Loves Me… Loves Me Not… Arias by Gluck and Mozart

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COMPOSERS: Gluck,Mozart
LABELS: BIS
ALBUM TITLE: Loves Me… Loves Me Not…
WORKS: Arias by Gluck and Mozart
PERFORMER: Camilla Tilling (soprano); Musica Saeculorum/Philipp von Steinaecker
CATALOGUE NO: BIS-2234 (hybrid CD/SACD)

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In this outstandingly accomplished selection of 18th-century operatic arias, Camilla Tilling demonstrates just how rewarding such albums can be when executed with the most genuine kind of musico-dramatic artistry. The eminent Swedish soprano intersperses – not in entirely logical order – familiar Mozart with slightly less familiar Gluck to showcase some of their most fully-fleshed female characterisations: Gluck’s Euridice, Armide and the Tauride Iphigénie, Mozart’s Ilia, Susanna, the Countess and Fiordiligi. It’s an idea followed through with the sort of fine-grained delivery – in equal part vocal and verbal, whether in French or Italian – that results in a parade of ‘real people’ stepping out in three dimensions before the listener’s delighted ears.

Tilling’s fresh-sounding soprano is, on this showing, a protean Classical instrument – not lush-toned, maybe on the light side for Gluck’s enchantress Armide and high priestess Iphigénie, but everywhere employed with such unassailable technical mastery, such control of breath support and easy flow of phrase, that not even the extravagant high-and-low flourishes of Fiordiligi’s ‘Come scoglio’ emerge flustered or short-changed. But it’s the sense each performance creates that all these women have been lived in ‘on the inside’ that makes this CD a truly remarkable achievement. The youthful Italian-Tyrolese period band’s dedicated accompaniments form an inseparable element.

Max Loppert 

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Listen to an excerpt from this recording here.