1-2: Così fan tutte. Volume 1–2, sheet music edition. Ferguson / Rehm, 1991, p. 2.
  3. ^ Susanne Vill: Così fan tutte ossia La suola degli amanti. In: Piper's Encyclopedia of Musical Theater . Volume 4: Works. Massine - Piccinni. Piper, Munich / Zurich 1991, ISBN 3-492-02414-9 , pp. 327-334.
  4. ^ Ian Woodfield: Mozart's 'Così fan tutte' - A Compositional History , p. 43
  5. a b Wolfgang Rehm : Mozart's last da Ponte opera Così fan tutte ; in the booklet for the CDs of the Complete Mozart Edition, Così fan tutte , Phillips Classics Production, 422 542-2, 1991, p. 42.