OP3367. COSÌ FAN TUTTE, Live Performance, 28 Feb., 1978 (before a most enthusiastic audience!), w.Sawallisch Cond. Bayerischen Staatsoper Ensemble; Margaret Price, Brigitte Fassbänder, Reri Grist, Wolfgang Brendel, Peter Schreier, Theo Adam, etc. (Austria) 2-Orfeo C 918 182, w.Elaborate Libretto-Brochure in German & English. Long out-of-print, Final Sealed Copy! - 4011790918129
“What would I have given to have been at this stunning 1978 Bayerische Staatsoper performance, a new production with a stellar cast, conducted by its music director maestro Wolfgang Sawallisch. Part of Orfeo’s series of live recordings from Nationaltheater, Munich this performance of COSÌ FAN TUTTE is another example of the long and outstanding performance tradition of Bayerische Staatsoper.
The route to this 1978 Nationaltheater, Munich performance of COSÌ FAN TUTTE was a torturous one peppered with myriad revisions. Gradually the road was cleared for the Bayerische Staatsoper to introduce Da Ponte’s original Italian libretto with this 1978 production under the music direction of Wolfgang Sawallisch. Rather than spoken dialogues here Sawallisch uses secco recitatives to harpsichord accompaniment. Sawallisch said ‘with soloists like these we can sell out the great theatre’ and he was right.
Standing out is Wales soprano Margaret Price who makes a ravishing Fiordiligi standing out strongly in her two big arias. Particularly outstanding is her act one, scene three aria ‘Come scoglio’ as Fiordiligi displays her determined side emphasizing her loyalty and dedication to her fiance. Memorable is Price’s expressive and colourful voice, cystal clear enunciation and satisfying coloratura. Reri Grist the American coloratura soprano sings the role of Despina with a rewarding bright and sparkling voice, often conveying appropriate humour. In her Act One, scene three aria ‘In uomini, in soldati’ with Despina encouraging the sisters to take advantage of the absence of their fiances, Grist demonstrates how comfortable she is in her high register. Fiordiligi and Dorabella’s duets ‘Ah guarda sorella’ from Act One, scene one and ‘Prendero quel brunettino’ from Act Two, scene one are quite beautifully rendered. Delivered most impressively is the famous act one, scene one trio ‘Soave sia il vento’ from Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso as the three implore the wind and waves to bring the two soldiers back home safely. With singing of a rapt tenderness the contrasting voices blend together so well.”
Michael Cookson, MusicWebInternational
“The cast is stellar. Margaret Price's studio COSÌ , made seven years earlier, finds her in wonderful form but greatly handicapped by Klemperer's marmoreal tempos. Here, however, she sounds interpretatively freer and she makes consistently glorious sounds in her middle and upper registers. Some arias win applause, and one hears intermittent laughter, particularly when Reri Grist is working the stage. Not a 'first' COSÌ certainly, but especially for Price fans - well worth hearing. Peter Schreier and Wolfgang Brendel radiate charm and confidence as Ferrando and Guglielmo. Brigitte Fassbäender's Dorabella is lively, sexy and fun. But most thrilling of all is the superlative Fiordiligi of Margaret Price at her very best. And that means some stunning singing, both technically and interpretively.”
“Amazingly, it took this Munich production of the 1970s to bring Mozart's absolute masterpiece to life in its original language; yet anything else - from a great master of musically subtle, rapid-reaction word-play - is sheer sacrilege! In any case, the acoustic account captures an almost unbearably intense moment in the history of music theatre. The music director of those days, true to local tradition and to his own history, once again shows himself to be not only a consummate Wagner and Strauss conductor but also, as in the previously released DON GIOVANNI from that era, a hugely skilled interpreter of Mozart. The piece's ensemble qualities, lifting it from the chasms of deep disgrace to a pinnacle of Mozart's operatic writing, are brought out with breathtaking drama and vivid versatility, due not least to the cumulatively sensational qualities of the various protagonists.”
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