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Così fan tutte, as recorded here in Munich in 1978, is one of those ‘wish I’d been there’ occasions. Wolfgang Sawallisch, then music director of the Bavarian State Opera, conducts the most relaxed yet refined version imaginable. There is a natural and generous flow to the performance. There is also a palpable sense of atmosphere, the audience sounding genuinely amused in Act I, before a hush descends over the remainder (fear not, the sound is generally very clear and stage noise kept to a minimum). The cast is luxurious. Theo Adam and Reri Grist pull the strings as Don Alfonso and Despina – she is funny without resorting to cutesy. Peter Schreier and Wolfgang Brendel radiate charm and confidence as Ferrando and Guglielmo. Brigitte Fassbaender’s Dorabella is lively, sexy and fun. But most thrilling of all is the superlative Fiordiligi of Margaret Price at her very best. And that means some stunning singing, both technically and interpretively. She sails through the vocal knitting of the role, spins exquisite lines, swells her tone magnificently and fines it down to a thread as required. She always sings off the text, as does all the cast, flooding the theatre with her hugely generous personality and voice.

FRANCIS MUZZU Read the full review on Agora Classica

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