Cosi Fan Tutte, "Women Are Like That," an opera buffa in two acts by the Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte. Commissioned by Emperor Joseph II of Austria, the opera was first performed in Vienna on Jan. 26, 1790. Its United States premiere took place on Mar. 24, 1922, at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
Cosi Fan Tutte is set in 18th-century Naples and is supposedly based on a real-life incident. To win a bet with a cynical friend two young officers, Ferrando (tenor) and Guglielmo (bass), set out to prove that heir fiancees are true to them. They tell their sweethearts, the sisters Dorabella and Fiordiligi (sopranos), that they have been ordered away to war. The officers then disguise themselves as Albanians and go to the sisters' house, where each tries to make love to the other's fiancee. At first the sisters reject their advances, swearing fidelity to the officers, whom they believe to be far away. Eventually, however, the sisters yield and agree to marry the "Albanians." At the wedding party the officers reveal their true identities. They forgive the women, however, and all ends happily.
The opera contains some of Mozart's most delightful arias. Among them are Fiordiligi's breathtaking Per pietá, ben mio, perdona, which expresses her confusion when she finds herself responding to the charms of the "Albanian." Another is Guglielmo's comic aria on the fickle ways of women, Donne mie la fate a tanti.