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Doing it again

The 19th century could not cope with Così fan tutte, ossia La scuola degli amanti (Thus Do They All, or The School for Lovers)  with a libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte and music by Mozart, first presented in Vienna in 1790. Beethoven’s only opera has the ideal of feminine fidelity in the very title. Wagner’s heroines are going to remain faithful to their men until death, or even through all eternity. In Cosi fan tutte, the two sisters cannot stay faithful to their sweethearts for a single day.  

Although Cosi was enjoying an apparently successful run before the theatres in Vienna were closed for court mourning owing to the death of the Emperor Joseph II, already by 1791 a response to the first production in Frankfurt called the opera “a miserable Italian product with the powerful, sublime music of a Mozart.” Complete rewritings of the libretto with an entirely different text were frequent. In 1821 Covent Garden presented Tit for Tat, or, the Tables Turned,altered and adapted from Così fan tutte.

In 1837 an opera called Die Guerillas was presented in Frankfurt, with the music of Cosi fan tutte fitted to a completely different libretto about bandits attacking a Spanish castle, and in 1863 Paris saw Peines d’amour perdues, with music from Cosi applied to a new text based on Shakespeare’s Love’s Labours Lost. It was not until 1922 that Così fan tutte was first performed in the USA (at the Met) and only since the 1950’s and 60’s has the opera been part of the standard operatic repertory.

A philosophical gentlemen bets his two young soldier friends that their sweethearts cannot remain faithful to them for a single day. The two soldiers, in disguise, woo each others’ girlfriend, and, helped by the urgings of their pert housemaid, the two girls have signed marriage contracts with their new suitors by evening. This rather artificial comedy, somewhat similar in tone and content to works by Laclos or Marivaux, called forth from Mozart not only the expected buffo arias and hectic comic ensembles, but also sublime music of transcendent beauty and an emotional quality, especially in the second act, almost too deeply felt for such a slight story. The opera is quite long and it is rarely performed note complete, with standard cuts in the secco recitative, and passages from the many ensembles and even entire arias commonly being excised.

This set of three CD’s from Deutsche Grammophon was recorded at live concert performances from the Baden-Baden festival last year. The sound is excellent, with no audience noises bar the occasional slight titter. The star of this recording is definitely the conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who leads a performance fizzing with energy from the get-go, bringing out the many incidental beauties of the orchestration throughout the piece. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe, although performing on modern instruments, are clearly influenced by historically informed practice, with superb bite from the brass instruments.

The few contributions of the chorus in this opera are excellently  performed by Vocalensemble Rastatt. The march in Act One, “Bella vita militar”, with chorus, brass and percussion was so wonderfully performed that I had to listen to it three times in a row. A fortepiano is used for the secco recitatives and plays continuo throughout, very acceptable.

If the soloists in this recording were on the level of the conductor, orchestra and chorus, this would be a Cosi for the ages. Unfortunately, the singers deliver uncharacterized and rather bland performances. For instance, the showpiece recitative and aria for Fiordiligi, “Come scoglio”, is full of huge leaps from top notes to low ones, surely intended to create a rather comic effect of Outraged Virtue protesting too much at the idea of deserting her true love. Critic William Mann quotes Mozart saying that he wrote those leaps in because the original singer, Adriana Ferrarese del Bene (da Ponte’s girlfriend), known for her wide range, had the habit of dropping her chin on low notes and raising her head on high ones, and Mozart wanted to make her “bob like a chicken” onstage.

There is nothing of this in Miah Persson‘s performance of the aria.  The leaps and elaborate roulades are competently managed as if they are no big deal. Persson does not manage to sing her contributions to the “farewell” quintet or trio in Act One with the sort of melting beauty I like to hear in those passages. The role of Fiordiligi is a huge one, and I started to find listening to so much mildly pleasant but generic singing in Act Two rather wearing.

Angela Brower as her sister Dorabella similarly sings nicely, but blandly, without making much of an effect. It is hard at times to tell the two sisters’ voices apart. I found Mojca Erdmann‘s performance as the maid Despina very irritating, a bright, hard timbre chirping away most of the time, but with horrendous interpolations of stratospheric and out of tune high notes in her disguise as the doctor in the Act One finale. I suppose someone thought it was funny, although it just made me wince, not laugh, but then she does much the same thing again in the little aria in Act Two “Una donna a quindici anni.” Horrible!

