Although it is commonly held that Così fan tutte was written and composed at the suggestion of the Emperor Joseph II, recent research does not support this idea. There is evidence that Mozart's contemporary Antonio Salieri tried to set the libretto but left it unfinished. In 1994, John Rice uncovered two terzetti by Salieri in the Austrian National Library.
The short title, Così fan tutte, literally means "So do they all", using the feminine plural (tutte) to indicate women. It is usually translated into English as "Women are like that". The words are sung by the three men in act 2, scene 3, just before the finale; this melodic phrase is also quoted in the overture to the opera. Da Ponte had used the line "Così fan tutte le belle" earlier in Le nozze di Figaro (in act 1, scene 7).
Fiordiligi - Karita Mattila
Dorabella - Anne Sofie von Otter
Guglielmo - Thomas Allen
Ferrando - Francisco Araiza
Don Alfonsa - Jose van Dam
Despina - Elzbieta Szmytka
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Sir Neville Marriner - conductor
PHILIPS - 1989