Featured are Joan Sutherland in Der Schauspieldirector; Julia Varady and Yvonne Minton being led astray in Cosí fan tutte; La Finta Gardiniera with Roberta Alexander, Anne-Sofie von Otter, John Aler and Anthony Rolfe Johnson; Beverly Sills and John Alexander finding each other again in an English-language Die Entführung aus dem Serail; and finally (you asked for it!) Renata Scotto as Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito.

The Met will soon be premiering new productions of Don Giovanni  and Die Zauberflöte, both conducted by debuting Nathalie Stutzmann.

As there are shamefully no full-length Mozart operas scheduled next season, one must gorge oneself with this enticing pair this spring.

A noted Donna Anna and an unsuccessful one-shot Queen of the Night, Sutherland performed the Countess and the First Lady at Glyndebourne in addition to Mme. Herz heard today. Late in her career, she would take on Elettra in Sydney.

One can still hear most of her sole Vitellia (in English).

The Varady Cosí was a part of the legendary Mozart cycle done in Cologne by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, initially conducted by Istvan Kertesz and then after his death by John Pritchard. Lucia Popp and Claudio Nicolai, her Despina and Guglielmo, were also prominently featured in several of those productions.

Aler who died in December at 73 was a frequent visitor to Cincinnati where I heard him perform the Mozart Requiem and many other standard choral works at the May Festival as well as Faust in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with the Symphony. I managed to catch Alexander as Donna Elvira at the Met where I also saw von Otter and Rolfe Johnson together in both Idomeneo and La Clemenza di Tito.

During New York City Opera’s Fall 1966 season from September 27 through November 13, Sills sang four Cleopatras, four Queens of the Night, two Donna Annas, and two performances of the Hoffmann heroines, in addition to a pair of Konstanzes! Today’s recording comes from the second Abduction. Fourteen years later, Alexander brought his Belmonte to the Met this time in German for Christiane Eda-Pierre’s company debut as Konstanze.

After Scotto appeared in the Met premiere run of Clemenza, she bowed out of the broadcast which went to Elizabeth Connell. When I came to New York to catch Clemenza five weeks after the premiere heard today, the cast was entirely different: Carol Vaness, Tatiana Troyanos (who had canceled the premiere, replaced by Ann Murray), Murray (back in her original role of Annio), Hei-Kyung Hong (a week after her Met debut), Alexander and Julian Robbins.

Mozart: Der Schauspieldirector

Madame Herz: Joan Sutherland
Mademoiselle Silberklang: Naida Labay
Vogelsang: Alexander Young
Buff: Gwyn Griffiths
Der Schauspieldirektor: Peter Lagger

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor: Bryan Balkwill

Glyndebourne Festival
July 1957

Mozart: Cosí fan tutte

Fiordiligi: Julia Varady
Dorabella: Yvonne Minton
Despina: Lucia Popp
Ferrando: Pietro Bottazzo
Guglielmo: Claudio Nicolai
Don Alfonso: Carlos Feller

Conductor: Istvan Kertesz

Cologne Opera

18 June 1972

In-house recording

Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (in English)

Konstanze: Beverly Sills
Blonde: Anne Elgar
Belmonte: John Alexander
Pedrillo: John Lankston
Osmin:  Herbert Beattie
Selim: David Rae Smith

Conductor: Julius Rudel

New York City Opera
22 October 1966
In-house recording

Mozart: La Finta Giardiniera

Violanta: Roberta Alexander
Arminda: Christine Weidinger
Serpetta: Joan Rodgers
Don Ramiro: Anne-Sofie von Otter
Belfiore: John Aler
Don Anchise: Anthony Rolfe-Johnson
Nardo: Gilles Cachemaile

Nouvel Orchestre Philarmonique
Conductor: Semyon Bychkov

Aix-en-Provence Festival
30 July 1984

Mozart: La Clemenza di Tito

Vitellia: Renata Scotto
Sesto: Ann Murray
Servilia: Gail Robinson
Annio: Ariel Bybee
Tito: Kenneth Riegel
Publio: John Cheek

Conductor: James Levine

Metropolitan Opera
18 October 1984
In-house recording

Each Mozart opera can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.