Rolando Villazón sings this music in a more Latinate style than we are accustomed to, I cannot say I really enjoyed the “catch in the throat” sob type effects and glottal stops very much. He does manage some lovely soft singing in “Un’aura amorosa” but pushes his voice too much for my taste in the more forceful “Tradito, schernito”. His bravura aria, “Ah, lo veggio,” is cut.

Adam Plachetka as Guglielmo reveals an attractive dark-timbred bass-baritone but again sings without much character. In his bitterly comic aria in Act Two, “Donne mie, la fate a tanti”, the orchestra outacts the singer, capturing the changing moods of the piece much more than Plachetka does.

As Don Alfonso, the light voiced-buffo Alessandro Corbelli, more a baritone than a bass, does not manage to create a distinctive character through either music or text. All of these singers are better in the opera’s many ensembles, performed with precision and high levels of musicianship, than they are in their solos.

I like hearing Mozart on period instruments, and for that reason my favourite CD of Così fan tutte is the one with René Jacobs conducting the Concerto Köln with Véronique Gens as Fiordiligi. Of the more classic recordings on modern instruments, in my opinion the incomparable trio of Montserrat Caballé, Janet Baker and  Ileana Cotruba? in the ladies’ roles on the Colin Davis recording cannot be beaten, with the added attraction of beautiful singing from Nicolai Gedda and a very characterful performance from Thomas Allen.

61 comments

  • 1
    armerjacquino says:

    Thomas Allen isn’t in the Davis COSI: you’re thinking of Richard Van Allan.

    • 1.1
      manou says:

      Au contraire armer -- click on the link provided and ye shall find the Allen.

      • 1.1.1
        mr. archdale says:

        Van Allan, yes..but Allen, no. The two “Thomas Allen” roles on that recording are sung by Richard van Allan and Wladimiro Ganzarolli. Amazon has it wrong!

      • 1.1.2
        grimoaldo says:

        Actually it’s a mistake in the Amazon link, which is where I got the info, but looking at the actual set I see it is indeed Richard van Allan, not Thomas Allen.
        Thanks for pointing that out aj.

      • 1.1.3
        Kilian says:

        …the Amazon description following the link is wrong: Davis has Wladimiro Ganzarolli as Guglielmo and Richard van Allan as Alfonso. For Thomas Allen, go to Marriner for Guglielmo, to Rattle for Alfonso and to Mackerras (Chandos-recording, not his Telarc) for Alfonso in English.

        • 1.1.3.1
          Kilian says:

          Oh apologies, grimoaldo. I took my time typing this and I did not see your post. Thank you for the review of this Cosí.

        • 1.1.3.2
          SilvestriWoman says:

          I have the Marriner and the Bohm. The latter is a classic. Schwarzkopf and Kraus melt together in the Fra gli’amplessi duet, but Ludwig is the star. There are many fine Dorabelle on record, but no one close to her. Just the way she sighs “Io gia decisi” before launching into the Prendero duet should be studied by every gal learning the role.

          That said, the Marriner is my personal favorite. Mattila and von Otter are particularly simpatico as the sisters, but the men are the true stars. Araiza’s voice was still fresh; van Dam is pure elegance and style; Sir Thomas is, well, definitive as Guglielmo. Just listen to his opening lines in Il core vi dono, and you’ll understand why I call him the Voice of Sex. Overall, the cast has great energy and attention to the text. Sadly, this is the only clip I can find on YouTube. I wish the Soave sia il vento was available, as it’s the most moving rendition I’ve heard. Mattila, von Otter and van Dam make time stop.

          • armerjacquino says:

            No pair of sisters has ever been so perfectly matched as Mattila and Von Otter. I saw them at Covent Garden when I was 13 (not a bad cast around them, either: Aler, Shimell and Walter Berry) and the blend of their voices was almost like watching some kind of CGI trick.

