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Former apprentice takes lead in ‘Così fan Tutte’

Former Santa Fe Opera apprentice Jarrett Ott will sing Guglielmo in “Così fan Tutte” opening Saturday, July 13. (Courtesy of Santa Fe Opera)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mozart’s “School for Lovers” sports a highly experienced faculty and a progressive curriculum.

He traded books and term papers for experiential learning.

The final exam is evil, especially for two young couples about to be married. The project question asks: “Are you in love, or in love with the idea of love?”

The lovers soon discover commitment doesn’t prevent them from being attracted to someone else.

The Santa Fe Opera will open “Così fan Tutte” on Saturday, July 13.

The performance marks former Santa Fe apprentice Jarrett Ott’s second year at the opera. Ott sang in last year’s “Candide” and in “Ariadne Auf Naxos.” The baritone grew up in Argyl, Penn., and studied at Philadelphia’s prestigious Curtis Institute.

Described as a “rising star” by Opera News, Ott spent his youth “riding with the ambulance chasers” because he loved medicine.

Then a high school voice teacher said, “You’ll be paid to do this one day.”

“I wasn’t as good at chemistry as I needed to be,” he added.

Ott will sing the role of Guglielmo, one of a pair of prideful young men who accept a bet on their fiancée’s fidelity.

“Guglielmo is such a vivacious guy,” Ott said. “He always likes to play the game and egg on Ferrando.

“I think he just wants to prove that his girlfriend is always faithful,” Ott continued. “When Don Alfonso comes along and says he can guarantee she won’t be faithful, he wants to step up to the challenge.”

Mozart penned this Italian-language opera in 1790 with the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte for a Vienna premiere. Da Ponte also wrote “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni.”

The short title literally means “So do they all,” using the feminine plural to indicate women. Most English translations refer to the opera as “Women are like that.”

Mozart reportedly disliked prima donna Adriana Ferrarese del Bene, da Ponte’s arrogant mistress for whom the role of Fiordiligi was created. Knowing her habit of dropping her chin on the low notes and tossing her head back on high ones, Mozart filled her showpiece aria “Come scoglio” with constant leapfrogs from low to high and back again to make her head bob like a chicken.

In Santa Fe, Chicago lyric soprano Amanda Majeski will sing the role of Fiordiligi. Majeski recently sang the part at the Metropolitan Opera.

Canadian-Italian Emily D’Angelo made her stage debut in 2016 as Cherubino in “Le nozze di Figaro” at the Spoleto Festival dei Due Mondi. The mezzo-soprano will sing the role of Dorabella.

The 2018/2019 season marked her Metropolitan Opera debut, where she sang in “The Magic Flute” and in “Dialogues des Carmélites.”

Canadian coloratura soprano Tracy Dahl will sing the role of Despina. Tenor Ben Bliss will perform as Ferrando. Bliss recently appeared in a Metropolitan Opera staging of Mozart’s comedy of the sexes.

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