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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant singing from the two women principals
When it was first performed, this opera was described as an opera buffa, but although there is much comedy (and the comedy element is given emphasis in this production), the opera has a dark and somewhat disturbing side. The plot, slight and amusing at first glance, deals with the sometimes anguished struggles that take place among constancy, sexual desire, and love...
Published on 1 Jan 2008 by Triestino

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2 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Experience
This Blu-Ray DVD is a very disappointing experience. Sound synchronisatioon with the image is poor.
Published on 9 Oct 2009 by P. S. Casey


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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant singing from the two women principals, 1 Jan 2008
When it was first performed, this opera was described as an opera buffa, but although there is much comedy (and the comedy element is given emphasis in this production), the opera has a dark and somewhat disturbing side. The plot, slight and amusing at first glance, deals with the sometimes anguished struggles that take place among constancy, sexual desire, and love between the sexes. The Victorians thought Così fan Tutte outrageous and vulgar, but times change and nowadays Così is generally considered to be one of the most satisfying and thought-provoking of the Mozart operas. The music without doubt is astounding, and is representative of Mozart at the very height of his powers.

This beautifully presented production (the singers appear in period clothes, for once, and perform against plain and well lit, pastel-coloured sets) is very successful indeed. The stars are the gifted young Swedish soprano Miah Persson (as Fiordiligi) and the German mezzo-soprano Anke Vondung (as Dorabella). Their singing is never less than excellent and is often quite ravishing. Miah Persson reminds me very much of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as she was in the mid-1950s (when I began to collect classical music records). Anke Vondung is almost equally impressive, and some of the duets sung by the two young women are quite brilliantly done. Though the two women principals stand out (in part, it must be said, because they have the best of the music) the rest of the singing is very good indeed. The two young male singers (Topi Lehtipuu and Luca Pisaroni) who share the centre of the action with the two ladies are very accomplished, and sing impressively. Conducting and orchestral playing are of a high standard throughout.

This is essentially an opera for six voices, and the only disappointment, in my opinion, is the relative weakness of the third pair of singers - Ainhoa Garmendia (as the scheming maid Despina) and Nicolas Rivenq (as the manipulative Don Alfonso). The former somehow gives the impression of not being thoroughly at home in her role, and the latter, who seems a little under-powered and takes quite a while to get going, has been poorly characterized by the director, who presents him as a rather good and even jolly sort of fellow instead of the unattractive and world-weary cynic that the libretto leads us to expect. But these are relatively small quibbles. The weaknesses of this production are far outweighed by the strong points, and this version of the opera can be confidently recommended.
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer perfection, 4 April 2007
By 
Stephen Evans (Shropshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have many versions of Cosi, including the Ponnelle, which I thought unsurpassable - until I encountered this from last year's Glyndebourne. I first saw it last Christmas on the box, and itched to get a DVD. Now I have a copy, I am reminded forcefully how well the cast (unknown to me) drew every ounce of wit and humour from a piece that can easily go sour. There are many ingredients that go to make this such a success. Not only the singing, which is fresh as paint, but the acting, which I think is some of the best I have seen in a Mozart comedy. All cast members contribute to an ensemble performance. Clearly Nicholas Hytner deserves mention and Fischer, whose brisk, dramatic and characterful overture immediately has me in its grasp. I cannot reccommend this performance enough. If you can only have one recording, this should be the one. If you alrady have several, this should be added as soon as possible.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Cosi Fan Tutte yet! - excellent, 5 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte [Blu-ray] [2009] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
I have seen and bought many versions of this opera - always searching for the definitive one. AND THIS IS IT! At Last! The reasons? Here you are:
A very attractive and sexy young cast who can ACT as well as sing superbly.
They are completely immersed in their roles, and all have great comic timing, as well as singing with great passion when called for.
The production and direction are perfect, making the plot move along at a pace. Never are you tempted to fast-forward to the next aria. (So often my criticism of other productions has been the interminable recitatives [the semi-spoken lines between the arias] which just seemed to interrupt the 'good tunes', but not here as wit and character give them all a point and make it all a great pleasure.)
And finally, the blu-ray production is especially beautiful to look at. Why wouldn't you want it?