            • armerjacquino says:

              (I also have every other recording of COSI so far mentioned in this thread: I’m a bit of a COSI nut. I’m with grim on the Jacobs, which is just revelatory. Two bad recordings on Erato, where pedestrian conductors kill brilliant casts, but still worth hearing for Te Kanawa, Von Stade and Rendell on one, Cuberli, Streit and Bartoli on the other. The live Bohm is not ideal but it’s Janowitz, Fassbaender and Grist so it demands to be heard. Danco and Simionato are fun on the other live Bohm, which is otherwise sort of awful. Vaness is maybe the best Fiordiligi on record with Haitink; other people love Marshall with Muti but that recording is all about Baltsa and Araiza for me, and I find Marshall dull. Avoid the Leinsdorf, even though George Shirley is lovely and so is Troyanos. The first Bohm studio recording, for Decca, has a stunning cast but horrible cuts. Solti 1 has a dull cast (even its stars are not on form), Solti 2 has a gorgeous cast but Solti’s not really there. Harnoncourt has Claire Bloom and Rod Steiger’s daughter as Despina, which is notable in itself, and she’s great, but Margiono is a bit stately and Van der Walt is dry and unpleasant as Ferrando. The Muti/Scala DVD is sensational, especially Dessi. Most people hate the Bartoli/Harnoncourt/Zurich DVD: I think she’s spectacular in an otherwise unremarkable cast. The Glyndebourne DVD of Hytner’s production is glorious in every way)

              Phew, I think that’s all the ones I have. Oh, and CF and I want someone to release the Opera Factory production on DVD for David Freeman’s brilliant, hilarious production and Marie Angel’s exquisite Fiordiligi.

              I might go to bed now.

            • Porgy Amor says:

              AJ, my favorite of the three (!) Muti Cosí DVDs is, happily, the most recent, the one with the best sound and video recording, that from Wien 1996.

              He has a more consistent group here than he had at La Scala, and probably equal to the one from Salzburg ’83. Even the one cast member who usually sends me running the other way, Bo Skovhus, is fine, and Kirchschlager and Schade magnificent. So’s Frittoli too — still at her freshest and best, even if her weak low notes require one to lean in close for the dips of “Come scoglio.” A production by De Simone that goes for the lighthearted, airy, attractive-to-behold option.

            • SilvestriWoman says:

              Lucky you! There’s nothing armer about that experience. You can hear that in the duets on the recording, especially the B section in O guarda sorella. Less of a surprise as they studied under the same teacher, Vera Rozsa, who also taught Dame Kiri. Still, many forget that, early in her career, Mattila almost exclusively sang Mozart.

        • 1.1.3.3
          Often admonished says:

          And to hear a Guglielmo who sings in tune, avoid Ganzarolli.

  • 2
    grimoaldo says:

    Soave sia il vento with Caballe, Baker and Richard van Allan,conducted by Colin Davis, illustrated by paragliding.

  • 3
  • 4
    MontyNostry says:

    It’s revealing that all the posts so far express no interest in this ‘important’ new recording with headlining artist Mojca Erdmann. She and Boy Rolando lead the list of names in DG’s promotional material. I always knew Despina was the real heroine of the piece.

    • 4.1
      armerjacquino says:

      I’m sad to hear the criticism of Persson. Her Glyndebourne Fiordiligi was utterly beautiful vocally and dramatically.

    • 4.2
      grimoaldo says:

      Erdmann mostly does standard soubrette shrick in this recording but the interpolated shrieky high notes effects have to be heard to be believed. I can’t believe anybody thought they were a good idea or allowed the recording to be released with them in.

    • 4.3
      Liz.S says:

      “DG’s promotional material”
      so is Nézet-Séguin, who is peculiarly popular, but he doesn’t have to be everybody’s darling and sorry he’s not mine so far.

      Regardless, I really appreciate grimoaldo’s review on this DVD I didn’t think I would buy but was curious. Really, thank you!

  • 5
    grimoaldo says:

    Maybe she got into the role more because it was a stage production rather than a concert? I would be interested to hear what you think of this recording.

    • 5.1
      armerjacquino says:

      I think I’ll Spotify it, in the light of your review! Certainly not worth the risk of buying…

      I know Persson’s Fiordiligi at the Met wasn’t a huge hit. Maybe it was the combination of a smaller house and the production by Hytner (in a class of his own when it comes to directing actors) that made her Glyndebourne performance so special.

      • 5.1.1
        MontyNostry says:

        … and surely it helps to be able to see her as well as hear her. She is very pretty, which makes a difference in the theatre, I would have thought.

      • 5.1.2
        laddie says:

        That Glyndebourne production was sublime! Easily one of the best Cosi’s ever at least on DVD.

  • 6
    operaassport says:

    The recording is of less interest to me than the truly superbly well-written review! I think reviews posted on Parterre are, by far, the most comprehensive and well-written you will find anywhere today.

    • 6.1
      grimoaldo says:

      Hey, that’s really nice! Thank you!

