As the Met prepares to send its new production of Mozart’s most ambiguous and fascinating opera off to Coney Island, “Trove Thursday” offers a preview of Così fan tutte with Pilar Lorengar, Josephine Veasey, Lucia Popp, Luigi Alva, Wladimiro Ganzarolli and Kieth Engen with Georg Solti conducting.
As La Cieca is my witness, this week’s podcast was scheduled months ago rather than in response to recent posts about Lorengar on the anniversary of her Met debut. However as “PCally” praised this particular performance I’m now doubly glad to be able to share it.
Besides liking Solti’s Mozart my prime reason for choosing this Così was Lorengar, a soprano who fascinates me partly because sometimes I love her and sometimes…I don’t. Her idiosyncratic vibrato occasionally drives me crazy and I just can’t listen to her; other times I find her irresistible. Unfortunately I just missed her at the Met—her final role there was Fiordiligi during the first season of the Colin Graham production but my second-ever Met performance was its 1982 premiere with Kiri Te Kanawa instead who was a great favorite of mine at the time.
Lorengar sang more than 150 performances with the Met including four national tours crammed into eleven years from 1966 to 1977—those final Cosìs were her first appearances at the house after an absence of five years. She did most of her best known roles at the Met including her celebrated Mozart heroines along with Mimi, Cio-Cio-San, Violetta, Elsa and Eva and Agathe in the house’s first Der Freischütz in decades.
Her association with the San Francisco was much longer, 25 years from her debut in 1964 as Micäela to her final Alice Fords there in 1989 when she was nearly 62. She also sang several roles there outside her Met repertoire: Mélisande, Elisabetta in Don Carlo and Manon Lescaut. The latter along with Tosca and Suor Angelica were notable Puccini roles that she often sang at her home theater, the Berlin Deutsche Oper, where she also appeared as Janacek’s Jenufa.
Although she recorded Fiordilgi (along with Pamina) with Solti, I prefer this live performance. Lorengar’s other notable Mozart studio effort would be Donna Elvira in the much-reviled Richard Bonynge version of Don Giovanni. I have a special fondness for a live Mitridate from Salzburg where her radiant Ismene is nearly obliterated by the high-power coloratura fireworks of Edda Moser and Arleen Augér.
DG released a live Idomeneo also from Salzburg ten years earlier featuring Lorengar’s Ilia; the CD is now unfortunately out of print. Others in today’s cast also can be found on commercial Così recordings—Popp and Alva on the controversial Otto Klemperer set and Ganzarolli on Colin Davis’s,
Another Spanish soprano makes her “Trove Thursday” debut next week.
Mozart: Così fan tutte
Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
6 July 1968
Fiordiligi: Pilar Lorengar
Dorabella: Josephine Veasey
Despina: Lucia Popp
Ferrando: Luigi Alva
Guglielmo: Wladimiro Ganzarolli
Don Alfonso: Kieth Engen
Conductor: Georg Solti
Così can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.
“Trove Thursday” podcasts since the series began in September 2015 remain available from iTunes for free including a splendid Solti Nozze di Figaro which is the very first listing on iTunes, or via any RSS reader.