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|Fiordiligi BERRI||Ashley Bell*|
|Dorabella BERRI||Anna Gomá*|
|Ferrando BERRI||Pablo García-López|
|Guglielmo BERRI||Jose Manuel Díaz|
|Don Alfonso||Pietro Spagnoli|
|Despina||Itziar de Unda|
|Actor||Rubén Jiménez Rosco|
|Coro de Ópera de Bilbao||Director Boris Dujin|
|Conductor BERRI||Pedro Bartolomé|
|Production||ABAO Bilbao Opera|
|*Debuting at ABAO Bilbao Opera|
Two young army officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, argue with their friend Don Alfonso: he has questioned the faithfulness of their sweethearts, Dorabella and Fiordiligi, and claims that women’s constancy is a myth. The old philosopher proposes a wager of one hundred sequins that, with the help of both young men, who will have to follow his instructions, he will able to prove the girls’ fickleness. Ferrando and Guglielmo are absolutely certain that they will win and are already planning how they are going to spend the money.
The sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella are blissfully gazing at the miniature portraits of their loved ones when Don Alfonso arrives with terrible news: the two officers must go to the battlefield. The two young men enter, apparently heartbroken, and try to comfort the desperate women. A choir (the staging has been prepared by Don Alfonso) calls for the soldiers’ departure; the lovers bid farewell in tears and Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso watch the boat with the men onboard sail off. Don Alfonso, left alone, feels satisfied: his plan will certainly be successful.
The sisters vent their despair in the presence of their maid, Despina. Dorabella in particular is beside herself because of the pain. Despina advises her mistresses to make the most of the situation and keep themselves entertained with new lovers. The two girls appear to be shocked and leave. Don Alfonso speaks with Despina and convinces her to collaborate. The plan is simple: she will introduce her mistresses to two young foreigners who will declare their love to them, but she will not know that the two exotically dressed Albanians are in fact Ferrando and Guglielmo in disguise.
The foreigners arrive and, as soon as Fiordiligi and Dorabella enter, start wooing the other’s sweetheart; the girls disdainfully reject them, even when Don Alfonso introduces the “Albanians” as his close friends. Fiordiligi vehemently declares that she will always remain faithful to her beloved. While Guglielmo joyfully praises his friend’s charming qualities, the sisters, furious, walk out on their suitors. The officers are absolutely convinced of having won the wager, but Don Alfonso makes it clear that the game is not over yet. Ferrando sings to the joy of true love while Despina and Don Alfonso plan their next move.
The wretched women are surrendering themselves to sadness in the garden when the two “Albanians” rush in. Showing despair over the girls’ harshness they pretend to take poison in front of them. Don Alfonso leaves with Despina to fetch a doctor. The sisters decide to examine more closely the two foreigners, who seem to be already dying. Despina returns disguised as a doctor and brings them back to life with the help of a supposedly powerful stone, but when the two men renew their wooing, the girls reject them once again. This second attack on their virtue seems to have failed as well.
In spite of their protests, the sisters start to show a rather different interest in the Albanians and Despina encourages them to flirt with them. Dorabella convinces her sister that the adventure could be fun and that they will not take it too seriously. She decides to pair off with the dark-haired Albanian, Guglielmo, and Fiordiligi chooses the blonde one, Ferrando. Don Alfonso calls them from the garden.
The Albanians have prepared a serenade for the girls. Don Alfonso and Despina encourage the couples to come together and then leave them alone. Guglielmo offers Dorabella a small golden heart and accepts from her a medallion containing Ferrando’s portrait. Ferrando courts Fiordiligi who, aware of the fact that her resistance is weakening, rejects her admirer. When left alone for a moment, she berates herself for her lack of firmness. Ferrando assures Guglielmo that Fiordiligi is still faithful to him; Guglielmo, however, shows his friend the portrait that Dorabella has given to him and, half serious, half joking, regrets women’s unfaithfulness. Ferrando is deeply disappointed in Dorabella’s betrayal; Don Alfonso advises him to try to court Fiordiligi once more.
The sisters confide in each other about their feelings. Dorabella, who has somewhat adopted Despina’s attitude towards men, is thinking of marrying her Albanian; Fiordiligi, on the contrary, decides to disguise herself as a man to follow Guglielmo to the battlefield. However, she is interrupted by Ferrando, who finally manages to break her will. Guglielmo now also feels that he has been betrayed. Don Alfonso suggests the disillusioned lovers to marry the two girls anyway: after all, sooner or later they would be unfaithful…as all women do. Despina arrives to announce that the sisters are willing to marry the Albanians.
Despina is watching the preparations for the wedding. The two couples toast to their future happiness; Guglielmo is the only one who seems not to be in the mood. Despina, disguised as a notary, arrives with the marriage contracts that the sisters have to sign; but just then a roll of drums and a distant choir announce the return of their former loved ones. The Albanians are hurried to another room; there, they remove their disguise and come back as Ferrando and Guglielmo, apparently back from the war, safe and sound. They note the presence of the notary who, to the sisters’ dismay, reveals that she is Despina. Don Alfonso draws the young men’s attention to the marriage contracts and points to the room where their supposed rivals are hiding. Ferrando and Guglielmo rush in with their swords drawn, but return holding only the disguises. The deceit now comes to light and the three women are shocked. Fiordiligi and Dorabella blame Don Alfonso for having misled them so cruelly. He accepts the accusation but explains that he did so for all their sake: by taking away any expectation about love, he has shown the importance of conscience and reason. The girls pledge loyalty and, to conclude, they all sing the moral of the fable: those who take the right path and let themselves be guided by reason will find calm in the midst of the world’s turmoil.