Mozart: La clemenza di Tito

COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: Arthaus
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: La clemenza di Tito
PERFORMER: Langridge, Putnam; Glyndebourne Chorus, LPO/Andrew Davis; dir. Nicholas Hytner (Glyndebourne, 1991)
CATALOGUE NO: 100 406
Until recently, Mo/art’s final opera was neglected, but since the Seventies

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several British companies have taken it up, none with more distinction than Glyndebourne in this 1991 production by Nicholas Hytner, which refracts the work’s neo-classical vision through post-modern eyes. The drama — no longer written off as turgid or artificial – comes to vivid life in a series of compelling performances.

Ashley Putnam defines the manipulative Vitellia with a blend of elegance and forcefulness, while the Emperor Titus against whom she constantly plots is given a suitably pensive air by Philip Langndge in an immaculately sung account. The warmth and sincerity of Vitellia’s stooge Sesto is well suggested by Diana Montague, while his friend Annio is touchingly presented by Martine Mahe.

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An unusual feature of the edition was the replacement of the recitatives (probably the work of Mozart’s assistant Stissmayr) by new ones commissioned from Stephen Oliver, which prove extremely stylish. Andrew Davis conducts with a combination of firmness and grace and the LPO is on wonderful form. George Hall