UT Opera will perform "Cosi Fan Tutte," an opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart based around love and romance, this upcoming weekend.
Sydney Gabbard, a second-year master's of music student, is a member of the cast and a well-seasoned opera performer, with "Cosi Fan Tutte" being her 10th show. Gabbard is also one of the head marketing representatives for the event.
Gabbard said that the opera revolves around a bet that two men make on whether their female fiancées would ever cheat on them or whether they would always remain faithful. The men disguise themselves and try to seduce the two sisters.
"My character brings wit and stability to this plot," Gabbard said. "She knows what is going on and is in on part of the bet because she was paid to help as someone closest to the women, to encourage them to seek these new lovers while their men are supposedly 'off at war.'"
Gabbard said that the opera, which they have rehearsed since February, will bring laughs, singing, live theater and beautiful, catchy music.
"It is bold, fresh art that questions the ever-present concepts of gender and fidelity, what is love and what is betrayal, can you have love with betrayal?" Gabbard said. "It is an amazing production with relentless humor and wit."
Emily Hagens, a first-year graduate student, is also involved with the opera. Hagens said "Cosi Fan Tutte" is a refreshing reinvention that plays on Mozart's subtitle for the work: "La scuola degli amanti," which means "The school for lovers."
"Expect the unexpected," Hagens said. "Our technical staff has created a setting and atmosphere that is certain to thrill."
Hagens said that the actors tell a story filled with hilarity, sensuality and heart.
"If you've never been to an opera before, this will defy all expectations and stereotypes," she said. "Plus, the intimate nature of the Carousel Theatre brings the audience into the action."
Hagens said the production of the show has been highly physical, with lots of movement, action and dance.
"The pairing of physicality with classical singing," she said, "has been an exciting challenge."
James Marvel, the director of the UT Opera Theatre, said he is excited to direct the opera for a second time, as he first directed it at the age of 24.
"Getting to know the opera again has been an interesting journey," Marvel said. "With any comedy, timing is extremely important, so it takes many hours to perfect that kind of thing."
Marvel said the show is hilarious, but it also has a heart.
"The situations in the comedy are pretty racy and hot, and this production embraces that quality," Marvel said. "This is not a stuffy, boring opera. It's an amazing night in the theater.
"Watching all of my students grow as artists in the process is tremendously gratifying for me."
Performances for "Cosi Fan Tutte" will be held this upcoming weekend, with a matinee show being held on Saturday. Tickets are available at the Clarence Brown Theatre box office, or online at Knoxvilletickets.com.