This is Mozart done on a very grand opera scale, especially so with the female leads. Fleming and von Otter sing as beautifully and musically as one would expect, but in spirit this performance seems more like Verdi, with the grand gestures and florid vocalization, than my taste for Mozart opera, especially this one, which is with a sense of intimacy. It all depends on how you like it, because for what it is, it is generally quite well done.
Some flaws, though. Solti, no surprise, seems to drive the work along a bit much, and the change in emotional quality in the music is frequently glossed over. While the ladies sound great, only Despina seems really characterized in many ways, and while the gents do a better job of 'acting' in their vocalization, I can't say the really stand out in comparison with other records. For the grand opera manner with still a sense of intimacy there is the incomparable von Karajan recording with Leopold Simoneau as the greatest Ferrando one will hear on record, singing so beautifully that in comparison I can't imagine what others hear to praise in Lopardo. Another wonferful Ferrando is Rainer Trost, with Gardiner's period performance, which also features outstanding work by Rodney Gilfry. Like his set, that one is also a live performance, a fully-staged opera recording, yet with far fewer interruptions for applause after arias, which do create a drag in this set as it goes along. Fine, in general, but not nearly one to listen to consistently.