ALBUM TITLE: Mozart: Opera & Concert Arias
WORKS: Opera and concert arias: includes Aer tranquillo; Giunse alfin il momento… Deh vieni, non tardar; Ch’io mi scordi di te?… Non temer amato bene; Misera dove son! …Ah, non son io che parlo
PERFORMER: Karina Gauvin (soprano); Les Violons du Roy/Bernard Labadie; Benedetto Lupo (piano); André Moisan (basset horn)
CATALOGUE NO: ACD2 2636
This random assortment of Mozartian sweetmeats is low-calorie lightweight in every respect. There are just 10 tracks (two of them the overtures to Lucio Silla and La clemenza di Tito); and the playing of the Quebec-based ensemble, Les Violons du Roy, is lightly sprung, light-textured, and with nothing ever over-pointed or over-urged.
The Canadian Baroque specialist Karin Gauvin is also a true soprano-lite. With only the lightest diaphragm support at the extremes of her register, she has barely enough heft for Aminta’s aria ‘Aer tranquillo’ from Il re pastore (originally a castrato showpiece), or for Così’s ‘Come scoglio’. She’s happier as Despina, and as Susanna in a ‘Deh vieni’ in which the voice is hushed like a lightly wafted evening breeze.
Benedetto Lupo is a sweet-toned pianist in the leisurely paced concert aria ‘Non temer, amato bene’, and André Moisan’s basset horn is an eloquent partner for Gauvin as Vitellia in a none too impassioned ‘Non più di fiori’ from La clemenza di Tito. At the end of it all, the listener’s fancy has certainly been tickled; yet one leaves feeling short-changed.