Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Mozart - Cosi Fan Tutte / Dose Lindenstrand Allen Austin Petri Pritchard Glyndebourne Opera|
Actors: Helena Dose, Thomas Allen, John Pritchard
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
By the middle of the 20th century the opera hadn?t been performed often because of its salaciousness, whereas in Glyndebourne Cosė became repertoire very early. Mozart connoisseurs have praised this amusing production for ... more »
The Attractive 'Old' Glyndebourne Production
J Scott Morrison | Middlebury VT, USA | 09/15/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a DVD of the 1975 Glyndebourne production of 'Così fan tutte' previously available on VHS. It's from the old house and features attractive young singers--yes, back then even Thomas Allan, the Guglielmo, was a young man!--and the energetic and expert conducting of John Pritchard, who learnt this opera at the right hand of Glyndebourne's earliest and probably greatest Mozart conductor, Fritz Busch. By and large the cast was not then and is not now well-known (Helene Döse as Fiordiligi, Sylvia Lindenstrand as Dorabella, Anson Austin as Ferrando, Danièle Perriers as Despina, and Frantz Pétri as Don Alfonso) except for (now Sir) Thomas Allen. However, it is a first-rate cast who act well, move gracefully, sing beautifully (if a bit undercharacterized in some spots) and form a smooth ensemble. The sets are a bit generic, a bit stylized, and a bit 1970s Day-Glo. The stage direction (by Adrian Slack) is fairly traditional. Even the comic bits by Despina and Don Alonso are pretty stock. But then there's the music by Mozart; who can resist that? This is surely Mozart's and Da Ponte's most delicious comedy. I have a hard time understanding why it was not as popular through the decades as 'Nozze di Figaro' and 'Don Giovanni' have been; perhaps earlier generations found the plot risqué, although it seems to me it simply points out the frailties and temptations of young lovers without being particularly sensationalist about it.
A couple of high points. The tenor Anson Austin, who spent most of his career singing at the Sydney Opera in his native Australia, is an attractive man whose honeyed tenor is beautifully controlled. His 'Un aura amorosa' is delectable. Fiordiligi's 'Come scoglio' is well sung, if a bit tame. Dorabella's 'Smanie implacabili' and Guglielmo's 'Donne mie, la fate a tanti' are superb. But it's in the ensembles that this cast really shines, and the two finales are excitingly done.
There are other probably better videos of this opera. I have not seen any other video productions of this opera, alas, and cannot compare it with them, although one can imagine that the John Eliot Gardiner version, with original instruments, would be excellent if that approach is your meat, and the Barenboim has gotten some rave reviews.
One caveat: the sound on this DVD is a just a bit bass-shy and has some minor distortion at high dynamic levels (at least on my equipment).
There are better Cosi's available on DVD
MDFinMIA | N. Miami, FL USA | 05/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is my fifth Cosi on DVD, and unfortunately it ranks near the bottom on all fronts - musically, technically and dramatically. It's an antique (by video standards) live from 1975 Glyndebourne Festival, and the technical aspects show - sound is lukewarm, early video capture a bit harsh. The cast is good enough - one would expect no slouches at Glyndebourne - but none really thrill. Pritchard takes things rather fast, particularly in the first act, and doesn't make use of much rubatto. The production is simple, standard and rather bland. Worth acquiring perhaps for the real collector only."
"A budget Cosi -- great for the money"
James Montmarquet | Tennessee | 02/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very bright, lots of close-ups -- which is good because the physical beauty and acting ability of the players needs to be accented -- as the sound quality is barely adequate. A great problem with Mozart is that the feeling of 'small action on a large stage' is a killer -- compare the La Scala 'Don' with Thomas Allen. This has an extremely small stage feel -- just perfect. Petri as Don Alonso is a little too virile to have put himself out of commission in the way he apparently has -- true, he is a "philosopher" but, as a philosophy professor myself, I wish he wouldn't drink (or have others drink) that much wine that early in the morning!"
Come back to (old) Glyndebourne
Robert Baksa | new york state | 06/07/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are many reasons to bypass this 1975 performance as has been noted by other reviewers. But I have owned three other DVDs of this opera and find that I still enjoy this one the most. As a piece of ensemble work in performance it is still the most satisfying. On my progressive scan player the visual portion of the signal is really quite good and the sound is not embarassing. The sets, on that small stage of the old house, are charming and totally appropriate (I think modern directors have quite forgotten that word and its meaning.) Like the early Glyndebourne Marriage of Figaro (which has a somewhat stronger cast) the Cosi remains an object lesson in how to stage a Mozart opera. I do occassional look for a more modern performance of works like these but find that the older performances still provide the most satisfaction and delight. If I find another newer performance the this work I'm sure I will always return to this performance whose sum is definetly greater than its parts."