When we first meet them, it's love's young dream for two couples in Ferrara, so why would two young men trick their lovers, and why would the two women they leave behind forget them so easily? "Women are all like that" says the title.
But Gloger takes a different tack: his women are in the know, while his men are drawn into the action of the play they have all been watching together, and act out the roles of new suitors. And so the action swings between the corseted and bewigged 18th century of the play within a play, and the savvy 1950s of its onlookers.
Gloger also employs a plausibly young cast in the first revival of this very 2016 attractive production. Italian tenor Paolo Fanale sings Ferrando and Hungarian-Romanian baritone Gyula Orendt is Guglielmo. Their fiancées are sung by Georgian soprano Salome Jicia as Fiordiligi and Italian mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi as Dorabella. These rising stars are joined by adored old hand at the opera game, Sir Thomas Allen, as meddlesome Don Alfonso.
The action moves in and out of reality and the stage life, as sets are built and struck during numbers – a decorous drawing room, a pastoral hummock – and there is a constant flow of "stage hands" getting on with their tasks, oblivious to the breaking hearts around them. This entertaining design is by Ben Baur, and costume designer Karin Jud wittily mitchy-matches ancient and modern.
Stefano Montanari conducts the Orchestra and Chorus of the Royal Opera House.
The humour is affectionate, the singing fresh and feisty, and there are visual gags aplenty. And whatever the truth about women, operas are not all like that. Catch this one if you can.
'Così Fan Tutte' is sung in Italian with English surtitles. Public booking opens at 9am on 31 Oct
|What||Così Fan Tutte, Royal Opera House|
|Where||Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Covent Garden (underground)|
25 Feb 19 – 16 Mar 19, six performances
|Price||£8 - £175|
|Website||Click here for booking|