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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest of all recordings of the greatest of operas
This is now quite an old-fashioned performance, given the number of period instrument recordings in existence. However, no-one has ever assembled a cast to compare with what Walter Legge assembled here, above all in the glorious Countess of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. When she forgives the Count for his suspicions at the end of the fourth act, it is perhaps the most...
Published on 9 Nov 1999 by frank.minns@pop.virgin.net

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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unaccountable omission
One reviewer did not really mind the omission of Marcellina's aria (No.25)"Il capro e la capretta" in Act 4, but as for me it constitutes four of the most charming minutes in the whole opera, I find that omission unaccountable, and had I known about it, I would never have bought this!
Published on 10 Oct 2007 by RogerDWMccutcheon


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44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest of all recordings of the greatest of operas, 9 Nov 1999
This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
This is now quite an old-fashioned performance, given the number of period instrument recordings in existence. However, no-one has ever assembled a cast to compare with what Walter Legge assembled here, above all in the glorious Countess of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. When she forgives the Count for his suspicions at the end of the fourth act, it is perhaps the most beautiful phrase I have ever heard sung- even if the clarity of the diction suffers for the pureness of the sound. Of course, the recording through which you come to know and love a particular work will always have a special place in your affections, but this remains undisplaced. it has everything - an astounding cast, a wonderful orchestra playing at the height of its powers, and a conductor who never did anything better. This is the recording which proves that the greatest of all operas does not deal with heroes or gods, but is instead the most humane and domestic of comedies.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great recording of a great masterpiece, 4 April 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
Le Nozze di Figaro is perhaps Mozart's most enjoyable opera - with some genuinely wonderful music and a delightfully silly and confusing plot, and I feel that this is its most enjoyable recording. For a start, I don't think the four main characters have ever been so well cast - Taddei is a loveable Figaro, Moffo an excellent Susanna, Wachter a wonderfully lecherous Count, and Schwarzkopf an utterly perfect Countess - to this day without equal in my opinion. Giulini of course conducts the superb Philharmonia with great energy and effectiveness. Marcellina is fine, but unfortunately Bartolo (who splutters his way most uncomfortably through the patter passages in La Vendetta) and Basilio are slight weak links, as indeed are the surprisingly characterless two ladies. Hence we don't really mind the emission of the Marcellina and Bartolo arias in Act 4, keeping the music on 2 CD's, and at a most reasonable price (compared for example to the overall inferior Solti offering on Decca).
I find it hard to believe that this set is approaching 50 years old - the sound quality (with the exception of some faint ticking in the "Cinque..Dieci..." which is a shame) is extremely clear, and stereo is used most effectively. This combined with the very comprehensive libretto makes this delightful set remarkable value for money.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No playing for laughs here., 29 Dec 2002
By 
John Austin "austinjr@bigpond.net.au" (Kangaroo Ground, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
If this opera features in everyone's top ten favourites, then the respective merits of some likely candidates for purchase should be discussed and shared on the internet.
I have never felt that this forty-year-old set shows its age in any way. It boasts the best recording producer (Walter Legge) and the best recording venue (Kingsway Hall, London) of their day. Conductor Giulini is scrupulously loyal to the score. Listen carefully, and you'll hear that distinctions between mezzo forte and forte are observed. There is, moreover, no playing for laughs here. Mozart's music and Da Ponte's libretto are allowed to speak for themselves. Access to the libretto is made even easier by the inclusion of a nice fat booklet with this 2 CD set, providing the original text with an English translation, and a synopsis in English, German and French. Access to the music is enhanced by excellent recording sound quality. The potential of stereophonic recording is successfully exploited also, helping us to hear, as it were, characters moving around on a stage - being locked in wardrobes, jumping out of windows, etc.
Enshrined in this recording are at least two immortal performances. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's countess is vocally and histrionically ideal. Giuseppe Taddei's Figaro is the other stand out performance here - even if he opts for a higher alternative C at the end of his Act 1 aria, instead of the one Mozart wrote. Anna Moffo provides a lovely "Deh vieni non tardar" in the last act, singing with even legato without too much portamento. It seems unwise to nominate stand out performances here, however. Rarely has an opera recording been so well cast.
All of which, I hope, suggests that this is a "Figaro" that will provide unconditional and repeated enjoyment. It is also a bargain "Figaro". By omitting 2 of the 29 numbers Mozart provided for the original Vienna production - unimportant Act 4 arias for Bartolo and Marcellina - everything else fits perfectly onto just 2 CDs.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEFORE THE REVOLUTION, 14 July 2005
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
Giulini died a few weeks ago, aged in his 90's. My collection of his recordings already included what I think probably the three best things he ever did - his earlier Verdi Requiem, his Don Carlo, and his Don Giovanni starring (among others) Schwarzkopf and Waechter, who also grace this Figaro as the Countess and Count. This is not as good as those for one reason or another, but it's still an exceptionally fine Figaro in most ways, it comes on a budget label, and I have no difficulty in giving it a 5-star rating as a fine memento of a great musician.
