One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Salon Treasures from the Max Jaffa Library



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


alternatively AmazonUK

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Cosi fan Tutte - Dramma giocosa in two acts, libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte (1789)
Fiordiligi (soprano) Ė Miah Persson; Dorabella (mezzo) Ė Anke Vondung; Ferrando (tenor) Ė Topi Lehtipuu; Guglielmo (baritone) Ė Luca Pisaroni; Despina (soprano) Ė Ainhoa Garmendia; Don Alfonso (bass-baritone) Ė Nicolas Riveno
Glyndebourne Chorus
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Ivan Fischer
Directed for the stage by Nicholas Hytner
Directed for TV by Francesca Kemp
rec. Glyndebourne Festival Theatre, 19 May 2006
OPUS ARTE OA0970D [2 DVDs: 210:00]

This award-winning production has just been revived at Glyndebourne with different cast, conductor and orchestra (LPO) so itís entirely apposite to be reminded on DVD of the team that created it last year. Nicholas Hytnerís admirably unfussy production is as clear-headed, intelligent and probing as one would expect from the director of the National Theatre. Most of his predecessors in that post have scored notable opera hits at Glyndebourne and elsewhere, so heís following in illustrious footsteps. To say he doesnít disappoint is an understatement.
Iíve followed his career on and off since he put himself on the map with a series of stunning productions at Manchesterís Royal Exchange Theatre in the early 1980s, and though some of the youthful daring has gone, itís still clearly the work of the same mind. Hytner actually concedes that some may find his more mature approach Ďalmost shockingly traditionalí but I, for one, am perfectly happy with that. I certainly do not miss the sort of misguided Ďconceptí that marred, for instance, the Barenboim/ Dorrie Cosi from Berlin a while back (see review). It did have some good things in it, but a mixture of slack conducting and fussy staging undermined the generally good casting, whereas here at Glyndebourne everything gels in perfect harmony.
Hytner opts for a period feel, complete with sumptuous outfits, swords and hairdos, but Vicky Mortimerís set is admirably simple and clutter-free, with a few well placed items and a louvered, sliding back panel suggesting various locations perfectly yet not detracting from the action. One of Hytnerís hallmarks is expertly choreographed scene changes, where the actors themselves, helped by the odd servant/ maid, effortlessly move us from one scene to the next, usually tailored exactly to the music, like a well-oiled machine but fresh and vital. Itís a joy to behold, simple yet supremely effective. Add to that beautifully subtle lighting and this is a visual treat.
Things are also helped immeasurably by having a cast who look absolutely right. The two couples are not too young to be inexperienced but look great together and have a real chemistry that is funny, moving and sexy. I last came across Mia Persson as Sophie in Robert Carsenís thought-provoking Rosenkavalier from Zurich a while back and was impressed with her acting and vocal abilities. Her Fiordiligi is even better, a natural vulnerability underlying any coquettishness. She and the equally-impressive Dora Vondung (Dorabella) work beautifully together, convincing as sisters (giggling, whispering etc) but touching and believable, as well as being in excellent voice, the light mezzo of Vondung complementing the clear, radiant soprano of Persson. They do waste comic potential either, particularly in the fake wooing scenes.
The men are all excellent, in good voice and relishing these superbly drawn roles. Iím glad Hytner didnít overdo the disguises for the central pair, which here amount to no more than a flamboyant costume, longer hair and the all-important Albanian moustaches, of which much is made. They look handsome and clearly enjoy themselves, with deft comic timing where needed but all the main arias and ensembles beautifully sung, though purists should note that Ferrandoís ĎAh lo veggioí is, for some unaccountable reason, omitted. Nicolas Rivenqís Don Alfonso is almost more avuncular than Machiavellian, an impression helped by his warm, rounded baritone delivery.
Ainhoa Garmendiaís Despina is also a delight, truly sung and never descending into caricature, whilst obviously enjoying her show-stealing scenes disguised as the doctor and notary.
Another highlight of this set is the playing of the OAE under Fischer, who maintains brisk but never breathless tempos, always alive to the needs of the singers. Wind solos are gorgeous and the whole band is captured in excellent sound which overcomes the slightly dry acoustic.
Iíve often moaned about lack of extras on DVD releases, so itís always a pleasure to praise Opus Arte, who here give us valuable interviews with cast, director and conductor, as well as production photo gallery and illustrated synopsis. Coupled with superb picture and sound quality, this is as good as it gets for the DVD library, so if youíre in the market for stimulating theatre that will survive trends and fads, this has to be on your shortlist.
Tony Haywood



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

Eloquence recordings
All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

August 2022

Louis Caix d'Hervelois

orchestral songs



String Quartets

la folia



July 2022

John Luther Adams Houses of the Wind
John Luther Adams
Houses of the Wind

Horneman Alladin
Horneman Alladin

Stojowski piano concertos
Piano Concertos 1 & 2

Vaughan Williams on Brass

Yi Lin Jiang - Dualis I




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.