Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (sung in English)

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Die Entführung aus dem Serail (sung in English)
PERFORMER: Mattiwilda Dobbs, Jenifer Eddy, Nicolai Gedda, John Fryatt; Ambrosian Singers, Bath Festival Orchestra/Yehudi Menuhin
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3081(2) ADD Reissue (1967)
If you fancy Mozart’s harem Singspiel in English, this 1967 recording should fit the bill nicely. Above all it feels like a real performance, with the cast speaking their own dialogue pretty convincingly (some over-genteel accents apart) and striking sparks off one another. Mattiwilda Dobbs’s bright, soubrettish voice sounds a size too light for Konstanze (and too similar to Jenifer Eddy’s likeable Blonde), though she sings and characterises gamely. Gedda’s virile Belmonte avoids the trap of wimpishness; John Fryatt is an ideally resourceful, bright-eyed Pedrillo; and Noel Mangin makes a jolly Osmin, short on malevolence but always a charismatic comic presence. Menuhin conducts Mozart’s lavish score with spirit and affection (if without appoggiaturas and ornaments), and the recording, though balancing the voices very closely, still sounds fresh. Richard Wigmore