Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte makes a perfect addition to the Welsh National Opera’s autumn season.
Transplanted from Naples to a British seaside town, the action centres around the pier and a nearby cafe.
The opening is a visual treat as the orchestra, enthusiastically led by conductor Mark Wrigglesworth, sets out its stall in a stirring overture which includes tableaux of dancers, couples promenading and recalcitrant dogs.
End-of-pier entertainer Don Alfonso, wonderfully acted and sung by Neil Davies, is teasing his two friends that women cannot be faithful.
Two Italian sailors Ferrando (Andrew Tortise) and Guglielmo (Gary Griffiths) are understandably upset, arguing that their fiancees could not be unfaithful to them.
The mischievous Don Alfonso strikes a bet with the two and they agree to pretend that they have to go to war when the two women arrive.
They will then don disguises and try to seduce the two unsuspecting women Fiordiligi and Dorabella, sung by sopranos Elizabeth Watts and Cora Burggraaf.
This leads to another highlight as, on their arrival, they find that their two lovers are preparing to leave.
A beautiful quartet about love and the anguish of parting ensues.
But the genius of the production is to subvert the ridiculous plot by acting it out as farce. Who could be fooled by the two sailors disguising themselves purely by donning huge noses?
And the bathroom scene where the maid Despina, played with gusto by Joanne Boag, tries to persuade the two abandoned women that they should have some fun while their men are away is true lavatorial humour as Despina demonstrates her enthusiasm for infidelity with a wet toilet brush, spraying the two horrified women in the process.
The plot of Cosi Fan Tutte —“thus do all women” — is a misogynist’s dream that women cannot be faithful.
While that is a flimsy pretext for three hours of entertainment it works in this production through the genius of Mozart’s music, a fantastic cast and the deft direction of Benjamin Davis. Tours until November 30. Details: www.wno.org.uk/whats-on.