‘When you’re young, you believe everything,’ Jonas Kaufmann muses in Thomas Voigt’s biographical study, In Conversation with Jonas Kaufmann (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2017). The German tenor, a frequent Ferrando at the start of his career, went on: ‘And now imagine: two couples who live next door to each other go off on holiday together and share everything. And at some stage the point comes when each of them wonders what it would be like to swap partners. Curiosity and fun turn to seriousness, leading in turn to conflict. No one wants to return to the original arrangement.’
Original arrangements are especially vulnerable in Mozart’s antepenultimate opera, Così fan tutte, his last of three with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte.