Born of necessity, the 21st century’s greatest Mozart opera

Born of necessity, the 21st century’s greatest Mozart opera


norman lebrecht

August 05, 2020

Merkur critic Markus Thiel is bowled over by Salzburg’s makeshift Cosi fan tutte:


….  this sextet: Marianne Crebassa, a Dorabella between cunning, young girl and dark erotic. Elsa Dreisig, a Fiordiligi, of unconditional (sometimes a little more firm) intensity. Johannes Martin Kränzle, who, as Don Alfonso, is not only a sovereign playmaker, but observes the couples’ goings-on with skepticism, increasing despair and derangement – and all this accompanied by an abundance of vocal nuances. Bogdan Volkov’s cleverly guided, flexible Ferrando tenor and Lea Desandre’s finely lyrical, never beastly Despina belong to this ideal ensemble, as does Andrè Schuen, whose virile voice Guglielmo fluctuates between disbelief and defiance. The fact that they all convey the 130 minutes as truly as if the piece happened for the first time is the miracle of this performance.

Elsa Dreisig, Johannes Martin Kränzle, Marianne Crebassa.© Photo: Monika Rittershaus

Read on here.



  • Charles Clark-Maxwell says:

    It’s such a ridiculous plot. Just a coathanger to hold sublime music

    • Harold says:

      Sure it is, but it’s opera buffa and that is overlooked now as people get twisted over its very 18th century conceits.

    • Steffen Voss says:

      In comparison with Rigoletto, Trovatore, Fidelio or Meistersinger it has a rather logical and intelligent plot.

      • IP says:

        And the most intelligent music to match.

        Ah! The Trovatore Leonora and the little can-can she sings as she is about to commit suicide! Tra-la-la-la, I’m gonna kill myself, tra-la-la. . .

    • Michael in Missouri says:

      Così is like a philosophical treatise on the nature of love and desire, but one in which all of the philosophy is handled in the music. The plot is not really the point, but that’s true of many operas, as Steffen Voss says.

      I never tire of this opera. Every engagement with it brings something new. It’s as close to a musical miracle as anything ever written.

  • Ferdinand Müller says:

    Salzburg is the best opera festival!!!

  • Beaumont says:

    At the risk of raining on your parade and being branded a sock-puppet again: this production (a rehash of one the director did in Germany some time ago) is in no way anything to write home about (although at least it did not abound in fatuous Regie ideas like the Elektra did).
    The situation is quite odd: in a time where we are drowning in a sea of excellence as regards the technical proficiency of instrumentalists, orchestras and choirs, the solo vocal side is growing ever more mediocre (if that) – if you do not believe me, listen to live recordings of Cosi made a couple of decades ago (the studio recordings, like Böhm’s or Richard Tucker’s Cosi are incomparable anyway).
    Today’s singers look good – but I rather prefer a singer with Grob-Prandl’s girth to the wannabe-vocalists-cum-models we are faced with today.
    If you don’t believe me, compare these two ladies:

    no contest

  • IP says:

    It is worth noting that Igor Levit is playing the best Beethoven of the century, so far, at the same venue.

  • Papageno says:

    Nevermind the plot. It’s all about Da Ponte’s sublime poetry (and Romani’s for Bellini’s and Donizetti’s ‘ridiculous plots’)

  • Le Křenek du jour says:

    So good to see Martin Kränzle well again!

  • Edgar Self says:

    It’s an ensemble opera, the six singers often re-forming into duet, trios, quartets, sextets, in a way most operas do not. And it’s very popular in Tirana, Albania, and in the town where I live, which has three actual Albanian residents not including King Zog.