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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Performance and Recording, 10 Jun. 2001
By 
M. Dubin - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Mozart, Vol.33 - La finta giardiniera (Audio CD)
La Finta Giardiniera is an unjustly neglected masterpiece of pure opera buffa.True the opera contains many long passages of secco recitative and there are times when things seem a bit over-plotted, but this not Mozart's fault. Anyway this recording is the first to present La Finta Giardiniera in its original Italian form.As for the music itself, there is not one of its 28 numbers which is without interest. The arias are quite varied and many of them look forward to Mozart's mature masterpieces. The orchestra takes on a more important role than in Mozart's other earlier operas. A fine example is Aria No.2 for the Podesta.All in all, a highly recommended opera recording!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seven Characters in Search of an Opera, 18 Sept. 2014
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This review is from: Mozart, Vol.33 - La finta giardiniera (Audio CD)
Buoyed by my re-acquaintanceship with La Betulia Liberata - what a sizzler - it was time to revisit another unloved child in the Köchel catalogue: La Finta Giardiniera. Overwhelmed I was not. In all honesty, I cannot think of another composition by Mozart that is simultaneously inventive AND uninspired (the Overture, opening ensemble and finales aside). Mozart had sharpened instincts as a dramatist from his early days; as such, he must have realized that the libretto was trash. It's one solipsistic aria after another with few ensembles and no chorus. Its storyline is more melodramatic than an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful. At any given point, one expects Ridge Forrest (the deified Ron Moss) to wander into scope with the revelation that he's had a penile transplant from his dead twin brother Storm, only to learn that that they're not related in the least and he's still in love with Brooke provided he can persuade Taylor to have an abortion and wrest control of the family trust from Thorne who faked his own death on a Texan oilrig but now he's returned with powers of attorney and it's only a matter of time before he yields to the impulse to don fishnet stockings and take to the red-light district as the new girl in town. Consider the Recitative & Aria "Ah non partir . . . m'ascolta", sung smoothly by Thomas Moser. Lacquered though it be with the usual finish - a miracle in itself - it's just vapourware. I defy anyone to remember it. The opera only comes to life in the finales of the various acts where its characters are afforded a chance to interact with one another.

I like the comment from the other reviewer that the cast here is "Gardiner-standard". One looks in vain for the stars of Hager's stable such as Cotrubas, Mathis or Auger. They ain't here. The cast is thoroughly B-grade (in a non-pejorative sense), the exception being Brigitte Fassbaender as Ramiro who makes a strong impression. Julia Conwell is lively enough as Sandrina, thereby anchoring proceedings. This production does not fail from lack of polish or endeavour on their part. The recording is excellent. Hager keeps things moving at a lively pace. Nevertheless, one has to ask: given the brevity of life, is it wise to sweat this out?

If you're going to venture into Mozart's earlier operas, tackle Mitridate, Lucio Silla, Il Re Pastore or indeed, La Betulia Liberata before you go anywhere near this strange, misshapen affair where Mozart is not quite himself and madness awaits anyone who attempts to understand this woofer of a libretto.
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Mozart, Vol.33 - La finta giardiniera
Mozart, Vol.33 - La finta giardiniera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Audio CD - 1999)
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