Artisti Affamati raising money for Mozart’s classic opera “Cosi fan tutte”
Chattanoogans can anticipate an operatic treat in the New Year as Artisti Affamati gears up for its large-scale production of Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte,” set to premiere in January 2015 in Chattanooga State’s Humanities Theater. Sara Snider Schone, the company’s president and artistic director, explained in a recent interview that up to this point, Artisti Affamati has focused on bringing obscure opera to nontraditional venues in an effort to win over audiences who may not ordinarily seek out opera.
However, after several seasons, the company is poised to take on the challenge of traditional opera, sets, costumes, and all.
“Our original plan was to present ‘Cosi fan tutte’ in a small blackbox production in November of 2014,” Schone says, “but once the ball got rolling, we thought how much more exciting it would be to bring it to life the way it was meant to be (sets, big costumes, and professional orchestra) and so we made the decision to postpone the show a couple of months and do it right! To do it right costs quite a bit more than our original vision did.”
Schone felt drawn to “Cosi fan tutte” because it is one of her favorite operas, and she finds its humor and wit particularly accessible for modern audiences. Additionally, this is a rare opera that can be performed without a full chorus, so the company will only need to use the six principals for the entire performance.
Leading the charge will be David Wood of Massari-Wood Dance Studio, who is himself a trained opera singer. In addition to directing the singers, Wood will also be designing the sets, which will pair with Brenda Schwab’s costume designs to delight audiences visually as they experience the musical prowess Artisti Affamati has become known and respected for.
The cast includes Christine Hassevoort as Fiordiligi, Sara Snider Schone as Dorabella, Beth DuRoy as Despina, Jason Canter as Ferrando, Aaron Murphy as Guglielmo, and Brett Hyberger as Don Alfonso.
The orchestra, conducted by Darrin Hassevoort, will include Mark Reneau, Sheri Peck, Laurie Redmer Minner, Taylor Brown, Christa Dingman, Nick Hartline, Tiffany Feltner, Eddie McCrary, and Tim Hinck.
Opera gossip, courtesy of Wikipedia, includes the following: “According to William Mann, Mozart disliked prima donna Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, the arrogant mistress for whom the role of Fiordiligi had been created. Knowing her idiosyncratic tendency to drop her chin on low notes and throw back her head on high ones, Mozart filled her showpiece aria ‘Come scoglio’ with constant leaps from low to high and high to low in order to make Ferrarese’s head ‘bob like a chicken’ onstage.” Oh, that wacky Mozart!
To finance this large undertaking (and assist in bring full-fledged opera back to Chattanooga), the Artisti have started a Causeway Campaign. They went with Causeway because, unlike other online fundrasing platforms, Causeway is a local operation with a physical office on Patten Parkway.
“You can drop in to see how it all works and put your donation in someone’s hand instead of in a mailbox,” Schone points out. The goal is $10,000 by Jan. 15, and they will keep whatever they raise. Love opera? Then put your money where your Mozart is and chip in!
• Donations can be cash, check, credit or debit card.
• No processing or handling fee is charged.
• All donations are tax deductible as long as checks are made out to Causeway.
For more details about Causeway’s model and to contribute directly before their Jan. 15 deadline, please visit Artisti Affamati’s website, artistiaffamati.com
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Artisti Affamati will present Mozart’s “Cosi fan tutte” in the Humanities Auditorium at Chatt State Jan. 22 and 24.