WORKS: Le nozze di Figaro
PERFORMER: Lucio Gallo, Karita Mattila, Marie McLaughlin, Michele Pertusi, Monica BacelliMaggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra & Chorus/Zubin Mehta
CATALOGUE NO: S3K 53286 DDD
The main reasons for Sony’s new Figaro must be that they have gathered together a largely young cast and that Mozart is new territory on disc for Zubin Mehta, here on home ground with the Chorus and Orchestra of the Florence Maggio Musicale. Despite Mehta’s energising sense of pace and colour, consistently good orchestral playing and some excellent singing, this would not be a first choice. The recording provides a full version of Mozart’s score, including Basilio’s and Marcellina’s arias and, as an appendix, an alternative version of the Count’s Act III aria (which may or may not be true Mozart).
Michele Pertusi is a delightfully fresh-sounding Figaro, giving an introspective yet generally sturdy interpretation. Lucio Gallo’s Count and Monica Bacelli’s Cherubino are well sung and effectively characterised but fail to ignite as individual performances. McLaughlin’s Susanna has been well-honed in the theatre and she delivers the necessary mix of charm, fire and guile with exquisitely turned phrases. However, her ‘Deh, vieni’ is somewhat spoiled by unstylish scooping. The smaller parts are strongly cast, particularly Basilio and Marcellina, but Karita Mattila’s Countess is a big disappointment. Her Italian can be dicey, her tone variable, from occasional radiance to a forced shrillness; and her pitch is suspect. Solti’s cast on Decca (another full version of the score) will still take some beating. Elise McDougall