The golden age for recordings of Mozart's operas was the '50s and '60s. Even Così fan tutte, the last and least popular of his collaborations with librettist Lorenzo da Ponte, received two superlative sets: Karajan and the Philharmonia's stylish 1954 EMI recording with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Nan Merriman, Rolando Panerai, Léopold Simoneau, Sesto Bruscantini, and Lisa Otto and Karl Böhm and the Philharmonia's classic 1962 EMI recording with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Christa Ludwig, Alfredo Kraus, Giuseppe Taddei, Walter Berry, and Hanny Steffek.
The same year as EMI's Böhm/Philharmonia recording, Deutsche Grammophon released this set with Eugen Jochum leading the Berliner Philharmoniker and the RIAS-Kammerchor with Irmgard Seefried, Nan Merriman, Hermann Prey, Ernst Haefliger, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and Erika Köth. Unfortunately, while there are many, many fine things about this performance -- Seefried's Fiorgiligi is achingly beautiful, Prey's Guglielmo is believably naïve, the Berlin Philharmonic is effortlessly elegant, and Jochum himself is a master of Mozart's unique balance of the mundane and the sublime -- there are some less than fine things -- Merriman is not quite creditable as Dorabella, Haefliger is a bit too sweet as Ferrando, and Fischer-Dieskau is oddly bland as Don Alfonso. In sum, while every listener needs to hear the 1962 Böhm and most listeners need to hear the 1954 Karajan, unless they are deeply devoted to the work, not every listener needs to hear this 1962 Jochum. DG's stereo sound was clear, cool, and crisp in its day, and it sounds as good as ever in this digital remastering.