School 4 Lovers

Project overview

Our ‘Hip H’Opera’ work was created in the framework of RESEO’s (the European Network of Opera Education Departments) Creative Ways to Mozart Project. Throughout 2006, Mozart’s birthday was marked with projects across Europe in opera houses, concert halls, schools, community and youth centres, and libraries. Projects with children, young adults, families and teachers were then documented in a publication, an inspiring record of a year of opera education projects.

School 4 Lovers, a new version of Cosi fan Tutte, was a collaboration between Glyndebourne and Finnish National Opera, as well as performers from opera houses in Germany. Resulting from this were two new productions which took strikingly different approaches to the fusion of Mozart and Da Ponte’s opera with the contemporary artforms of hip-hop. Young people were at the centre of each production as youth crews or hip-hop choruses; local hip-hop artists reflected the different hip-hop styles of each country and in the orchestras of young musicians.

The creation of any new work is simultaneously challenging and exciting and School 4 Lovers was an extremely positive experience for audiences and performers as well as for the Glyndebourne as a whole. From an audience attendance perspective the School 4 Lovers project was extremely successful. We succeeded in attracting a new, wider, more diverse and younger audience, 49% of them being entirely new to Glyndebourne.


A hip hop crew returns from a late night gig promoted by their unscrupulous manager, Big Donnie. After his own bad experiences, Donnie is cynical about women. He makes a bet with Liam and Freddie, the two techies for the crew, that their girlfriends, Gigi and Bella, won’t remain faithful. To put the girls’ fidelity to the test, Donnie suggests that Liam and Freddie pretend that they are going off on a northern tour with the band. In fact, the gig is just a one-nighter, and Donnie wants the boys to stick around to witness their girlfriends’ infidelity first-hand.

To win the bet, Donnie enlists the help of fast-living Despina, who shares a flat with Gigi and Bella. As Despina’s unscrupulous landlord Donnie offers her a rent reduction if she agrees to introduce Gigi and Bella to two affluent foreign film-producers – Guglielmo and Ferrando (Liam and Biggie in disguise). Despite Despina’s promptings that they should enjoy themselves while their boyfriends are away, Gigi and Bella resist their new suitors. However, on a balmy summer’s evening, the girls’ faithfulness is put to the test.

Donnie is jubilant: he has won the bet and his case against women has been proved. He instructs Despina to organise a big block-party at midnight to celebrate his victory. Liam and Freddie are now itching to get even with the girls for their infidelity (even though they themselves have been equally unfaithful). But having experienced the new combinations, all four lovers have also made discoveries about themselves and they realise that their exploration of love is not over.


Donnie - Paradise
Freddie - Ville Salonen
Gigi - Jessica Walker
Bella - Christina Gelder
Despina - Natasha Seale
Liam - Marvin Springer

Creative team

Originally by - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart & Lorenzo da Ponte

Idea and Concept - Markus Kosuch
Adaptation and Musical Arrangements - Jonathan Gill & Charlie ‘The Baptist’ Parker
Adaptation and Text - Stephen Plaice
Director - Clare Whistler
Designer and Lighting - Robin Carter
Conductor - Jonathan Gill

Orchestra - Southbank Sinfonia