For anyone who doesn't know the opera, I'd say 'Go for it'. It may not be quite as well known as the other Mozart/Da Ponte operas (Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni), but for my money it has the loveliest arias of the lot, as a little familiarity will surely confirm. This is Mozart at his very best - and this production is an enduring pleasure from start to end.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellow Reviewers - THANKS A TON, 5 Sep 2010
By 
Satish Kamath (India) - See all my reviews
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I have been familiar with Cosi ever since I can remember. From an aria or two on my dad's 78RPM records to the beautiful Otto Klemperer recording on vinyl and later on to many VHS tapes and then the Gardiner version, although good, started appearing a little jaded thanks to average acting and dramatization.
So when I felt I should have a fresh new DVD (sans Eurotrash), I thought I would look up the views of the reviewing proletariat - and thought I would risk buying this one.
THANKS GUYS.... Whatever you have stated in all the previous 10 reviews to this is almost absolutely correct. This is the nearest thing that is akin to an un-putdownable book that I have seen. So fresh, vibrant in acting and absolutely precise sublime singing and interpretation. I think I will measure any other Cosi by the standard of this one.
Not just period costumes, but sets that are minimal, but bright and not jungle-jims or abstract pillars and stuff that do not distract, but bring out the essence of the interpretation. I am also overjoyed that it has been performed by artistes thus far not known to me... maybe they are doing well these days, must look that up now.
Just that I do not agree with one reviewer here who stated that the third set of Despina and the Don are not up to the mark.. Yes. Despina here is no Lucia Popp but is quite adequate for the role, and if Don had been more powerful, may have killed the character. I think he is just right for the role too...
I would unhesitatingly recommend this DVD to anyone irrespective of whether it is the first ever DVD of Cosi or even if one has all the other recordings of it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastico!!, 31 Aug 2009
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Cosi Fan Tutte was not previously my favourite Mozart opera. It is now.
I caught this production on Sky Arts recent Glyndebourne season, watched it on the Saturday...and the repeats on Monday...and wednesday....and thursday.....then purchased it from Amazon. Regretfully, its one of my Christmas presents so I can't see it again for a while....but the anticipation is delicious!!!
Nicholas Hytner directs a youthful cast...this is what really works for me as you actually identify with the lovers and their quandries about their affections. The male leads:Topi Lehtipuu and Luca Pisaroni are FABULOUS both play comedy well and bring out the humour in the libretto. The female leads:Miah Persson (with a gorgeously dirty laugh) and Anke Vondung with just the right amount of coquettishness are worthy partners. The ambiguousness of the ending:have we really given our hearts to the right men? brings a note of poignancy to the proceedings. The seduction scene where the men,disguised as 'foreigners' swear their undying love for the women, is a triumph! Never has a chest been bared with such seductiveness as by Luca Pisaroni!!
If I had to gripe a bit it would be with Nicolas Rivenq as the man who puts the two lovers up to testing their women. He sings beautifully but just lacked the commanding preasence I feel is needed to make the lovers in his thrall.Its a small gripe and does not detract in any way from the production.
The DVD contains a short documentary with interviews with the cast which should be interesting also.
So, now I have a new favourite Mozart opera,thanks to Glyndebourne. Fantastico...
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious performance, sublime music!, 17 Jun 2011
By 
Nigel Mc (The Chilterns) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte [Blu-ray] [2009] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
Cosi fan Tutti is probably my favourite opera and this may explain why I currently have 3 versions on Blu-ray, having previously surrendered an older performance on dvd. Each time I listen to this opera my preference is reinforced as each wonderful melody follows one after another. Surely, this must be Mozart's most sublime operatic achievement?

The Opera is just overflowing with wonderful tunes. When I watched it again last night I felt compelled to write this review and to sing the praises of this superb Glyndebourne production which, in my opinion, is the very best performance that I have ever seen.

This is a traditional production but under Nicholas Hytner's direction the plot seems to be more credible than I remember with other versions, while at the same time retaining the comic elements. In part this is also due to very competent acting from all the singers. But it is the singing which will ultimately be the deciding factor and this production has it in spades. As soon as I heard the opening notes of `Ah, guarda, sovella' I knew that this was going to be something special. And as opera lovers will know, this glorious music continues until the final note!

Technically, this disc is up there with the best with a beautifully sharp picture and with fine detail on the close-ups. I have read other reviews which have been critical of the poor lighting, de-saturated colour palette and the bland assortment of pastel ambience. For my money I thought that the picture quality was very pleasing and entirely appropriate for the production. The sound is excellent with a choice of Dolby True HD 5.0 and a 2.0 option, my preference being the former. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment played superbly under Ivan Fischer's direction with good balance between orchestra and singers. The menu system works well and, unlike a recent Blu-ray that I reviewed, the chapters moved along with the performance. This should happen with every disc but it cannot be taken for granted! There are several interesting extras about the artists and the production and these are all recorded in high definition.

