Reviews: Così fan tutte

“An outstanding pair of ‘sisters from Ferrara’. As Fiordiligi, Eleanor Dennis has a truly gorgeous soprano – glowing, ample, easeful – and her lovingly intense account of ‘Per pietà’ was the show’s vocal highlight. Kitty Whately’s Dorabella was a strong contrast – bubbling with personality and fully mistress of both the melodramatics of ‘Smanie implacabili’ and the insouciance of ‘E amore un ladroncello’.”

– Rupert Christiansen for The Telegraph ★★★

“Conductor Dane Lam keeps things moving without seeming to rush, and the wind players make the most of Holland Park’s semi-open air acoustic.”

– Nick Kimberley for the Evening Standard ★★★

“Beautiful ensemble performance of Così fan tutte last night, with not a weak link in the cast. The production gets stronger and darker as it goes: the second act is wonderful.” 

Tim Ashley

“A series of deceptions is orchestrated by meddling, embittered Don Alfonso, sung by Peter Coleman-Wright with a coarseness in the voice that suits the fundamentally nasty nature of his experiment. As the maid Despina and, in disguise, visiting doctor and notary, Sarah Tynan gives a vivacious performance that makes light work of the impersonations.”

– Claudia Pritchard for Culture Whisper ★★★★

“The robust ranks of the Opera Holland Park chorus supply the colourful (and tuneful) Neapolitan street life. In Alyson Cummins’s design, this picturesque loveliness sets a sort of trap. There are serpents gliding through this Mediterranean garden.”

– Boyd Tonkin for The Arts Desk ★★★★

“Mozart and Da Ponte’s naive young lovers are finely explored over the course of the show by four singers who lay all their ambiguities bare by means of expert vocalism.”

– George Hall for The Stage ★★★★

“This is a musical jewel box that conductor Dane Lam and the City of London Sinfonia unlock with exuberance and beauty.”

– Mark Valencia for WhatsOnStage ★★★

“What makes for a memorable summer evening is the uniform vocal strength of the cast, and the lithe rhythmically alert playing of the City of London Sinfonia under Dane Lam. He maintains a tight hold but with the flexibility to support the soloists in their demanding arias and ensembles. There was some especially choice playing from the obbligato horns and woodwind. This year’s OHP chorus is a vintage crop.”

– John Johnston for Bachtrack ★★★★

“It is hard to imagine how this work might be better done: by concentrating modestly on how to bring out its essential merits this production avoids the common error of imposing alien criteria that evince an essential lack of belief in the work itself … this delicately evoked masterpiece is not to be missed.”

– Tim Hochstrasser for Plays To See ★★★★★

“It is clear that Opera Holland Park, following hot on the heels of its success with La traviata, has another hit on its hands.”

– Sam Smith for MusicOMH ★★★★

“Once again OHP presents an intelligent, thought-provoking Mozart staging.”

– Alexander Campbell for Classical Source ★★★★

“Eleanor Dennis and Kitty Whately were a very believable pair of sisters. Dennis’ Fiordiligi creating a very sympathetically upright sister, whose morality had a very human edge to it and whose aria in the garden in Act Two was one of the highlights of the evening… Kitty Whately’s delightful Dorabella was less determinedly flirty than usual, lively and curious but with a serious edge to her too. She captured the character’s lively intelligence whilst singing with a lovely combination of warm creamy tone and line.”

– Robert Hugill for Planet Hugill ★★★★

“Lam’s was a reading that knew where it was going, and thus could afford to take time on the way – in, for instance, a heartrending ‘Un aura amoroso’. Not that that would have been heartrending without an estimable Ferrando, of course; that was not, happily, something we needed to put to the test, Nick Pritchard balancing with apparent ease the demands of line and variegation. So too did Nicholas Lester’s Guglielmo, the bitterness of his disillusion moving indeed, his ‘journey’ perhaps the greatest of all. Eleanor Dennis and Kitty Whately likewise proved almost infinitely capable both of sisterly affinity and dramatic disentanglement.”

– Mark Berry for Boulezian


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Photos by © Robert Workman and Ali Wright for Opera Holland Park.