OK, cool, AC Douglas, since you *did* show a hint of admitting to being wrong - hehehe, it's the faintest of the faintest of hints, one must say, but still, a hint it is - I take back my charge.
As for you never being wrong here before, well, like I said, I strongly disagree, since I thought you were guilty of a sweeping and unwarranted generalization on the Norse studies issue (yep, you won't see it, but it is true), and I remain SHOCKED that you don't see the close-to-perfect marriage between music and text (Mozart having issued both poignant and playful music at ALL the right moments) in Così fan tutte - a position that is not only mine, but is shared by many experts in the operatic field (which in itself is no guarantee of it being the right one, of course, but I'm quoting these other opinions just to point to the fact that I'm not alone in this assertion).
And third mistake you've committed in my humble opinion, since the text of Così was ready when it ever got to Mozart (and was initially intended to another composer, Salieri), one just CAN'T sustain that in this specific case Mozart did anything different than illustrating it with music, since the sequence of creation in this case went in another direction, and that's a historical fact. Sure, Mozart *habitually* proceeded in the opposite order, helped by his extreme musical genius and operatic talent, to compose his music as the driving force of the drama, but unfortunately for your argumentation (and this is why I've sustained from the beginning that Così is an exception, where Mozart was unable to work with the librettist throughout the creation process for the simple fact that it was all already done when he got to it), it just didn't work this way in Così, a fact that you seemed to indicate yourself when you said that Mozart was left with little room to maneuver.
So, in my account, you were wrong three times, already. But sure, at least one of these is a matter of opinion (although the cleverness of the musical drama structure of Così is *demonstrable,* and there are scholarly works out there that do just that, pointing to the fact that in various occasions this *comedy* contains music of incredible poignancy, indicating how well Mozart was able to read the text and to find the EXACT points where the drama of the human condition was just below the surface of the jokes in Da Ponte's spectacular libretto) - you find that The Magic Flute is superior to Così; sure, you're entitled to your opinion although I certainly don't share it and it *is* a bit of apples and oranges given the different structure of a Singspiel (and I am the one who was defending The Magic Flute one of these days, but I do place it 4th, with Idomeneo a close 5th) - just, I'm still puzzled at how someone would say that the 3rd - or even 4th - best MOZART opera for Pete's sake is "a relative failure." Like I said, if that's being a failure although relative, give me more failures like that any day.
Yes, Le Nozze *is* closer to perfection than Così (and it is one of the top 5 for me, all operas considered - among the four German/Austrian ones I was quoting in my preference - the list is completed by the Ring taken as one, Tristan und Isolde, Giulio Cesare, and Les Troyens), but Così is still *pretty close to perfection* and only a small notch below Le Nozze and Don Giovanni, to qualify in my opinion as "a relative failure." Sure, it depends on where one sets the bar, and you seem to set it incredibly high to be able to still see this masterpiece as flawed in any way - even in a relative way. But you're entitled to setting the bar as high as you want, I give you this.
Anyway, like others pointed out here, it's a matter of opinion and I shouldn't be mocking yours - I should not have included emoticons... I guess I'm guilty for the second time of less than civil behavior towards you.
I want Opera Lively to be a place where differences of opinion can be healthily and respectfully debated and I've been less than stellar in setting the example. Certainly it helps bringing down the irritation that has pushed me to excesses when the opponent is a bit more willing to see the other side's points, but I'll try to keep in mind that *I* should be setting the bar very high, and will do my best in the future to refrain from any mocking stance - I apologize for the emoticons, and will delete them from my previous post. [PS: Done.]
On the other hand, one must commend you for being very rigorous, no doubt about it. And hey, like you said before, being on opposite camps can be *fun* and Opera Lively can use some more debate - at one point this place was a bit sleepy - so your contribution is welcome. Here goes a good emoticon, for a change:
And like I said, we should definitely go back to Regie, or else we would have to move these posts to a new thread on the merits and shortcomings (if they can be proven) of Così fan tutte.