Mozart's Figaro received its premiere three years before the French revolution. His librettist Da Ponte toned down Beaumarchais' theme to get his text past the censors, and the element in that text - the attack on droit de seigneur and ius primae noctis - that made the play so subversive in the ferment between the American and French revolutions, is touched on in a fairly cursory fashion. At one level, what's left could be regarded as a bit of a bedroom farce, with people hiding behind chairs and exiting via doors and windows, cross-dressing of sundry kinds, mistaken identities, long-lost parents identifying themselves just in time to allow a happy ending and the usual. It remains a very clever and skilful bit of work just as a libretto, before we even factor Mozart in. Apart from anything else, Mozart was a born dramatist as Shaw says, and the music to Figaro is one of even his ultimate efforts with the tale of human vulnerability and absurdity set to music that is superhumanly perfect as music is never perfect.
Giulini has the measure of this great work, but a certain amount of allowance has to be made for the age of the performance. I was startled to see that it dates back as far as 1959, but the overture rubbed this reminder in, on top of which I was wincing at the hairstyles of Fiorenza Cossotto and particularly of Anna Moffo while it was in performance. It is a miracle of a piece, but these days we would lighten the orchestral tone. To my ears it simply misses its effect with the heavy orchestral sound here: indeed I have heard it come across better from a gifted group of 7 or 8 amateur wind-players recently. Matters speedily right themselves with the entrance of the high-powered cast. Taddei as Figaro and Anna Moffo as Susanna are excellent. Schwarkopf and Waechter are not only stellar in their own right but practised collaborators, and in Dove sono, for me one of the two ultimately wonderful arias in the work, Schwarzkopf (who is cast absolutely perfectly as the Countess) is superlative. The other aria in this super-league for me is Voi che sapete, the counterpart of Il mio tesoro in Don Giovanni, and here I'm less than happy. As with Il mio tesoro Giulini achieves a miracle with the orchestral opening, but Cossotto sings with a plum in her mouth.
Coming back to Giulini, after the overture (which may be the fault of the recording) he covers himself with glory. There never seem to be many great Mozartians in any era and for me he was one of them, living on blessedly long enough to span a couple of eras. His sense of pace is beautiful, his Mozartian poise is never ruffled and even in this antique sound one can hear how he and the Philharmonia, then undoubtedly the world's leading orchestra, understood and responded to the transcendental score they were privileged to perform.
The recording is not bad at all, but for miracles look more to the music. It had a rather edgy impact on my ears near the start, though matters seemed to improve fairly soon, whatever I should attribute that to. The liner-note is brief but adequate, and a full libretto with translations and summaries is supplied. The production has done very well to get the work on to 2 discs with minor excisions in the later acts. The second act spills over on to the second disc, and if that bothers anyone they deserve to be bothered. A great Figaro, minor reservations notwithstanding.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Giulini Figaro, 18 Feb 2006
By 
D. Bennett - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
Because of the Mozart Anniversary, interest in his works has rocketed; you could do far worse than invest in this fine performance. The lively Susana of Moffo and the expert Figaro of veteran Giuseppe Taddei make a great couple that can compete with any on the competing versions. The extremely strong supporting cast of Cossotto as Cherubino, Waechter as the Count and the finest countess on records - Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, has not been matched. This is my favourite of Schwarzkopf's many opera recordings. Giulini provides flexible, warm support.
If you like Giulini's famous 1959 Don Giovanni (EMI) then you will love his Figaro.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic version, 10 Jan 2012
This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
This version of the Marriage of Figaro is not so easy to find, but well worth searching for...It has a freshness and sparkle that I haven't heard matched on other recordings and the sound quality is great.Well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the best with the best, 9 Aug 2011
By 
Per Arne Rudberg "P-A Rudberg" (Vallentuna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
This is one of the recording I always return to. Everything in this recording is excellent. Maestro Giulini must have loved this opera a lot. He puts so much feeling and spirit in it. The orchestra is superb, they are playing as if they were a small chamber ensemble. The singers are perfect in every role. Just listen to the basso Vinco, he is the best Bartolo ever. And Moffo is just the Susanna that I think that Mozart would have wanted for the part.
Taddei and Schwartzkopf - some of the best singing they have ever done.
Le Nozze is very much an ensemble opera - and these vocal superstars make music together. Chamber music!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars £46.00 for a 55-year old 2-disc set ??, 14 Feb 2014
This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
£46.00 for a 55-year old 2-disc set ?? Ah well, I suppose with the mad fluctuations of prices on Amazon, it might be £6.00 tomorrow! (Nothing against the recording/performance, it's absolutely marvellous.)
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An unaccountable omission, 10 Oct 2007
This review is from: Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro (Audio CD)
One reviewer did not really mind the omission of Marcellina's aria (No.25)"Il capro e la capretta" in Act 4, but as for me it constitutes four of the most charming minutes in the whole opera, I find that omission unaccountable, and had I known about it, I would never have bought this!
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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro
Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Audio CD - 1999)
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