Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Overture is well sprung at exactly the right tempo. One immediately notes the nicely balanced playing of the VPO, the special Viennese sound of strings and wind. Enter the two upright soldiers in the pleasing shape of Blochwitz, a Ferrando with silvery tone and a fine edge, at once apparent, to his characterization; his fellow officer, the mellifluous and lively Thomas Hampson. They are challenged to stand up for the fidelity of their girlfriends by the evidently jovial, smiling Alfonso of Furlanetto,...confident and confidential in his recitative. The bargain is struck and we are in the loved ones home. Here we encounter the deliciously spirited Dorabella of Ann Murray,...a lady of mettle, adept at fashioning her words to her tone. And
what's this? Dame Kiri, somewhat penny plain as Fiordiligi in the old Lombard Erato LP version (nla), here appears to be following the example of Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Böhm) in playing with her words—listen, much later, to "Sospirando, i sospiretti" in the duet of choice in Act 2...
So an interesting sextet of characters are assembled under the keen-edged and authoritative baton of Levine, and they develop a fair sense of a stage performance, all being experienced in their roles in the theatre... Blochwitz sustains the line and shape of his three taxing arias, but the last two do reveal some insecurity at the very top... Hampson...is a near-ideal Guglielmo, bonhomous, seductive, and golden in timbre... Marie McLaughlin's naturally full tone is welcome in her vocally assured arias, but one cannot get away from the fact that Despina should be more sharply contrasted with her mistresses.
The text is very complete, including the duettino for the soldiers in Act I. Levine opts for Guglielmo's "Rivolgete" for his First Act aria; Mozart replaced this before the premiere with the much more appropriate, shorter and more familiar "Non siate ritrosi", here consigned to an appendix at the end of the first CD, a questionable decision, though it's good to hear Hampson in both. Haitink chose "Rivolgete" at Glyndebourne but happily changed his mind before he made his version. The recording on the new DG is excellent. There's plenty of presence, and a nice balance between voices and orchestra. Peter Branscombe contributes an authoritative note on the work's sources and construction...
In spite of my reservations this set can compete with Haitink's as far as recent versions made in up-to-date sound are concerned...
-- Gramophone [11/1989]
Works on This Recording
Così fan tutte, K 588 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa (Soprano),
Hans-Peter Blochwitz (Tenor),
Ann Murray (Mezzo Soprano),
Thomas Hampson (Baritone),
Marie McLaughlin (Soprano),
Ferruccio Furlanetto (Bass)
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,
Vienna Philharmonic Chorus
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria
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