Bondi View

School for lovers

Clovelly baritone Jose Carbo is an expert on relations between the sexes. The Argentinian-born singer, of Italian and Spanish heritage, shows off his knowledge as Don Alfonso in the Mozart opera, Cosi fan tutte at the Opera House until October 29.

“It’s a funny opera. At the end of the day everyone does their shopping for a partner – partners come and partners go which unfortunately is construed as fickle,” Carbo, the father of two young boys, one aged eight and the other 7 months, said.

“We’re all after the same thing but somehow women have copped the blame. When this opera was written, men were expected to have mistresses.

“In this regard the opera lives up to its antiquity but for a modern audience it serves as a reminder of how things were and shows us where those notions have their roots.”

The moral of the story, Carbo says, is “love and joy will win the day”. In other words, “don’t worry. Be happy”.

“It basically says don’t waste time crying at the turmoil the world throws you; laugh at life’s adversities and all will be well.”

That is the lesson Don Alfonso sets out to teach the two couples – Ferrando (Henry Choo), Guglielmo (Shane Lowrencev), Fiordiligi (Rachelle Durkin) and Dorabella (Sian Pendry) – and his savvy maid Despina (Tiffany Speight).

At the end it doesn’t matter which of the suitors the women take, as long as they are happy.

“It’s a lighthearted, fun and lively opera. I’ve always considered Alfonso as a teacher. This opera is very enjoyable and entertaining. There’s a lot of humour from the couples and Despina’s a great foil. And then there’s the beauty of Mozart’s music. Throw in the great stage design and the ingenuity of the costumes and the result is a lighthearted night out.”

Carbo has performed in some of the best opera theatres in the world, including the famous La Scala in Milan. “That theatre has quite an amazing acoustic. The horseshoe shape delivers a reverb at a particular spot on either side of the bottom tip. I’m not sure whether it’s a marvel of engineering or an accident of nature. The beauty of the older theatres is that they’re made of timber and that resonates, rebounds and amplifies naturally.”

In 2011 he will be making his US debut singing Figaro in Barbiere di Siviglia for the Seattle Opera.

Cosi fan tutte will be performed with conductor Simon Hewett at the Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House until October 29. Book on 9250 7777.