Aureole etc.

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Cosí Fan Tutte. Highlights
Fiordiligi, Celestina Casapietra (sop). Dorabella, Annelies Burmeister (m. sop). Despina, Sylvia Geszty (sop). Guglielmo, Günther Leib (bar). Ferrando, Peter Schreier (ten). Don Alfonso, Theo Adam (bass)
Orchestra and Chorus of the Staatsoper Berlin/Otmar Suitner
Recorded Brunnestraße Studio, Berlin, 1969


Berlin Classics seem to have culled a variety of sources for their ‘Eterna Collection’ series of opera highlights. This ‘Cosi’ was originally issued complete on the Ariola Eurodisc label. It is distinguished by the light handling of the score by Otmar Suitner, a natural open sound and the Ferrando of Peter Schreier, whose forward, even, expressive vocal production and characterization are distinctive and particularly welcome (tr. 6). His partner in deception, Gunther Lieb as Ferrando, is smooth and easy on the ear if without any particular distinction whilst Sylvia Geszty is a characterful Despina (tr. 5). That really is the end of the good news as the singing of neither of the sisters, Fiordiligi and Dorabella, merits a recording, nor is it particularly recommendable in a very crowded market. Theo Adam, as the scheming Alfonso, is rather heavy toned. I suspect that the limitations of the soprano, very evident in an unsteady ‘Per Pietà’ (tr. 8), explain how a highlight issue of this opera of a mere 54 minutes duration could exclude ‘Come scoglio’, and other vocal gems to be found in this wonderful work.

If the intention was to provide opportunity to hear Schreier’s Ferrando, I suggest Berlin Classics should have licensed the tenor’s third recording, his second for Karl Böhm, from the latter’s 80th birthday concert in 1974, with all parts well sung, and then provided a worthwhile 70 plus minutes to give a full selection of true highlights. All in all an opportunity lost.

Robert J Farr


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