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Opera: Cosi Fan Tutte

Royal Opera House

    There is only one reason to see this ninth revival of Jonathan Miller's production of Mozart's Così Fan Tutte. But it's compelling.

    Sir Colin Davis' conducting is peerless. It's easy to take him for granted, so familiar a presence is he in London's musical life. But you could travel the planet and not find anyone who comes close to Davis in his unforced mastery of every aspect of Mozart style.

    So whatever flaws there may be elsewhere in this revival, they don't matter. Focus on the orchestra and you'll experience a rare privilege.

    Sir Tom Allen is celebrating 40 years at the ROH with this run. They don't show. His Don Alfonso commands the stage. And he has a pert foil in Rosemary Joshua's Despina, beautifully sung and with perfect comic timing.

    But flaws there are, aplenty. The ROH is in desperate need now of a replacement for this tired production. As for the four lovers: they are adequate but no better.

    But really none of this matters. This is Sir Colin's night.

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