Mozart: Il re pastore

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LABELS: Teldec Das Alte Werk
WORKS: Il re pastore
PERFORMER: Roberto Saccà, Ann Murray, Eva Mei, Inga Nielsen, Markus Schäfer Concentus Musicus Wien/Nikolaus Harnoncourt
CATALOGUE NO: 4509-98419-2
Mozart wrote Il re pastore only a few months after La finta giardiniera in 1775 and, following on from his three previous opere serie, Mitridate, Ascanio in Alba and Lucio Silla, it was his last completed early opera before his succession of masterpieces beginning with Idomeneo. Harnoncourt is a driven man in this live recording. Concentus Musicus and all the singers deliver strong and musically rewarding performances but there is always an awareness that Harnoncourt is trying to provide this work with a dramatic impetus which perhaps it cannot quite sustain. The singing of the tenor roles is assured and well characterised by Saccà (Alessandro) and Schäfer (Agenore). Mei is a honeyed, sweet-edged Elisa with great technical assurance in her Act II ‘Barbaro! oh Dio mi vedi’. Nielsen’s vibrant Tamiri is most impressive in the demanding arpeggiated drama of ‘Se tu di me fai dono’ but the vocal star is Murray as Aminta – originally a soprano castrato part. She is in stunning, sumptuous voice. The Act II Rondeaux ‘L’amerò, sarò costante’, taken at an unbelievably slow tempo, provides the most exquisite, sustained singing on this recording. This is the only period-instrument performance currently available, but an excellent Philips/Marriner set was released in 1991. Elise McDougall