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Così fan tutte (Women are Like That) - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Information about the opera Così fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and the best recordings available on CD or DVD, or for download.

The most perfect and inspired of Mozart's operas.


The opera is set in 18th century Naples. An old cynic, Don Alfonso, wagers with two young officers, Ferrando and Guglielmo, that their sweethearts Fiordeligi and Dorabella will not stand the ultimate test of faithfulness.

After a touching farewell they return disguised as Albanians and seduce each other's fiancées. The ladies yield and are shamed by the production of marriage contracts. There is a final scene of reconciliation.

Recommended recordings on CD

Karajan/Schwarzkopf/Merriman (Naxos Historical 8.111232-34)


Karajan's only studio recording of the opera, made in 1954, with an excellent orchestra and ideal casting.

Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, 7/13/1954.

Cast: Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Fiordiligi), Nan Merriman (Dorabella), Lisa Otto (Despina), Léopold Simoneau (Ferrando), Rolando Panerai (Gugliemo), Sesto Bruscantini (Don Alfonso).

Naxos Historical 8.111232-34 (mono)

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Böhm/Schwarzkopf/Ludwig (EMI CMS5 67382-2)

CMS5 67382-2

A perfect cast and immaculate conducting make this the recording of choice.

Philharmonia Chorus, Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Karl Böhm, 1962.

Cast: Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (Fiordiligi), Christa Ludwig (Dorabella), Hannelore Steffek (Despina), Alfredo Kraus (Ferrando), Giuseppe Taddei (Gugliemo), Walter Berry (Don Alfonso).

EMI CMS5 67382-2

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Schörg/Souez/Helletsgruber (Naxos Historical 8.110280-81)


A recording from 1934-35, with slightly boxy sound.

Conducted by Regina Schörg, 1934-35.

Cast: Ina Souez (Fiordiligi), Luise Helletsgruber (Dorabella), Irene Eisinger (Despina), Heddle Nash (Ferrando).

Naxos Historical 8.110280-81 (mono)

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Recommended recordings on DVD

Fischer/Persson/Vondung (Opus Arte OA 0970 D)

OA 0970 D

A superb traditional production that perfectly captures the beauty and humour of Mozart's masterpiece. A live performance from the Glyndebourne Opera House in 2006.

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Glyndebourne Chorus, conducted by Iván Fischer, 2006.

Cast: Miah Persson (Fiordiligi), Anke Vondung (Dorabella), Ainhoa Garmendia (Despina), Topi Lehtipuu (Ferrando).

Opus Arte OA 0970 D

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Muti/Dessi/Ziegler (Opus Arte OA LS3006 D)

OA LS3006 D

A fine performance with beautiful sets, but the filming makes it seem rather theatrical.

Milan La Scala Chorus, Milan La Scala Orchestra, conducted by Riccardo Muti, 1989.

Cast: Daniela Dessi (Fiordiligi), Delores Ziegler (Dorabella), Adelina Scarabelli (Despina), Jozef Kundlák (Ferrando), Alessandro Corbelli (Gugliemo), Claudio Desderi (Don Alfonso).

Opus Arte OA LS3006 D

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Also included in the boxed set:
The La Scala Opera Collection

Pritchard/Doese/Lindenstrand (Arthaus Musik 101 081)

101 081

This version makes use of close camera work to create a sense of imvolvement, and the humour is just right. The cast is excellent, and Despinsa is especially good. The only shortcoming is the image quality.

London Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Festival Chorus, conducted by John Pritchard, 1975.

Cast: Helena Doese (Fiordiligi), Sylvia Lindenstrand (Dorabella), Daniele Perriers (Despina), Anson Austin (Ferrando), Thomas Allen (Gugliemo), Frantz Petri (Don Alfonso).

Arthaus Musik 101 081