Worthy, but not the best
Virginia Opera Fan | Falls Church, VA USA | 01/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I decided to supplement my RCA Victor Opera series edition of this set with the new Sony/BMG DSD remaster. There is a gain in the quality of sound - more like the original LPs without the surface noise. RCA recordings of this era tended to be a little bass shy. I don't think there's been an effort to artificially pump up the low end.
Price makes a very good Fiordiligi. Personally, I prefer Schwarzkopf's two efforts and, more recently, Gens. Price has commented that her two idols are Mozart and Verdi. Although a natural Verdian, her achievements in Mozart don't come quite so easily. Her best Mozart role was Anna - shamefully never commercially documented. Fiordiligi is a more qualified item. The killer range with its shifts from contralto to high soprano - a possible sly comment on the role's creator, "the Ferrarese," by Mozart - exposes the weakness of Price's low register. The high register is beautiful, but the contrast is evident. Troyanos' quick vibrato may not be to some tastes, but I think she is one of the better Dorabellas on record. Raskin's touch of acid in the tone may put some listeners off, but she is on balance about as good as any Despina in my experience. Lisa Otto in the old Karajan/EMI set is about the only singer who brings off the bogus doctor and notary without irritating vocal distortion. Both Shirley and Milnes are very good as the male leads, despite the former's occasional tendency to whine for effect. Flagello is an OK Alfonso.
Leinsdorf's conducting tends to amble. He recorded all the Mozart/da Ponte operas for RCA and the "Nozze" and "Don Giovanni" are tauter and more dramatic. This is a lesser effort.
This was the first Cosi to include every aria, ensemble and recitative absolutely complete. After all these years, the Ferrando/Guglielmo Act 1 duet and Ferrando's Act II "third" aria no longer seem as exciting as they did on first hearing.
On balance, I prefer Jacobs' recent Harmonia Mundi set for overall excellence of the cast and performance. Schwarzkopf/Bohm is my first supplement with this one as a third choice."
OperaLover | Connecticut, USA | 09/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The recording is excellent. Milnes is a young exciting baritone at the time and Price and Troyanos are outstanding. The caveat is that the CD comes without a libretto. They give a Web site that you are supposed to be able to print it, but it is no longer active. Thank you Sony! But vocally it is an excellent recording of some of the great singers of the late 20th century."