Cold feet: Edinburgh Festival issues sex/violence warning on Cosi fan tutte

Cold feet: Edinburgh Festival issues sex/violence warning on Cosi fan tutte


norman lebrecht

July 27, 2016

The show is a co-production with Aix-en-Provence, where the New York Times headline said it had been reimagined in a ‘violent, racist world’ (though its critic wished the director had gone further).

Edinburgh first circulated the glowing review to prospective ticket buyers, then got cold feet.

It has now alerted patrons that the opera contains ‘adult scenes’ that would be ‘totally unsuitable for children’.

A spokeswoman said: ‘We don’t want to offend anyone. If somebody has bought a ticket, doesn’t think the show will be suitable for them and doesn’t want to come then we will obviously try to help them.’


cosi aix


  • Pianofortissimo says:

    Così fan tutte with sex & violence? They mean really: “We don’t want to offend anyone, except the opera lovers”.

  • Nick says:

    “We will obviously try to help them!” I thought last-minute PR statements like this are supposed to clarify issues. This just muddies the waters. Are they going to give refunds or not?

  • Bill Worley says:

    Why has anyone mucked about with this beautiful opera which is as perfect as you could get. This implies another example of Directors not listening to the music that Mozart wrote, reading Da Pone’s libretto and following the instructions. When is all this nonsense going to end?

  • pooroperaman says:

    Anybody who reads the text would know that Cosi Fan Tutte is not suitable for children, however you stage it.

    • V.Lind says:


      When did people become such WIMPS? Not exactly the spirit that built an Empire, is it.

      And opera houses, theatres, etc., are not substitutes for paying a babysitter.

  • OperaGene says:

    If we have to keep watching recycled operas, why not throw in a little sex and violence or a lot of sex and violence. When we are sick of that, maybe we will try some new opera.

    As for kids, unless they are toddlers I suspect this would be pretty mild stuff for them these days.

  • Nick says:

    Surely the real concern here is not that a last minute fudge notice has been put out. It is that it has come at such an incredibly late stage. Yes, it’s a new production that only opened a few weeks ago. But let’s also recall: this is a co-production between Aix en Provence and the Edinburgh Festival. Where was the Festival Director during all the pre-production planning which must have taken place many, many months ago – even more than a year ago?

    If the EIF did not know about the director’s lack of experience in opera, if it had no idea that this was going to be more than just a controversial production, if the Festival Director was not aware during the rehearsal period during May and June that this production was going to cause greater problems than those anticipated with the early warning in the Festival PR materials, and he only now decides that the production is so controversial that he will give money back as announced this morning, then why is he in the job? For it is clear he has not been doing it!

  • John Borstlap says:

    The attention of critics goes often to the crusts which are added to the works, because the plain thing itself no longer interests them. Hence reviews complaining about ‘dull conductors’, ‘performers not putting enough of their own into the score’ or ‘failing to offer a new approach, a new reading’, stage directors ‘merely repeating conventional settings’ etc. etc. Senses are blunted, stage directors getting desperate to find ‘something new’ to add to existing works to titilate the critics, hoping to get positive reviews which will advance their career, etc. etc. which bypasses the audience and any residu for the work itself. After a while, people will get enough of the crusts and want to present and to experience the works as they were created. But it takes time with the critics.