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Opera at USC Presents Mozart’s Così Fan Tutte

The Italian-language opera buffa opens February 20

Opera at USC presents Così fan tutte or The School for Lovers, Mozart’s comic work, filled with improbable situations, plot twists and a hefty dose of cynicism toward love and courtship. 

Three performances take place at Drayton Hall theatre on the University of South Carolina Columbia campus (1214 College St.) on Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m., and on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. The opera is sung in Italian with English supertitles.

The action begins in an early 20th-century health spa. Two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, are bragging about the unswerving fidelity of their fiancées, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi. Their friend, Don Alfonso, tells them that no women are ever faithful, and he intends to prove it with a bet.  

What follows are elaborate schemes, disguises and deceptions of comic proportions. Così fan tutte treats audiences to a musical journey that dazzles and entertains.

Mozart’s beloved score and the libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte mark the last of their three collaborations. Mozart’s diaries reveal that he rehearsed it, with singers, in his apartment before Christmas, and on one occasion he invited composer Joseph Haydn along to hear it. First premiered in 1790 at Vienna’s Burgtheater, the opera buffa quickly traveled to other parts of Europe, but was not performed in the U.S. until 1922, when it was given at the Metropolitan Opera.

Opera at USC director Ellen Douglas Schlaefer says, “Opera at USC is thrilled to have two young alums return to perform major roles in our upcoming production of Così fan tutte. Both Rebecca Krynski and John Callison received their undergraduate music degrees from USC and are working opera singers. Their expertise greatly enhances the experience for our students.”

Special guest Rebecca Krynski returns to her alma mater to play the part of Fiordiligi. Krynski was hailed by the New York Times as a “vibrant soprano...with a secure, appealing sound and eye-opening volume.” She sang Violetta from La Traviata in concert for Kentucky Opera and has won one of the most coveted apprentice slots at the Santa Fe Opera for summer 2015. Recently, Krynski won the North Carolina District Metropolitan Opera Auditions, which discovers exceptional young talent and provides a venue for young opera singers from all over the U.S. to be heard by a Metropolitan Opera representative. The program assists those with the greatest potential in their development.

Alumnus John Callison graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance and earned a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He has appeared with Ohio Light Opera and Chelsea Opera Theatre in New York City.

Neil Casey conducts USC’s Campus Orchestra and musical preparation is by Dr. Lynn Kompass.

Tickets are on sale now

General admission tickets $25; seniors, USC faculty/staff and military $20; students $7.
Purchase online, call 803-777-5369 or at the door.

BIOS

The roles of Guglielmo and Despina are double cast.

Rebecca Krynski, soprano, plays Fiordiligi. She was hailed by the New York Times as a "vibrant soprano...with a secure, appealing sound and eye-opening volume," and by Opera News as "a voluminous, steel-edged soprano." She sang Violetta from La Traviata in concert for Kentucky Opera and has won one of the most coveted apprentice slots at the Santa Fe Opera for summer 2015. Krynski earned her Bachelor of Music degree cum laude from USC in 2009.

John Callison, baritone, is returning to his alma mater as Guglielmo. He graduated from the University of South Carolina in 2011 with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance and earned a master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music. He has appeared with Ohio Light Opera and Chelsea Opera Theatre in New York City.

Cera Finney plays Dorabella. She is pursuing a Master of Music degree in Opera Theater at USC. She made her Opera at USC debut last year in Candide as the Old Lady and appeared as Pallas Athena in Hélène.  

Michael Gray as Ferrando, is pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance at USC. He has appeared in Opera at USC’s productions of Martha, La Dolorosa and Mr. Scrooge.  

Brenton O’Hara plays Guglielmo, and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Opera Theater at USC. O’Hara made his Opera at USC debut with the role of Maximilian in Candide. This past summer, Brenton worked as a production intern for Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival in New York, NY.

Abraham Hardy as Don Alfonso, is a junior vocal performance major at USC. He appeared in Opera at USC’s Daphnis et Chloé as Pan, and this past summer he played the roles of The Giant in Jack and the Beanstalk and Marco in Gianni Schicchi at Quisisana Resort in Maine.

Shaquile Hester, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at USC, plays Don Alfonso. He has performed in Opera at USC’s production of Candide and in Workshop Theatre's production as Little Moe of Five Guys Named Moe.

Katie Gatch from Columbia, SC, plays Despina and is pursuing a master’s degree in vocal performance at USC. She has appeared in the ensembles of Opera at USC productions and can be heard at USC sporting events singing the National Anthem.

Valencia Callens plays Despina, and is pursuing a Master of Music degree in Opera Theatre at USC. She has performed the title role in Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, Valencienne in The Merry Widow and the Housekeeper in Man of la Mancha. This past summer, she was a featured soloist with the UAB Concert Choir in Europe.