Soap Opera

There are few places in the world as scandalous as Naples, Italy. From streetside pickpockets to the maniacal scooterists and absent traffic laws, to the underworld mafia, it can be a downright scary place — and they say that nowadays, street action aside, it’s at a law-abiding zenith. So imagine that city 300 years ago, before its edges got as polished and tourist-friendly as they are today. Sounds like the perfect setting for an opera, doesn’t it?

Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte agreed, so they used Naples as the setting for Cosí Fan Tutte, an opera so scandalous itself, that it took a double century sabbatical during most of the 1800s and 1900s before being revived and performed again publicly. That could have been due to the name: it directly translates to “Women are Like That,” which hints at the premise that all women are fickle creatures who will do anything to have men by their sides. But most likely its banning was a result of Cosí’s overtly lurid sexuality. Any way you dice it, the performance has everything you want from a good, juicy opera: wagers between gentlemen, lovers betrayed, disguised tricksters, confused and helpless women, and, eventually, someone being called a “scoundrel” in Italian, three octaves higher than you could ever hope to shout. It’s good stuff. It’s salacious. It’s dirty. It’s Naples. It’s playing tonight at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and on Saturday. Tickets range from $21 to $200. Call 954-462-0222, or visit www.browardcenter.org.
Thu., Dec. 13; Fri., Dec. 14, 2007

 
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