This is a sun-lit – rather than sun-drenched – production, high on nuance as well as rejoicing in the more farcical moments. The resolution of the unresolved ending works well; you believe that Fiordiligi as well as Guglielmo face a real crisis of emotion, Despina is left wondering if money really does solve problems and that Don Alfonsa’s Rousseauesque philosopher pose might cover altogether more disturbing manipulative aims.
Ramm copes equally well with the fireworks of “Come scoglio” and the heartbreak of “Per pieta” and leads the concerted numbers with passion and precision. From her first appearance, engrossed in a book, you understand that this is the sister from Ferrara who thinks. Cirillo bubbles charmingly in her second scene duet, makes the most of “Smanie implacabili” and flirts away through “Il core vi dono” in a fashion guaranteed to break any heart.
The two officers are nicely contrasted. Jacques Imbrailo is an engaging Guglielmo, throwing himself completely into the role-playing dictated by the terms of the bet and gloating just a fraction too soon at Fiordiligi’s apparent constancy. As Ferrando Andrew Tortise produces a lyrical tenor with a firm line for both “Un’aura amorosa” and “Tradito, schernito”. Both voices blend well for the trios and quintets. Riccardo Novaro as Alfonso has a big voice, perhaps too much so for this Mozart role, but he contrasts effectively with the pawns he plays on love (and life)'s chessboard.
Mihai is more than just a traditional buffa ladies’ maid. Her Despina really has a social chip on one pert shoulder and she displays it with “In uomini, in soldati” as well as her (thankfully) not over-caricatured disguises as doctor and notary. Conductor Patrick Lange, employing a fortepiano continuo played by Susanna Stranders, is sympathetic to his singers bur perhaps less so to his orchestral players. The overture initially suggested more of a belly-laugh than a sophisticated chuckle.
- Anne Morley-Priestman