on 29 August 2012
Gorgeous recording - I have other versions of this sublime Mozart opera, but rate this above others (inc. Caballe/Baker/Cotrubus) due to Bartoli's delightful Dorabella. Okay, I'm a Bartoli fanatic, but this is utterly delightful - all of it!!!
on 13 November 2014
Earlier this week, a 1933 Patek Philippe ("the Supercomplication timepiece") sold for USD $24.4m. It's comprised of nine hundred individual parts, and, according to the auctioneers, is the most advanced timepiece ever made without the assistance of computers. It was last wound in 1969. Nevertheless it remains in perfect working order and is a thing of awe. One could argue that Cosi fan Tutte has just as many working parts to its name. It's a feat to get it ticking along flawlessly. It's so easy to forget the miracle of the Act I Finale. In the very least, it should be mentioned in the same breath as the Act II Finale of Figaro.
Here's an instance where received wisdom is not wrong. While I have yet to hear his Barenboim's Figaro with the Berliners (rumoured to be a stinker), this is miles better than his Don Giovanni. It held my attention. Needless to say, the cast does not match the arrays of yesteryear (Karajan, Bohm or Lombard). Even so, it has an Innigkeit (innerness) that cannot be denied and which I could not detect in K 527. It's like the entire cast - such as they are - drew the deepest of breaths at the commencement of the project and did not exhale until the final note. The focus, concentration and interplay are exemplary, thereby sustaining the slower tempos of Act I. For instance, `Sento o Dio, che questo piede' - a key determinant in the scheme of things - works and luminously at that. The vocal blemish is John Tomlinson as Don Alfonso who's a Sith Lord of Wobble. Furlanetto borders on average too. Other than that, these are good voices used to maximum effect. I suppose mention must be made of Cecilia Bartoli as Dorabella even if she does not do a lot for me per se: she shines. The recording is sensational. Balances are perfect. The 26 May 2003 Reviewer decries the use of the Berlin Philharmonic in favour of the English Baroque Soloists. Whatever! Man does not live on gruel alone. The Klang had not been fully exorcised by Abbado at the time of this recording. Revel in its plushness.
This is more than the sum of its parts and unlike so much of the output from the Barenboim sausage-factory, it has a long shelf-life.