      • 6.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        Yes, +1. Sorry I was so busy nitpicking about Allens and Van Allans to say so.

      • 6.1.2
        operaassport says:

        You’re very welcome. It’s so nice to read such comprehensive writing. But I will stick with the Bohm and my 35 other Cosis!

    • 6.2
      Donna Anna says:

      Agree. Excellent review, Grim. Sorry to hear Rolando is below the mark…again. One hopes for a better outcome with Lensky later this autumn.

      • 6.2.1
        damekenneth says:

        Villazon is scheduled for Don Ottavio in Vienna in January. I guess all this Mozart is his idea of vocal repair?

      • 6.2.2
        Cocky Kurwenal says:

        Isn’t persisting in doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome one of the signs of madness?

  • 7
    Gualtier M says:

    Just a note that this is a superb review. I think Nézet-Séguin is worth the hype. However, I really hate the second Bohm recording. Schwarzkopf is very artificial, Ludwig joyless, Kraus and Taddei never did these roles on stage to my knowledge (Taddei is more Don Alfonso to my thinking) and are vocally good but dramatically detached. Lisa Otto is a Viennese operetta soubrette and Berry is good but also not really on fire. Bohm kind of lays a heavy hand on it. I just really think that recording is way overrated.

    “Cosi” is a very difficult opera to nail -- very elusive in a lot of ways. I can see how one can become obsessed with it.

    • 7.1
      armerjacquino says:

      Pedant’s corner: the Despina is Hanny Steffek, not Lisa Otto.

      • 7.1.1
        Porgy Amor says:

        Right. Otto is on the other EMI classic with Schwarzkopf, the Karajan, which I prefer. When Simoneau comes around again to the “A” section of “Un’ aura amorosa” with such delicacy and tenderness, and Karajan’s conducting is right there with him — you know exactly what is coming, but somehow they still create the effect of stealing in, throwing the lightest of veils over you. It’s just magical to me, and there’s a lot of that on that recording. I know that its non-fans find it too subdued and understated.

        • 7.1.1.1
          Feldmarschallin says:

          Well Porgy the Karajan is my favorite studio recording as well. The cast has never been bettered IMO. Do you know the Cantelli from the ´Piccolo Scala it is also near perfect. What a talent and what a shame he died so early.

        • 7.1.1.2
          Often admonished says:

          Agree. That’s one of Karajan’s finest opera records; admirable cast and a Philharmonia in peak condition. Nevr mind the Vicar or Betsy or whoever, hearing Dennis Brain play the horn obbligato to Per pietá tells you a lot about Fiordiligi.

          The DVD that ought to be issued -- or released as audio-only -- is Abbado’s phenomenal Ferrara performance with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. The cast is good enough by modern standards (Diener/Antonacci/Mazzucato/Workman/Ulivieri/Concetti) but it’s Abbado’s way with the score and the text that scores big. It’s Cosí written by Da Ponte and then composed by Mozart.

          One example. Guglielmo’s tirades in Act II are sung with a sarcasm spilling over into violence that places the libretto on a par with the sublime music. A difficult balance, yes. But they bring it off.

          A radio rip used to be available on opershare, if you can break into that site.

      • 7.1.2
        messa di voce says:

        Steffak, Otto, Loose, Koth, Lipp, et. al.: how in the world is one supposed to keep all those Viennese soubrettes straight in one’s mind?

        • 7.1.2.1
          Buster says:

          The one that is consistently great is Lisa Otto, who is still alive, by the way, as is the great Wilma Lipp, who made a few bad recordings, unfortunately (Mozart Requiem, anyone?). Otto did not sing at the Vienna State Opera, but had a brilliant career in Berlin. Odd, because she does sound wonderfully Viennese on one of her greatest recordings: Heuberger’s Opernball. As you say, Vienna probably had more than enough soubrettes. Too bad, because Otto had a drive, and more fun in the voice than all the others put together.

  • 8
    doktorlehar says:

    Avoid the Leinsdorf???? That’s my favorite recording of the opera! It is a vastly underrated set and I’ll go to bat for it anytime.

    Other than Caballé’s gloriously vocalized Fiordiligi, I find most of the singing on the Davis set rather dreary. The men especially, but even Baker and Cotrubas are caught in something less than ideal conditions. Baker sounds heavy and mature, and Cotrbuas (while characterizing brilliantly) sings with a very wide, queasy vibrato.

