Notes and Editorial Reviews
Taped live at the Salzburg festival in 1972, this Cosi must have been great fun to watch. Karl Böhm leads with his usual assurance and, for that pre-historically-informed-performance period, with unusually fleet tempos and a light touch. The humor is not that light, however; this is not one of the world-weary, deeply thought-through interpretations that have since emerged, although the second-act finale is paced at a somewhat introspective tempo. After some strangely "off" playing by the winds early on, the Vienna Philharmonic is on excellent form, even managing to keep up with Böhm's breakneck tempos for the first finale, which just keeps getting faster and faster and almost threatens to unravel.
time, the singers were just about the best available. Hermann Prey and Peter Schreier make a boastful duo from the start, with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's Alfonso matching them in self-assuredness (and eschewing his usual flaw, he doesn't underline every nuance). They all sing the text pointedly and give each note-value its due. Throughout it is clear that this show has been wonderfully rehearsed and it keeps its great rhythmic verve. Schreier's voice lacks loveliness, but he does all the right things artistically, while Prey's hale-fellow-well-met is beautifully sung from start to finish.
Gundula Janowitz, the possessor of a gorgeous sound, is out-of-sorts as Fiordiligi, singing off-key at times, lacking the low notes and slurring runs--although she too creates a fine character. Brigitte Fassbaender is a stunning Dorabella, dark of tone and solid as a rock--a memorable performance. Reri Grist's Despina is well sung but predictable. Böhm cuts a couple of the arias and a duet. At this bargain price, you'll get a pretty good Cosi, but it can't compare with either Jacobs' (Harmonia Mundi) or Karajan's 1954 (EMI) recording.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Così fan tutte, K 588 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Gundula Janowitz (Soprano),
Brigitte Fassbaender (Mezzo Soprano),
Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone),
Hermann Prey (Baritone),
Reri Grist (Soprano)
Vienna Opera Orchestra,
Vienna Opera Chorus
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 07/30/1972
Venue: Live Salzburg, Austria
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