COMPOSERS: Mozart,Rossini & Donizetti
WORKS: Duets by Mozart, Rossini & Donizetti
PERFORMER: Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel; Accademia di Santa Cecilia Orchestra/ Myung-Whun Chung
CATALOGUE NO: 458 928-2
‘Cecilia & Bryn’: how touchingly cosy and familiar. A CD cover with no difficult surnames, let alone mention of the composers or the titles of the operas from which these duets are taken. Still, as a recital this is a lot of fun: extracts from works by Mozart, Rossini and Donizetti, played with exhilarating verve and lucency. And this particular dream team, unquestionably among the outstanding singers of their generation, is on top form, even if there are moments when the singers’ shameless overacting begins to rile.
In Figaro and Susanna’s Act I duet ‘Se a caso madama la notte ti chiama’, their mugging is virtually audible, while ‘Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Papageno’, with its self-consciously aspirated pa-s, is unbearably winsome. But there is no better singer of Rossini than Bartoli, and the coloratura runs in ‘Ai capricci…’ from L’italiana in Algeri and especially in ‘Dunque io son…’ from Il barbiere, which she takes considerably faster than when she sang it with Patanè in 1989, are as thrilling as anything she’s recorded. Claire Wrathall