    And am I the only person who doesn’t find the Jacobs a revelation? Really, the only one in the universe? Lots of great orchestral color and effects, but the singing leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion.

    • 8.1
      Porgy Amor says:

      I like it quite a lot, but several years ago I sat down with a bunch of Cosí recordings and compared them — many of the ones already brought up here — and the Jacobs did not do as well there as I had expected. I did not take notes for posterity, but I remember thinking that I liked his colors and textures but found his phrasing mechanical. I felt more that I was getting an interesting lesson in a way to perform Cosí than (as with some of the others) being drawn into this opera’s world by the singers and conductor.

      However, when I sit down with a lot of recordings of the same piece and obsessively pore over them, I often arrive at weird opinions. I once came out of a Butterfly survey convinced that Mirella Freni (her first time around) was every bit as suggestive and revealing in her vocal acting of that part as Callas and Scotto, who are more renowned for that. It surprised me. Freni was “supposed” to be the one who sang beautifully but just gave a straightforward, “sincere” portrayal that was not all that nuanced. It simply was not what I heard.

    • 8.2
      Cocky Kurwenal says:

      I’m afraid I find the Leinsdorf a crushing disappointment too -- nobody is really as good as you want them to be, the conducting is dreary, and there are some unfortunate, misguided attempts at characterisation.

      I’ve never really seen the appeal of the Davis though either, and that includes Caballe’s contribution.

      I think I might have to track down AJ’s suggestion with Vaness. I just have the Muti (with Marshall) which I like a lot, and the Solti (with Fleming) which is all way too fast and sort of slips by entirely without incident, although it’s not bad.

      The one I am really curious to hear is Klemperer’s with M Price. Everybody tells me it’s far too slow, but then isn’t that the case with all Klemperer to begin with? Certainly the first time I heard his Zauberflote I didn’t enjoy it at all and didn’t think I could live with it, but then I quickly got used to it and started to love it. I’m hoping the same would be true of his Cosi for me, except I’ve never come across it.

      • 8.2.1
        armerjacquino says:

        I love Klemperer’s FLUTE and even his eccentric FIGARO (largely for its cast) but his monolithic approach really does strangle COSI, despite the best efforts of Price and Popp.

        • 8.2.1.1
          doktorlehar says:

          Back to the Davis for a second. One surprise on that recording was how beautifully Caballé’s and Baker’s voices matched each other. I wouldn’t have thought of them as a good vocal pairing, but in fact they really are.

        • 8.2.1.2
          MontyNostry says:

          I just love Dame Mags’s slightly manically gleaming Come scoglio mit dem alten Otto, but I can’t confess to have listened to much else on that recording. I think Vaness is in a similar, somewhat heroic vein when it comes to Fiordiligi.

          • Buster says:

            Also, Lucia Popp is fabulous on it, as is Yvonne Minton. It is the only Cosi I have ever owned, and the slowness never bother me at all, because it does not drag:

        • 8.2.1.3
          MontyNostry says:

          … and Geraint Evans’ Britalian pronunciation is a bit of a negative.

    • 8.3
      danpatter says:

      Doktorlehar, I agree with you about the Leinsdorf set, and really like Price’s singing throughout. It’s maligned as an American COSI, since its cast is all American, but I enjoy it very much. I also love Karajan’s first version, Boehm’s three versions and Caballe’s singing in the Davis set. I gave the Jacobs performance a listen, but didn’t cotton to it much.

  • 9
    doktorlehar says:

    I’m just in the minority here, but I find the Leinsdorf a delight from beginning to end, with Shirley and Price particular standouts. Price’s ‘Per pietà’ is one of the most gorgeous things she ever recorded, the entire aria sung in a pastel-toned mezza voce that would have made Monet or Renoir envious.

    Porgy, you say something quite interesting in your post that I think affects many perceptions about classic opera recordings, namely that sometimes their reputations don’t square away with what one actually hears on the sets. I find that happens constantly, and it then becomes very hard to un-hear received opinion.

    The Klemperer is very, very, very slow. Probably the slowest of his Mozart complete sets, certainly more extreme in its slowness than the ‘Zauberflöte.’ It’s just too plodding for me to consider it seriously as a go-to Cosi, even if the cast is very fine.

    • 9.1
      messa di voce says:

      Another vote for the Leinsdorf, probably the one I listen to the most. Just for the orchestra and conducting, the Jochum is unbeatable, though Seefried’s vivid Fiodiligi had seen better days by the time of the recording.

