Mozart: Cosi Fan Tutte / Schwarzkopf, Karajan

Album cover art for upc 5099994824520
Catalog: 482452
Format: CD

Karajan, Herbert von

By and large, Herbert von Karajan's 1954 Così Fan Tutte is the most satisfying of his early EMI Mozart opera recordings. The Philharmonia Orchestra, for one, played like crazy for Karajan in his pre-Berlin Philharmonic days. True, EMI's new transfer cannot disguise the recording's age; yet an added sense of room tone gives the vivacious wind playing an extra, welcome edge. Karajan's fleet tempi and knowing accentuations propel the music forward even more than the gaping cuts in the recitatives. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's Fiordiligi and Nan Merriman's Dorabella are seductive and sizzling, with Lisa Otto's Despina not far behind. As Ferrando, Léopold Simoneau's elegant legato and word-painting skills come to the fore in "Un'aura amorosa," and Sesto Bruscantini's Alfonso remains one of the best-sung on record. This shouldn't be your primary Così, but it's a release that has more than mere historic interest. Full texts and translations are included. --Jed Distler

Price: $47.98