Finally, I note that one reviewer had a problem with lip sych. I am pleased to report that there was no problem on my equipment and I suspect that it will not trouble most people. In fact I have never had a single blu-ray with synchronisation problems. However, such problems are quite common on ordinary dvd's. I guess that with low definition video there is a false assumption that viewers will not notice poor lip synchronisation because of the lower quality picture?

If you only want one version of Cosi then this is the version to buy. If you don't know the music, why not give it a try? It could soon become your favourite opera!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another brilliant Mozart opera production, 8 May 2010
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This review is from: Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte [Blu-ray] [2009] [2010] [Region Free] [NTSC] (Blu-ray)
Another outstanding Blu Ray Mozart opera production. Thankfully traditional costuming and sets, but acted and sung with skill and relish to the delight of the audience and this viewer. The three leading ladies are particularly good and their comic acting is very amusing. One wonders just what the young Mozart observed about the behaviour of the aristocracy in his travels because his operas reflect obvious disrespect for them, something which caused considerable uproar when they were first produced. In this opera he credits the maid, Despina, deliciously sung and acted by Ainhoa Garmendia, with more intelligence and astuteness to see through the disguises of the men, than the ladies who are supposed to love them!!

As with most operas the storyline is thin and unbelievable but the artists in this Glynedebourne effort imbue the production with such delightful singing and acting one soon forgets the total improbability of what is happening and become completely immersed in it. This is the BD Mozart opera I have enjoyed the most out of a generally good lot.

The audio and video are up to the usual high Blu Ray standards. We are fortunate to have been given so many top notch Mozart operas in this format. Unreservedly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb production even better in Blu-ray, 21 Nov 2011
By 
I. Giles (Argyll, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This is a very fine version of this opera. The casting is excellent combining four believably young and attractive principal singers who are all capable of good acting as well as singing. The rest of the cast is equally good. The staging and costuming is also believable - no sign of Eurotrash here!

This is not the only version of this opera that I own/have owned. Another equally fine but different version worth exploring is the version conducted by Welser-Most, also in excellent Blu-ray. An older performance of good musical pedigree is that conducted by Gardiner but the technical standard of the recording now shows its age and has neither the visual or sonic clarity of modern Blu-rays.

The recording of this Glyndebourne production is very fine combining excellent sonics with sympathetic and involving camera work. I have not been able to detect any lack of synchronisation as mentioned by one other reviewer and I would normally find this an impossible problem if it were present. I therefore think it can safely be ignored.

This is a very highly recommendable version - but so too is the one by Welser-Most. They could be seen to be complementary. The answer to this dilemma - buy both!

Further comment - I have found this DVD disc to be so sufficiently rewarding in terms of both musical values and recording values, sound and vision combined, that I have since sold it and replaced it with the Blu-ray version. Significantly, I have not regretted this additional investment as the Blu-ray version brings all the advantages of the expected additional recorded clarity at all levels and would be my primary recommendation.

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Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:

I thought that you might like to know that before I buy a recording I now look through all the reviews to see if you have posted one. Your assessments and opinions are invaluable. Thank you. (US review)

I particularly like your format of review. They give the prospective purchaser an idea of the style of the playing and relevant comparisons. They are succinct. Keep up the good work! (UK review)

I'm sure there are many other serious collectors, besides myself, who wait for your synopsis and opinion before spending their hard-earned money on new releases...
Thank you (UK review)

I'd also add to this. When you in particular review a particular CD, I pay pretty close attention. I would say the characteristics of your reviews I value the most are the detail and general sense of balance and fairness that comes across. That's a great help. Thanks for taking the time on your reviews. (US review)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 15 Sep 2011
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Just about perfection in every part of the performance. if you do not already own it, get it. If you cannot afford it then sell a child to raise the money and then buy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 16 May 2011
By 
H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Twelve reviews and not one of them less than five stars: such acclaim bears witness to how outstanding this production is. As a Mozart fan and this being my favorite Mozart opera, I'm over-joyed to have such a brilliant rendering of it to hand. Since I'm not a music expert, I'll not go on about about it. I just wanted to add my five stars to all the others. It deserves nothing less - ever.
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