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Subject: Univ MD. OPera Studio comes up with real cute COSI FAN TUTTE
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Date:Mon, 21 Apr 2008 17:39:33 +0000

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This week the University of Maryland School of Music Opera Studio presents a wonderful production of COSI FAN TUTTE staged by the brilliant LEON MAJOR, who always entertains us with his excellent productions.
There are performances with alternating casts this week on Wed, Fri and Sat eves as well as a Sunday matinee. I wish I could tell you ALL about yesterday's performance, but I had to leave at the end of Act I to catch my family's second seder, but it was nonetheless a great treat.
The intimate Ina and Jack Kay Theatre in the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (Univ. Md in College Park) is a great place for these learning students to strut their stuff.
Yesterday the cast was made up of 
Claire Kuttler-Fiordiligi
Melissa Schiel-Dorabella
Guglielmo-Eric C. Black
Ferrando-Adam Hall (who sings all perfs)
Despina-Jenny Chen
Don Alfonso-Andrew Adelsberger(also all perfs)
Conductor-David Angus
Set-Misha Kachman
Costumes-David O. Roberts

The production has one large set and is staged in a 1913 summer beach resort in Italy.
The left side of the stage is occupied by a two-story hotel with large patio set for breakfast service with rattan chairs. Several sets of French doors lead into the resort hotel. At the right are several striped cabanas that are also well used later on. There are many supers(chorus) in this production from the Maitre d' who actually seems to be "in on" Alfonso's scheme and assists when he can. This all works wonderfully and makes for even more fun than perhaps da Ponte had anticipated with his own plot!
Besides the excellent set, there are gorgeous period costumes, all very carefully done, down to the wonderful bathing costumes as well; the hats laden with flowers, birds and whatever, are wonderfully ostentatious.
The singing was also excellent across the board, although I felt Ms. Kuttler had an amazing top with a less impressive bottom, which is always a problem with that awful range in "Come scoglio!"
The hit singer of the show for me was tenor Adam Hall whom I have heard before and always does a great job.
I am truly sorry that I did not get to see more antic in Act II like the costume of Despina as a docro in Act I where she actually steals the seat of a male swimmer from a cabana. When the man comes on stage and sees her, Alfonso slips him some money to be quiet!
These are great touches which make for a great production of a piece that can often become tired very quickly.

ALAN SAVADA of Washington, DC

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