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Mozart: Così fan tutte (DVD)

Valentina Naforniţa, Thomas Hampson et al; Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta (Naxos / DVD)

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

Mozart
Così fan tutte (DVD)
Valentina Naforniţa, Thomas Hampson, Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Benedetta Torre, Vasilisa Berzhanskaya, Matthew Swensen, Mattia Olivieri; Orchestra e Coro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino/Zubin Mehta; dir. Sven-Eric Bechtolf (Florence, 2021)
Naxos DVD: 2.110726-27; Blu-ray: NBD0147V   188 mins

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This Così at the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, recorded in March 2021, was clearly a casualty of Covid, with an audience that sounds no more than two dozen. You can only marvel at the resilience of the young cast and Zubin Mehta keeping everything afloat. Only the often grainy quality of the visuals disappoints.

While Sven-Eric Bechtolf’s production plays modish games with meta-theatricality, it is anchored in the 18th century. We begin in a theatre with Don Alfonso using a magic lantern to throw images of animals onto a curtain during the overture, but the slightly shabby costumes respect the 1790s, while suggesting, with the exception of the suitably Byronic Albanian outfits, that the four lovers and their tutor are short of a scudo or two.

Valentina Nafornița and Vasilisa Berzhanskaya are a well-matched pair of Ferrarese sisters. Nafornița’s Fiordiligi is steadfast in ‘Come Scoglio’, and Berzhanskaya a deliciously naughty Dorabella in ‘È amore un ladroncello’, dancing on the table as she surrenders to temptation and showing us a shapely ankle. If Matthew Swensen’s Ferrando has the edge over his friend Guglielmo, Swensen comes on apace once he is an Albanian. The chief disappointment is Thomas Hampson’s Don Alfonso, neither as witty as he should be nor as cynical – and the voice is showing its age. Zubin Mehta, on the other hand, bubbles through the score as if he were in his twenties!

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Christopher Cook