A couple of smooth army officers in metropolitan Naples become increasingly horrified as they find that they are losing their bet with a misogynist philosopher. The wager? That their fiancées will be faithful. Their disguise as Albanians in an attempt to entrap their fiancées, and the complicity of the naughty maid, who feigns as a lawyer organising their ‘marriage’, provide hilarious moments in an opera full of favourite tunes. Lorenzo da Ponte’s libretto was long considered indecent and unsuitable to stage. But today it is regarded as providing one of the greatest illustrations of Mozart’s art of musical characterisation, even if the story is somewhat politically incorrect. The ways in which Mozart’s music contrasts the two ‘provincial’ sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, and presents their capitulation, can justify his reputation as possibly the greatest classical composer of all time. Written by Michael Steen, author of the acclaimed The Lives and Times of the Great Composers, ‘Short Guides to Great Operas’ are concise, entertaining and easy to read books about opera. Each is an opera guide packed with useful information and informed opinion, helping to make you a truly knowledgeable opera-goer, and so maximising your enjoyment of a great musical experience. Other ‘Short Guides to Great Operas’ that you may enjoy include The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni.