The new Royal Opera Season begins with a great audience favorite—both in opera and in its production. This great comedy with an edge brings a classic score by Mozart to a witty story of deception and trust tested to its limit. Can two apparently faithful couples have their affections altered by some apparently harmless deception? Jonathan Miller's ever-popular production updates the 18th-century to today—while fashions and technology may have changed since Mozart's time, human behavior remains as fickle and manipulative as ever. Royal Opera favorite Thomas Allen returns in a strong cast of singers under acclaimed German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock. The title may suggest that it is the way of women to behave this way—'such is the way they are'—but then it seems to be true of the men too. In this most sophisticated of operas with the most sublime of scores, no-one escapes unscathed.
Don Alfonso, a confirmed bachelor, makes a bet on women's fidelity with Ferrando and Guglielmo, two engaged young military officers. If they agree to give him one day and do everything he asks, Alfonso will prove that their fiancées, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, are fickle and unfaithful like all other women. The girls are told that their men have been ordered to the front line, and are encouraged by Despina, their chambermaid, to find new lovers. Despina introduces them to two Albanian men (Ferrando and Guglielmo in disguise) and the men proceed to passionately woo the other's betrothed. At first the girls spurn their advances, but many twists and turns later, they fall for their new admirers and actually marry them. In the end, the girls realize they've been duped, but all is forgiven as the men and women alike accept the capriciousness of human nature.