I love Mozart and his operas, and while La Finta Giardiniera is not one of his best to me it is a quite remarkable early opera with some great comedy and beautiful continuous music. While I prefer the 1988 Drottingholm performance, this 1989 live performance is still very good.
The orchestra play with a stylish and warm sound even if a tad on the small side, and Sylvain Cambreling's conducting has a certain sensitivity to it. The sound is overall good, once you get past the stage and audience noises.
Principal singing is mostly excellent, with all of the principals showing a sense of comedy and timing. Mark Torzewski's tenor voice has a very graceful and lyric quality to it, with beautiful lines and eloquent diction and musicality. Also promising are Joanna Kozslowska who possesses a light and beautifully rounded soprano voice.
Standouts are Lani Poulson whose singing is very clean, Elzbieta Szmytka as a soubrettish Serpetta and her comic timing sparkles and Russell Smythe whose characterisation is sharp and firmly rhythmic.
Not quite so good is Ugo Benelli, the performance overall is convincing but the singing is sometimes a little edgy and shouty. Malvina Major also has an edgy sound at times but her Arminda is very charming and in some ways the edginess sort of worked considering the character in the way that it didn't work with Benelli.
Overall, very good but I do prefer the 1988 production. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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