Along with several holiday pops concerts happening this weekend in the Triangle, the UNC Opera and the UNC Symphony Orchestra offer two performances of Mozart’s Così fan tutte.

Music Director Tonu Kalam explains that the productions involve several firsts at UNC. Così fan tutte is, he says, “the first full-length opera with orchestra that we have produced here since my arrival in 1988. The renovation of Memorial Hall was the catalyst for this,” he explains, “as well as the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. The production is part of Carolina Performing Arts’ new Music on the Hill series, showcasing UNC Music Department faculty and students in 10 events during the season, which has given us a new profile in the community.

“We will be doing what we call a ‘semi-staged concert version’ in which the orchestra will be in the middle of the stage, not in the pit, and the singers will be moving and acting on the sides, behind and around the players. The production will be fully costumed and lit, and there will be platforms and some furniture. We will use fortepiano for the secco recitativesMozart greatly preferred it to harpsichordand Brent Wissick will be playing cello continuo along with it. The singers are double cast and the orchestra is also significantly different on both nights.”

UNC’s Terry Rhodes directs Così.

Readers may know that our state’s “professional” opera companies are at long last talking about mutual support and cooperation, but the cradles of our burgeoning operatic expertise here in North Carolina are our institutions of higher learning, including UNC’s Department of Music. Così will provide a good opportunity to sample some outstanding young singers and instrumentalists in one of the greatest masterworks in all of Western art music at reasonable prices. Così begins at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 28 and 29, in UNC’s Memorial Hall. Tickets are $15 and $10 for UNC students, faculty and staff.

For more information about these performances (including the casts) and many others, see