      • 9.1.1
        armerjacquino says:

        That’s kind to Seefried, I think. I avoided her recordings for years because the first I heard of her was that near-disastrous Fiordil

        • 9.1.1.1
          armerjacquino says:

          igi! Stupid phone.

          Now I’ve heard Seefried at her best, I understand what all the fuss was about, of course.

          • Feldmarschallin says:

            I don’t have the recording and have avoided it since it is certainly past her prime but the one to get is the live Salzburg from 1954.

            • Bill says:

              The 1956 Cosi (not on a label but
              available privately) from Salzburg 1956
              is sublime (Boehm -- Seefried, Christa
              Ludwig, Otto, Dermota, Kunz, Schoeffler)
              with Seefried in even better voice than
              1954 (which had Dagmar Hermann as Dorabella
              rather than the more glorious Ludwig).
              1957 had Rita Streich instead of Lisa Otto --
              also very fine. 1959 (seefried still in good voice) has Ludwig but the old Classic
              Viennese cast was largely replaced wih Gedda, Panerai, Sciutti, Doench. Schwarzkopf sang Fiordiligi in 1958 (with Alva, two rather unknown Don Alfonsos) and from 1960-1964. 1953 was the same as 1954.
              1947 was also the same but Jurinac as
              Dorabella, Gueden as Despina and Krips
              (not Boehm) conducting but I have never
              heard a tape of that performance and do not know if it was in German or Italian (probably German).

              I love the Jochum recording -- Seefried is
              quite pressed in the highest notes but the
              tone was rich in the middle and she was
              always a fine ensemble singer with great charm- her last
              Fiordiligi ever in Vienna was in 1963 --
              and she did sing any Mozart operas after
              1963 except for 6 Figaro Countesses from
              1963-1966 in Vienna. In the Jochum
              I like Erika Koeth a little less than many other Despinas at the time But from 1943-1964 or so it was a time of many
              marvelous Cosis and we must not forget
              the charming very effective Alfred Lunt production at the Met (auf Englisch) from 1951 whereupon Rudolf Bing reintroduced Cosi to Met audiences after a long lapse.
              It was a big hit and lasted with much the
              same cast for a decade or so. There was
              a recording from the Met at that time but I do not have it and it was perhaps not issued on CD. Others would know. Steber
              sang Fiordiligi with considerable technical aplomb if not the gorgeoous sound emitted by Seefried, Schswarzkopf, Jurinac, della Casa in Cosi during that era. I believe that Stich-Randall sang one series of Cosis at the Met
              also but I was probably away at college
              as I did not hear it. Even Welitsch
              sang Fiordiligi early in her career (in Graz) and that should have been something!

  • 10
    operaassport says:

    I find the Jacobs Mozart operas highly overrated. Someone asked me what I liked about them and all I could come up with was “very nice packaging.”

    I find the tempi very strange, sometimes twisted in one way or the other. The singing is often 2nd or 3rd rate. The recordings just leave me cold, no warmth.

    • 10.1
      armerjacquino says:

      I don’t think they can be summarised as a whole, tbh. To me the COSI and CLEMENZA are wonderful, the FIGARO great in places, the DG poor, the IDOMENEO only ok…

      • 10.1.1
        operaassport says:

        To me, there isn’t a single recording among the lot that would displace the many other recordings so that’s the standard for me. Yes, there are occasional things to enjoy in each of the recordings but overall they are just non-starters. It would be like going to Mt. Rushmore and talking about how much one enjoyed the gift shop.

    • 10.2
      Porgy Amor says:

      Someone asked me what I liked about them and all I could come up with was “very nice packaging.”

      You should have said it in a Dianne Wiest Bullets Over Broadway voice, and added, “And the translation in the libretto — the clearest I’ve ever seen!”

    • 10.3
      doktorlehar says:

      I agree. I find him an extremely odd Mozart conductor, bordering on willful.

  • 11
    peter says:

    Two Cosi recordings I’m curious about:

    The Busch live recording from 1951 with Sena Jurinac.

    The Gardiner recording from 1992 (I love Gardiner’s other Mozart opera recordings but the cast here doesn’t sound very tempting).

    • 11.1
      peter says:

      Oops! The reviews for the Busch Glyndebourne Cosi are positively awful. Too bad there is no commercial recording with Jurinac as Fiordiligi. Or is there?