The real knife turning is coming from Eric Cutler's very very hott sounding Ferrando. If I were part of a fantasy opera league (and I'm not sure why such a thing doesn't exist) I think I would be devoting a sizeable chunk of my salary cap for up n' comers to drafting him for all my 08-09 Mozart tenor slots.
I'm not listening to the orch so much, but I will note that the Lyric horns nailed that nasty little exposed figure in 'Per Pieta' that everyone always manages to f up.
Speaking of Cosi, I came to a revelation the other day that I don't really like the main one I listen to: the benchmark Bohm/Schwarzkopf/Ludwig/Kraus/Taddei show. I mean, it's objectively good and all, but just runs contrary to my Cosi tastes on a bunch of levels: Kraus' Ferrando sounds effortful, Schwarzkopf's Fiordiligi sounds kind of icy and abrasive, the tempi get ploddy in places, etc.
The recording that really made me fall in love with Cosi, which I've mentioned before, is this set on L'oiseau Lyre which I have on (deteriorating) tapes. It seemed to be out of print for a while, though it looks like it's been reissued on the ArkivMusic private label. Way to be.
Anyhow, methinks I need to do some serious homework on Cosi discs. The wishlist goes something like this: an outrageously honey voiced Ferrando who sounds like he's about 19, a Fiordiligi who milks her big songs for all they're worth, an orchestra with some of that light and fast period flava, a Don Alfonso who doesn't sound too elderly, and solid people filling out the rest of the cast. Is that really so much to ask?