It does take a while to get used to the English singing, but it also really helps to get the jokes across. I was splitting my sides when I first listened to it, there are some real gems in this translation (A prime example being in the middle of Susanna and Marcellina's duet as they exchange insults: 'Your quality/ Your quantity').
The conducting is wonderful, always taken at a brilliant pace by that great Mozartian David Parry. The cast are spot on, the only real exception being Yvonne Kenny's Countess (a good voice, just a bit too much vibrato here). I especially love Christopher Purves' Figaro, William Dazeley's Count, Jonathan Veira's Bartolo, John Graham Hall's Basilio and Sarah Tynan's Barbarina. Purves is perfect in his role; so characterful that you warm to him as soon as he opens his mouth. Dazeley is perfectly aristocratic and strikes the right balance between hero and villain. Veira is, as always, a joy to listen to, bringing the character of Bartolo to life as the pompous old man he is. John Graham-Hall is one of my favourite singers; he's so good at acting through his singing you can see the character clearly in your mind. And Tynan is going to be a huge star; I can see it. A voice as clear as a bell, and a good actress to boot, it's no suprise she's been picked by ENO to sing Susanna in their version of this opera in a few months.
This CD is more like a performance than a disc. You can see everything that's going on clearly in your mind. It's fabulous. It's important to me that singers can act as well as sing, and these people can do both, and it shows through this recording.