Greco-Russian conductor Teodor Currentzis had caused quite a controversy in the operatic world. Settling in the provincial city of Perm, he formed a historical-instrument (although hardly a historical-performance) group called MusicAeterna and shaped it to reflect his unique musical visions. This release is one of a group of three devoted to Mozart's operas with libretti by Lorenzo da Ponte, whom Currentzis regards as a kind of revolutionary comparable to the most outrageous figures in rock music, and his reading of Così fan tutte is explicitly rock-influenced. This doesn't mean that there are guitars or electric instruments, but listen to some of the overture for an idea: blazing speed, slashing attacks that include bow noise from the strings, and a heavy continuo in the recitatives that at times includes a hurdy-gurdy. Plainly there is no historical evidence for such a practice, and it's safe to say that Currentzis' reading is not the music Mozart heard in his head. There are some pretty well-known singers on this release, including soprano Simone Kermes as Fiordiligi, but they function pretty much as cogs in Currentzis' machinery. The recitatives have a fascinating skittery quality, and when Currentzis does let up on the hell-for-leather intensity, he creates beautifully delicate slow arias. Opinions, both critical and audience-formed, on Currentzis are sharply polarized, and this release will do nothing to change that situation. His backers include the executive staff at Sony Classical, who provide a luxurious hardbound book with libretto of the kind previously only seen on labels that get government support, and sprang for a studio recording in Russia (the edgy sound is well-matched to the concept). Listener reactions to this are necessarily going to be highly subjective, but note that this recording has one trait common to many paradigm-shifting performances: the players seem to be having a great deal of fun, even if (or perhaps because) they probably had to unlearn everything they had been trained in so that they could follow their conductor's instructions.