Così Fan Tutte is well-suited to modern times

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The Independent Culture

They tell me that Jonathan Miller's production of Così Fan Tutte is coming up to its 16th revival at London's Royal Opera House. You may remember it as the one that became hijacked when a certain Giorgio Armani dressed it in that season's line. I have to report that my wardrobe this time, in the role of Don Alfonso, is in the very safe hands of a well-known firm of Savile Row tailors.

The story concerns, as you know, the swapping of identities of two swains at the behest of an elderly – I like to think, mature – cynic who wishes to demonstrate the perfidy of womankind. In the process of doing so I watch them pretend to take poison, woo the ladies Albanian style and generally make silly asses of themselves.

All those years ago it was the first time a mobile phone was used in a scene to deliver a recitative (musical dialogue, for the uninitiated). Now they've all got one; the production hasn't stood still. Meanwhile, I spend an awful lot of time observing their behaviour as it grows ever worse under my tutelage. I am more than content to make the odd quirky observation, ignite a bit of blue touchpaper and stand back and watch. I pull the strings that makes them work to my will.

'Così Fan Tutte', Royal Opera House, London WC2 (020 7304 4000;, to 24 September