Following months of planning and preparation, Liberty University’s School of Music opened its performance of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, meaning women are like that, Thursday, Jan. 16 in the Tower Theater.
As the lights dimmed and the orchestra began to play, the audience fell silent with anticipation for the artistic display that was about to unfold before them.
This double-casted show, directed by Wayne Kompelien, professor of music, featured six main characters, 17 orchestra musicians, and a chorus of eight. Many hours of planning and preparation since August 2013 led up to the six performances between Jan. 16 and 20.
Kompelien took the age and talent of his students into account when choosing which show they would perform this year.
“Mozart is great for young voices so I wanted to give these 12 (main cast members) the opportunity to sing in a show like this,” Kompelien said.
According to Kompelien, performing in this show was a great way for his students to gain experience by blending together singing and acting through opera. He pointed out that having a completely double-casted show was an interesting aspect of this year’s performance.
“Since the whole show is double-casted, it’s like watching a different show with each performance because (cast members) each bring a different dynamic,” Kompelien said.
Though the show provides an opportunity for the performers to gain valuable stage experience, Kompelien chose diversity for the benefit of the student body.
“When we do an opera, we are doing it for all of the students who are willing to open their minds to new and exciting things that they haven’t been exposed to before. This exposure is an important part of the university experience,” Kompelien said.
Unlike last year’s romantic comedy performance of The Merry Widow, Cosi Fan Tutte is grounded in Italian opera buffa, or Italian comedy, according to Kompelien.
In this Mozart opera, two men who hold unwavering trust in their fiancés make a bet with their philosopher friend that their fiancés will remain faithful to them. With the help of the fiancés’ maid, the philosopher devises a plan to tempt the women to fall in love with the other’s fiancé. The two men pretend leave for war, dress up as foreigners and try to seduce each other’s fiancé as a test of love and commitment. The plot includes unexpected twists to entertain the audience with a comedic appeal.
According to Kompelien, opera is a unique art form that relies heavily on multiple pieces that blend together successfully to present a wonderful dramatic story.
“Opera is a unique drama because music has an important role and an interesting story is being told,” Kompelien said. “The (opera) is a melding together of music, drama and art.”
According to Kompelien, keeping Mozart’s theme of symmetry in mind, the cast and crew collaborated to incorporate an artistic flow into music, singing, set design and stage placement. Their enlightening performance of Cosi Fan Tutte exposed students and faculty to art and music in a unique way.
For more information about the School of Music and future performances, visit liberty.edu/music.