Williams Opera"Cosi fan tutte"
The Williams College Department of Music presents Williams Opera with the first act of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, K. 688 on Saturday, May 16, at 8 p.m. in Chapin Hall on the Williams College campus. This free event is open to the public.
Eric Kang ’09 will lead a full orchestra composed primarily of students. Williams Opera is a student-run organization begun this year by Richard McDowell ’09, Augusta Caso ’09, and Kang to bring operatic performance opportunities to students at Williams. Direction is by Keith Kibler.
The opera, first performed in Vienna in January of 1790, is one of the composer’s three collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte. The story, set in 18th century Naples, opens with Don Alfonso’s wager to Guglielmo and Ferrando that their young fiancées are no more trustworthy in matters of love than any other women. The men, each utterly assured of his own lover’s fidelity and certain of their victory, make a bet to test this theory. The Don informs Fiordiligi and Dorabella that the men have been called away to war. Heartbroken but loyal, the girls together pledge their steadfast devotion—which is immediately put to the test when the men return, in disguise, to seduce the girls, and thus begins the plot to test a lover’s constancy and the true strength of love. Sometimes eerily serious and always entertaining, the story is imbued with deception, humor, and the capabilities of love, carried across in Mozart’s clear and beautiful musical language.
Richard McDowell began singing at age 10 after being dragooned into the middle school choir by his music teacher. He has since learned to sing voluntarily. Richard began his classical studies under G. Alan Wagner of West Chester University, and now studies with Keith Kibler. His performances at Williams include St. John’s Passion with Williamstown Early Music, a concert performance of Schumann’s Dichterliebe, and the title role in Sweeney Todd. A native of Pennsylvania, Richard is currently a senior at Williams majoring in Mathematics and Economics.
Augusta Caso, initially from Phoenix, Maryland, is currently a junior at Williams College and is majoring in music. Before coming to Williams, she sang with the Peabody Children’s Chorus for eight years, in numerous school choirs, and with the Maryland All-Sate Chorus for four years. She currently studies with Marlene Walt, and has developed a passion for classical vocal performance and opera. Augusta also sings in both the Concert and Chamber Choirs, played “Johanna” in Sweeney Todd, and has had the opportunity to perform with various other ensembles on campus. She very much enjoys conducting and arranging, and was previously a member and music director of Ephoria, one of William’s all-female a cappella groups. Her other interests include languages and travel, reading, creative activities, yoga and running. This past summer, Augusta spent five weeks in Germany studying at the Neil Semer Vocal Institute. She hopes to go on to graduate school in vocal performance after Williams.
Eric Kang is happy to be working on this production with his friends and mentors. Eric has been music director of the past three musicals with Cap and Bells (Assassins, 2006; Into the Woods, 2006; Sweeney Todd, 2008) as well as for Immediate Theatre’s production of The Last Five Years in 2008. He is also a member of the Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs, and the Williams Symphonic Winds.