The Academy of Vocal Arts

Così fan tutte

Synopsis and Cast list

  • Fiordiligi, a wealthy socialite
  • Dorabella, her sister
  • Despina, their housemaid
  • Guglielmo, NROTC Marine Officer
  • Ferrando, NROTC Marine Officer
  • Don Alfonso, a retired Marine Colonel
  • Ensemble: Socialites, Marine Officers, Cabana Boy

This production is set during the 1960s at an exclusive seaside resort.


A posh cocktail party is being held to celebrate the graduation of Guglielmo and Ferrando from Officer's training school at Harvard. In the midst of the celebration the two young men surprise their girlfriends by proposing marriage: Guglielmo to Fiordiligi and Ferrando to Dorabella. Friends and fellow officers toast the future of the happy couples. After the ladies retire to plan the wedding shower, the men are left to enjoy a bachelor party, during which an assertion is made about the fidelity of their women. This sparks a heated argument between the two young officers and their mentor, Alfonso. Finally, the older Colonel proposes a wager: he will prove, within a single day, that Fiordiligi and Dorabella are unfaithful, as all women are. During that time, the two soldiers must do exactly, and absolutely everything, that Alfonso says. The young officers accept the bet.

The following morning, basking in the sparkle of their engagement rings, the young ladies dream of their husbands-to-be and the perfect lives they will soon enjoy. Alfonso enters to drop a bomb: the boys have been deployed to Vietnam. Shock and grief grip the ladies as they say their farewells.

To implement the remainder of his plan Alfonso realizes he will have to employ the talents of Despina, keeping her in the dark just enough to ensure that his plot runs smoothly. He introduces two "friends" he hopes can distract the ladies from their grief; in reality they are Guglielmo and Ferrando in disguise, who have come to test their fiancées' fidelity.

The ladies meet the exotic strangers, who profess their make-love-not-war approach to life, and after numerous diversions, soundly reject their advances. But Despina convinces the ladies that a harmless flirtation is in order, arguing that the modern woman takes matters into her own hands without sacrificing what she already has. The ladies decide to "experiment".

The experiment soon turns into a bad trip as both couples experience intense emotions that spiral out of their control, as the women succumb to the men's advances. Can the heart change so much in just one day? Or are women just like that?

The men concede they have lost the wager, cursing their fate and the women who betrayed them. Alfonso responds with a radical solution: marry them just as they are. But the ladies have beaten them to it, sending Despina to propose marriage on their behalf. In their shock, the men join in the ceremony; unsure of whom they are actually marrying. At the completion of the ritual, a familiar military march is heard. Guglielmo and Ferrando unexpectedly return from their "deployment".

Now all will be as it was...