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So what makes this performance stand out? First, the singing of the young cast is uniformly excellent. Or perhaps not quite uniformly: as is the case with her new Susanna in Pappano's Figaro, Miah Persson is even better than excellent, combining a gorgeous, flexible, and stunningly controlled voice (even in the most challenging coloratura passages) with her by-now familiar depth of dramatic insight. Just listen to (and watch) the solid scorn on "Come scoglio"--or, even better, the subtle variations in mood in her wrenching account of "Per pietà"--and you'll understand why she's my favorite Mozart soprano these days.
But the rest of the cast is nearly as good. Anke Vondung holds her own as Dorabella (certainly, a less rich part), and their voices blend extremely well. Topi Lehtipuu and Luca Pisaroni capture the emotional wobbles of the two self-deluded lovers--their ardor, their ungrounded confidence, their fury--with unerring security and luxurious tone. More than most performances, too, this one reveals a key social dynamic: the deception works in part because they're so much sexier when their costumes allow them to abandon the constraining propriety imposed by the social conventions that normally govern their behavior. Ainhoa Garmendia is a pert, disdainful Despina who doesn't over-camp the impersonations; and running the show tactfully is Nicholas Rivenq. An unusually attractive Don Alfonso, he's younger and far more fit than most in this role (he looks as if he just came off the racquet-ball court), and he seems an intellectual without a trace of pedantry; you can really believe that he wants to educate these two naive friends. Iván Fischer conducts with more romantic flexibility than you often get with period-instrument orchestras--and balance (both among the singers and between stage and pit) is finely calibrated. Purely as an audio version, this would stand up to any I've heard.
Fortunately, Nicholas Hytner's production is equally impressive--hardly a false step from beginning to end. In general, this staging takes the opera--arguably, Mozart's most intellectually challenging--seriously. But the seriousness does not bring solemnity. Hytner may avoid extreme farce, but there's plenty of wit, energy, and color throughout. More important, he doesn't condescend to the characters: you can understand both why they're so foolish and why they're so torn, and the final shots (where the resolution is clearly only partial) create tremendous poignance. The sets and costumes--simple but far from austere--suggest the late 18th or early 19th century, without creating a very specific moment; and while the production doesn't ostentatiously update the action, it stresses those aspects of character and situation that still ring true today. One point highlighted here is the bond between the sisters--indeed, one could argue that it's really Dorabella who seduces Fiordiligi; and while there is nothing louche or tasteless in the presentation of their relationship, it's obvious that they have a strong erotic link. Not that there's any lack of heterosexual electricity--as a result, the final scene, where nearly every possible pairing seems highly charged, is as smoldering as any you'll see. Yet aside from one or two moments, the sex is handled with tact: the performance is hardly prudish, but it's never aggressive either.
The Blu-ray video quality is stunning: you can see each leaf on the salads that our heroines are eating in act I. The 5.0 channel PCM is excellent as well. And while the extras are nothing special, both the conductor and the director offer intelligent insights into the opera. Two numbers are omitted, No. 7 (the duet "Al fato dan legge") and No. 24 (Ferrando's "Ah, io veggio"), but that's a minor issue. All in all, if this doesn't make it to my next Want List, we've got quite a year in store for us. -- Fanfare, Peter J. Rabinowitz, Jan-Feb 2010
If you enjoy opera and can't get to the Met, this is an enjoyable DVD.Published 3 months ago by Meema of Eight
The cast was excellent. I liked the lighting and the sound. Of course Mozart's music was the real star. Read morePublished 9 months ago by edanco
What a marvel this is! Mozart and Da Ponte's third and final opera together often gets overshadowed by their previous two, but this version on DVD is so good, it proves that this... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Reviewer Fantastique
This is a masterpiece!
The story is both hilarious and clever. The music by Mozart is among the greatest ever written and so perfectly matches the acting. Read more
I think this 2006 performance is slightly overrated by two reasons -
1. Lovely setting, beautiful staging;
2. Terrific direction and acting;
3. Read more
1st, this is a good Opera. Fun to watch. 2 things strike me as missing. The set is very modern and at times, only a blue screen background. Aweful. Read morePublished on January 5, 2012 by DC
Singers are young and not famous.
But well lessoned , expressions are super.
The story is well-known and like comic. Read more
In order to enjoy it, one has to forget about the story: it is stupid and male chauvanist. But the music is divine, the singers -every one of them- excellent and, less usual, also... Read morePublished on October 30, 2011 by Daniele E. Gould
The main attraction of this performance of Cosi fan tutte is not so much the vocal performance as the theatrical performance. Read morePublished on July 10, 2011 by IreneDAdler