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Emily D'Angelo, left, and Kirsten MacKinnon in rehearsal for the Canadian Opera Company's revival production of Così fan tutte.

It’s no wonder they’re grinning: Quickly rising Canadian opera stars Emily D’Angelo and Kirsten MacKinnon are set to make their high-profile returns to the Canadian Opera Company, stepping into the leading roles of Fiordiligi (MacKinnon) and Dorabella (D’Angelo) in Atom Egoyan’s production of Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, onstage Feb. 5 through 23 at Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre. With the waves they’re making internationally – such as D’Angelo’s big wins at the 2018 Operalia Competition, and MacKinnon’s near-constant presence on European stages – no doubt these singers can’t wait to bring their hard work home.

Or, perhaps the pair are smiling in character. It’s certainly easy to catch a strong whiff of misogyny in Cosi’s plot: Two men, inept at masking their own insecurities, agree to wager on the monogamy of their relationships with their girlfriends, Fiordiligi and Dorabella. After an elaborate setup of lies and manipulation, both women prove themselves indeed willing to go on a date with an exotic new guy (read: the opposite woman’s boyfriend in a barely functional disguise). The men, proved wrong and cuckolded all within a few hours, are miffed.

But rather than fainting on couches or weeping on vanities, these two young women make the very liberated, very feminist decision to laugh. They’re laughing at how hard their men must work to tell the world that they are desirable, and laughing at the men’s naive assumptions of monogamy.

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After all, if Mozart’s title is true – that “cosi fan tutte” (“all women are like that”) – then what’s the harm in singing a few sexy duets?

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