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Mozart: Cosi fan tutte Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

Price: £21.83 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jun. 2009)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • ASIN: B0026RCAGW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 242,088 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

MARRINER NEVILLE / ACADEMY OF

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Format: Audio CD
Am I really the first to review this amazing set that's been available for ages? Well, here goes, and in case anyone does read this, please forgive a certain autobiographical slant...

I was very lucky to have musical parents. I was brought up to the wonderful sounds of great music on the gramophone (yes, I'm no spring chicken) and was taken to see many wonderful concerts and operas in my formative years. The result was that my life has been dominated by such music. I have made a few limited forays into pop/rock - chiefly the more intelligent rock music of the likes of Pink Floyd - but my passion for the great composers is such that pop/rock has played a negligible part in my musical enjoyment. Some would say I've missed out - maybe, but I can live with that.

Beethoven, Wagner, Mahler, Strauss, Puccini, Bruckner, Shostakovich, and even the so-called second rate Korngold - these are composers without whom my life would be many times poorer. And add to that, of course, Mozart. Piano Concerto 23, Requiem or the Clarinet Quintet, for example, are three reasons why I still have faith in the human race despite the stupidities committed by so many of its members.

But Mozart opera - well, I must admit to a philistine streak that dogged me for many years. It's not that I didn't like it - more that in the past I've regarded Mozart opera as a sort of pleasurable duty. I've always enjoyed Cosi, Don Giovanni and the rest but come away thinking "well, I'm glad I've done that, but I need a fix of Wagner/Strauss" in the way that I'll crave a steak after a vegetarian meal, even if I've quite enjoyed it.

Well, this recorded performance blew me away. Much in the way that my first Walkure blew me away.
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Format: Audio CD
The standard of singing here is excellent. Refined, thoughtful and delicious.

I had not come across Szmytka before but she is an ideal Despina - her voice, vibrant and full. I've always like Araiza - an intelligent tenor with a velvety timbre. His set piece arias here are close to perfection. Allen is a terrific Guglielmo - handsome, proud and assured. Van Otter is, as ever, totally on the nail. Mattila takes on the fiercely difficult role of Fiordiligi with gusto (My one gripe is that she cracks the climactic A natural in "Soave sia il vento" - it's incomprehensible that they didn't retake it). Van Dam is everything you'd want in Don Alfonso - sly and in control of the farce. In short an ideal cast.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Neville and Constable led a wonderful group of soloists in a classic recording. 24 Oct. 2012
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is really one of the most underrated Cosi fan tutte recordings. May be it is because of the rather uptight prelude that is nowhere representative of the musical drama that follows!
Marriner sets a very stylish approach to this work, much more so than most of his contemporaries, and he has a terrific vocal cast to perform for him a complete version of Mozart's work. This version includes the No. 7 duet between Gugliemo and Ferrando, as well as the No. 24 Aria of Ferrando. If ever one has any quibble, it is probably the recording of Gugliemo's aria ''Donne mie'' which is beset with echoes almost to the degree of accoustic distortion.
Ladies first - I find the three roles very well casted and convincingly sung. Recorded somewhere in 1989, Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter has just finished her recording of Offenbach's Hoffmann with Araiza. Her singing here is very attractive, but not as outight brilliant as in that recording, though. Here, her voice tends to stiffen under pressure, as in Dorabella's first solo aria. As her sister Fiordiligi, the then young Finnish soprano (not yet 30?) Karita Mattila does turn out a tremendous performance in this recording - a truly great Fiordiligi by any standard! Listen to her expression of Fiordiligi's confused thoughts before ''Per pieta'' which show that to perfection, as well as her great duet in the last Act with Ferrando. Elzbieta Szmytka is a fiery, spitfire Despina that adds just the right amount of salt to balance out the single-tracked emotional pull of her two superiors.
On the men's side, they hardly could have been bettered - Thomas Allen's Gugliemo is sung with such seductive charm and idiomatic Italian that compliments his Mozartian style well. Jose van Dam, no longer in his absolute vocal prime by the time of this recording, is a seasoned Alfonso who isa fatherly figure, friend and schemer all in one. His contribution both to the ensembles and recitative is both masterly in accent and faultless in delivery.
Last but noway the least is Francisco Araiza's Ferrando. As the late opera critic Alan Blyth so rightly noted in his Gramophone review of this work, and to which I could only respectfully quote:
"And what a Ferrando! Araiza first came to notice at Aix in 1978, where I believe Karajan spotted him. It remains perhaps his most convincing role. He is as technically able as any of his predecessors, as his fluent account of ''Ah, lo veggio'' shows--very much justifying its inclusion--and finds as much or more feeling in the part than any of them with a voice that can at once be more forceful and melting, his tone more varied than Aler's (Haitink) or Streit's (Barenboim)".
As a tenor in Mozart, Araiza studied under the great Austrian Mozartian expert Richard Holm. That he has been so underrated is a true scandal.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely singing, but Marriner's 'Cosi' errs on the bland side 20 Sept. 2009
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mozart's operas seem to bring out the best in their performers, and this reissue of Neville Marriner's "Cosi fan tutte" is a good example. The whole cycle wasn't a complete success, but there's little room for complaint here. We have major singers caught in good voice, and Marriner's conducting is alert and fresh. The young Karita Mattila makes for a rather dark-voiced Fiodiligi; she's a bit too close in timbre to von Otter's Dorabella. Yet Mattila has all the notes -- or as close as anyone has -- for the treacherous aria, 'Come scoglio.' Araiza isnt' a tenor I appreciate, but he's quite suitable here, forcing less than was his wont. Actually, once you get past a few tough spots, Cosi isn't that hard to sing, so Marriner's enjoyable account joins a number of others.

What, then, sets it apart? Cosi has proved to be a chameleon opera. It used to be played for geniality, charm, and high spirits. But da Ponte's libretto leaves lots of room for darker feelings: bitterness about love and betrayal,cynicism about the opposite sex, disillusionment in love despite a happy ending. Karl Bohm's remake of Cosi on DG is the most bitter and fierce on disc, quite a shift from his first one for EMI, which is all suaveness and gentility. A rather dodgy-sounding one from Guido Cantelli is a model of stylish charm. In the period mode, Rene Jacobs presents Cosi as restless, unsettled, and rushed -- the characters are bright but on the verge of panic. Moving from one notable version to another -- Solti, Mackerras, Levine -- each adds its own flavor.

In such company Marriner seems rather faceless. No one takes a definite dramatic stance. They just sing well and do a good-enough job with the characterization. It's too bad that Jose Van Dam, as Don Alfonso, couldn't spark the plot with either cynical wit or devilish machinations. Instead, van Dam is thick-voiced and, again, faceless. Within its limits, then, this is a successful Cosi that somehow doesn't move the argument ahead one way or another.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte 17 May 2010
By Bjorn Viberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte is a recording under the direction of Sir Neville Marriner leading Academy of St Martin in the fields. First of all if one compares this with how Von Karajan then one comes to the conclusion that whilst Marriner is a very accomplish conductor his skills are not close to that of Herbert Von Karajan. The pacing seems a bit rushed at times. The booklet is quite massive and is close to 300 pages. Mozart has here created an opera masterpiece that is easily the equal of that of Wagner and Handel to mention a few of the masters of this genre. In the booklet we get well-written liner notes by Tim Carter and Alfred Beaujean. The photographs in the booklet look like they were shot by a friend of the conductor and not a professional. The cover is quite boring and they could have picked a better picture. The lyrics come in English, French , German and Italian. Highly recommended! 4/5.
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