Mozart: Concert Arias
Though the composer featured on Rolando Villazón’s disc could scarcely be more famous, it seems unlikely that many listeners will know these ten arias. Produced throughout Mozart’s creative life, they comprise either individual concert arias, or items written to be inserted into other people’s scores, or others intended for operas Mozart himself planned but did not complete – such as Lo sposo deluso, which he began and then abandoned around 1783. All prove worth hearing, with ‘Dove mai trovar quel ciglio’ from Lo sposo worthy to slot into Così fan tutte, while the deeply serious ‘Misero! O sogno o son desto?’ is an exceptional example of Mozart in full tragic mode; even the very earliest piece here, composed in London when he was just nine, displays quite extraordinary gifts.
In range and vocal size, Villazón is better suited to Mozart than some of the Romantic scores he has previously sung, even if the very top and bottom of his tenor are less refulgent than his middle register. But he brings enthusiasm and character to everything he sings. He is briefly but memorably partnered by a bass, one Antonio Pappano, in a patter duet added to Piccinni’s L’astratto (See ‘Background to’ below).