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Juan Diego Flórez performs extracts from operas by Mozart

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Extracts from Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Il re pastore, Don Giovanni, La clemenza di Tito, Così fan Tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Don Giovanni; Misero! Misero! O sogno…
Juan Diego Flórez (tenor); Orchestra La Scintilla/Riccardo Minasi
Sony Classical 88985430862


Notwithstanding the publicity around this recording, Juan Diego Flórez’s Mozart CD marks no dramatic development in his artistic profile. It’s not, in fact, his first-ever Mozart recording (in Decca’s starry 1998 Mitridate he took part as Marzio); nor is it his first-ever venture into 18th century Classical opera (his 1996 La Scala debut was in Gluck’s Armide, and during the last decade he’s championed widely Gluck’s Orphée). In any case, the gap of substance and style is hardly significant between Mozartian heroes like Idomeneo and Tito, and the tenor leads of Rossini’s serious and semi-serious operas in which some of the Peruvian tenor’s momentous early successes were achieved.

What does stand out about the disc, an exhilarating listening experience almost throughout its absurdly short duration, is the mature warmth of musico-dramatic approach informing both singing and characterisation. These accounts of Idomeneo’s ‘Fuor del mar’ (climaxed with a ringing top D) and Tito’s ‘Se dal impero’, with their famously terror-inducing semiquaver flourishes, are not just thrilling: in every word and note the characters’ kingly stature is defined.

For some listeners’ tastes, a want of traditional Mozartian mellifluousness may count against Flórez’s ‘Un’aura amorosa’, ‘Dalla sua pace’, and his Zauberflöte portrait aria (sung in carefully studied German). Throughout, though, his combination of technical brilliance and imaginative sentience, of long- breathed phrasing and fearless attack across the tenor compass, makes this a superb and splendid achievement. The Orchestra La Scintilla (members of the Zurich Opera Orchestra) under Riccardo Minasi make a fine contribution to this altogether excellent album.

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Max Loppert