Admittedly, the plot of “Cosi fan tutte” is the most absurd of the three Mozart/DaPonte collaborations. Unlike “The Marriage of Figaro” and “Don Giovanni,” “Cosi” was not an adaptation of an earlier, well-known story but, rather, was an original DaPonte libretto that has even been staged on its own. Ironically, the plot with its caviler view of female fidelity was so offensive to nineteenth-century sensibilities that the work virtually disappeared for a century only to resurface with considerable plot changes. Though the music is some of Mozart’s most exquisite, the opera takes so many liberties with reality that unless it is superbly sung with great attention to its comedic value, it can be a tedious affair. Happily, Lyric has assembled a first-class cast of mostly young singers to bring off Mozart’s glorious score whether in solos, duets or ensemble numbers, and John Cox’s updated staging from the eighteenth-century to a pre-World War I colorful Mediterranean resort works well and freshens up the work. The one caveat is Sir Andrew Davis’ stodgy tempos and tediously unimaginative recitative accompaniment. (Dennis Polkow)
7:30pm, Feb. 16, 19, 2pm, Feb. 21, 8pm, Feb. 24, 28, 2pm, Sunday, March 4, 7, 10, 16, Civic Opera House, Wacker Drive at Madison, (312)332-2244. $31-$179. Through Mar 16. This production is now closed.