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Subject: COSI FAN TUTTE - ROYAL OPERA - 17th March
From: NBPalmer1 <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:NBPalmer1 <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Fri, 20 Mar 1998 18:12:32 EST
Content-Type:text/plain
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Ferrando     -    Rainer Trost
Guglielmo   -     Simon Keenlyside
Don Alfonso-     Thomas Allen
Fiordiligi     -      Barbara Frittoli
Dorabella    -     Enkelejda Shkosa
Despina     -      Inge Dam-Jensen

Production/Sets    Jonathan Miller
Costumes   -  Marks & Spencer  (originally Armani, who insisted that they had
to be updated from a year ago for this modern dress approach.  However, Covent
Garden resisted this and went to the well known store instead where you can
buy uncredited Armani designs, in just a few branches, at a fraction of the
price of the originals!)

Cond   -   Colin Davis

Colin Davis'  conducting was, in a word, ravishing.  This has always been a
special opera for him, and he is so good at bringing out the worm which lurks
within the beautiful bud.  He produced a razor-edged performance, with
marvellous energy and maturity, but always weighing  and waiting for the pain
at the end.  The orchestra gave of their virtuoso best, once again confirming
themselves as being one of the best opera orchestras in the world.

Allen repeated his subtle urbane laid-back Alfonso, Frittoli brings an ideal
Latin voice and temperament which works brilliantly in a small theatre
(looking forward to her at Glyndebourne in same role), and Shkosa is a
wonderful find.  She is young, from Armenia, and is delicious to watch and
delightful to hear.  The two other principals repeat their engaging, very well
sung camaraderie.

This is as good an all-round Cosi as I have heard anywhere for several years.
It reminds me that I was at the very first performance of this opera at Covent
Garden, in 1968.  Solti conducted, and the cast was Pilar Lorengar, Josephine
Veasey, Lucia Popp (sigh), Luigi Alva, Keith Engen and Wladimiro Ganzarolli.
Picking up on last weeks thread on operas which were common and disappeared,
Cosi is the supreme example of an opera which was really rather rare and then
reappeared.  Here in the UK it was virtually unknown this century until
Glyndebourne produced it in 1934, as the second opera in the very first season
(Heddle Nash, Willi Domgraf-Fassbaender, father of Brigitte, Vincenzo Bettoni,
Ina Souez, Luise Helletsgruber, Irene Eisinger cond. Fritz Busch, prod. Carl
Ebert).  Now it is standard repertory all over the world.  One day I plan to
write something about the history of Cosi, and my view of the reasons behind
that history.

However, if any of you are in London during the next few days, and can get to
the Shaftesbury Theatre, you will not be disappointed if you can experience
this cast.  A second cast is now alternating, which I shall hear on Monday
next week.  It includes Melanie Diener who can do no wrong so far as I am
concerned.

Enjoy your weekend, all of you.

Regards    NICOLAS PALMER, London

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