Saturday, June 23, 2007


They're playing a tape of Lyric's Cosi from this season (which I did not attend out of extreme lameness) and it sounds kick ass. I guess Erin Wall's 'Come Scoglio' sounded a tad out of control at points (and whose doesn't), but the 'Per Pieta' was Babs-Frittoli-memory-inducing-phat.

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?


Anonymous said...

Try the Concerto Koln/Rene Jacobs verions - Veronique Gens is a very period-sounding Fiordiligi, and Werner Cura sounds great as Ferrando.

Anonymous said...

Can only back up the previous recommendation. The ConcertoKöln/Jacobs recording is stylish, dramatic and very well sung.

Maury D'annato said...

Schwarzkopf is a real pill as Fiordiligi.

I have to mix and match for Cosi, though I feel like the Met could at this point field a dream cast (Let's say: Kozena, Polenzani, Roschmann, Bartoli if someone could get her on a boat, and I'm not as sure about the baritones, not being 100% on the Kwiecien wagon...maybe Goerne but he doesn't seem to work at the Met) but as for recordings, they all have a problem or two.

Bohm's a weird conductor for Mozart but has a pretty great cast (della Casa, Dermota)...actually he also has another recording w/ a bunch of good Mozarteans (Janowitz, Schreier)...I'm not sure what else you might like. The tenors who sound freshest in Mozart to my ear are probably Dermota and Simoneau. The soprano who makes the most of the role is Mararet Price but she's on a real dog of a recording. Agh!

Drew80 said...

The Karajan EMI set is good, with a younger and fresher Schwarzkopf. It is probably the best-conducted "Cosi" among all studio recordings. However, if you cannot stand Schwarzkopf at all, or if you cannot stand mono sound, you probably will not like it.

Solti did an interesting "Cosi" around 1970 or so. It is slightly different, but very interesting. Few people seem to own that set.

And there is the Colin Davis, of course, as well as Muti's early 1980's "Cosi" from Salzburg, recorded live, which won me over after initial resistance.

Alex said...

Good call about the Met's hypothetical embarrassment of riches during the 10-11 revival...and I'd imagine Thomas Allen's go-to Don Alfonso status will be over by then. Does Goerne actually do full-on staged Cosi's anywhere?

Thanks for the tip on Ferrando's.

P.S. Is it weird that Giulini never made a Cosi recording? Are there live ones kicking around somewhere?

I'm definitely intrigued by the Muti...

Willym said...

Was going through my CDs yesterday getting ready for my move to Italy - Scala, Fenice, San Carlo here I come. Realized that I have four Cosi's.

Glyndebourne 1935 - Fritz Busch showing why he was the Mozart conductor between the wars but using a pinao for the recitatives - sounds very strange.

Met 1952 in English - Steber, Thebom, Peters, Tucker, Guarrera and Alvary - big voices mostly but exciting rather staidly conducted by Stiedry

Aix-en-Provence 1957 - Stick-Randall, Berganaza, Adani, Alva, Panerai and Cortis conducted brillantly by the greatly underrated Hans Rosbaud.

Decca 1974 that Drew mentioned with Lorengar, Berganza, Berbie as a mezzo Despina, Davies, Krause and Bacquier doing his character schtik with Solit at the helm.

My ideal would be a combination of several performances I've seen and CD's I've heard:

Hans Rosbaud conducting, Margaret Price and Bergazna as the sisters (Lyric back in the 70's if I remember), Theresa Stratas as Despina (Salzburg 70s), Alva and Krause as the guys and Sesto Bruscantini as Alfonso (Glyndebourne 70s). The whole thing staged by Alfred Lunt (Met revival late 60s).

Or better yet a whole cast of new young vibrant singers, conducted by a thrilling new conductor and staged by Peter Brook.

In either case its a dream!

Will said...

That later Bohm set is very big house Mozart, kind of brilliant in its way but lacking in intimacy among other things. Kraus has some strange Italian ("Una beyla serenata . . . ") also.

Yes, the Jacobs with Gens and Gura is a wonderful performance, like a properly chilled brut champagne and blessedly complete. Karajan I, despite some great conducting and orchestral work, is cut to ribbons which is unacceptable to those of us who can't ever have too much of Cosi Fan Tutte.

SableC said...

I like that new Levine recording on 6 CDs, with Bartoli as Fiordiligi, Bartoli as Dorabella, and of course, Bartoli's signature character-voice hijinx as Despina. She does the male parts as well (interpolating 'Al desio' in place of all the usual arias), and plays the pianoforte for the recits.

Anonymous said...

The best one I've heard.

Anonymous said...

the giddiness and amazing singing of Caballe and Janet Baker on the C.Davis set just turns it for me. dream: Kleiber (C., natch) conducts them and JDF and N. Gunn and Hampson a few years ago. ?

Gunther said...


Was there a Karajan II?