Mozart: Arias and overtures from The Marriage of Figaro; Don Giovanni; Così fan tutte; and La Finta Giardiniera; Salieri: Arias from Falstaff; La scuola de’ gelosi; Axur, re d’Ormus; and La grotta di Trofonio
Adam Plachetka (bass-baritone); Czech Ensemble Baroque/Roman Válek
Pentatone PTC 5187 022 58:44 mins
Molieri is simply an amalgam of Mozart and Salieri, a name on which the Czech bass-baritone can hang his album collating their works. Antonio Salieri (1750-1825), notwithstanding his fictionalised portrayal in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, was widely admired in his lifetime – indeed, much more successful than Mozart in 1780s Vienna.
Adam Plachetka is a widely experienced singer, especially of the Mozart roles heard here, to all of which he brings a handsome, healthy tone, firm diction and a sense of character. Several arias include apt decorations and, where appropriate, his own cadenzas: highlights include extracts from both the Count and Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, and both Giovanni and Leporello in Don Giovanni. He brings the same virtues to the Salieri extracts – arias from comic operas such as La scuola de’ gelosi (1779), La grotta di Trofonio(1785) and Falstaff (1799), plus two of the villainous title character’s numbers from the tragicomic Axur, re d’Ormus (1788), whose libretto by Da Ponte derived from Salieri’s anti-monarchical French opera Tarare (1786), for which Beaumarchais was librettist. The solid quality of the Czech Ensemble Baroque under Roman Válek, meanwhile, is evidenced in a couple of overtures, the familiar Figaro, plus a powerful account of Salieri’s dramatic introduction to La grotta di Trofonio.