Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Leh‡r

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Gluck,Handel,Lehar,Mozart
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Great Operatic Arias Ð Diana Montague 2
WORKS: Arias & ensembles by Mozart, Gluck, Handel, Lehár, (in English)
PERFORMER: Diana Montague, etc; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, LPO/Walter Weller, Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3093
This second collection of the British mezzo singing in English plays to her strengths. Her voice sounds fresh and mobile (even though the recorded quality is distant and a touch cloudy) and the wide-ranging repertoire traverses several areas where she has had significant success. There’s a good deal of Mozart, for instance, with her Cherubino eager and responsive to words, and her Sesto (La clemenza di Tito) forthright and expressive, the final flamboyant phrases delivered with an energy that never hardens into the mechanical. Dorabella’s ‘Torture and agony’ from Così fan tutte is dramatically vivid as well as musically scrupulous.

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Two Handel items suit her very well, and she moves over to the lighter side with skill in three operetta numbers. Orlofsky’s soigné elegance comes across in his aria from Fledermaus, with Montague successfully avoiding the ‘whooping’ effect often caused by the tricky tessitura. Here, and in the numbers from The Merry Widow and Der Opernball, Walter Weller’s Viennese pedigree ensures stylish delivery of the accompaniments.

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Perhaps best of all are the items from Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, which show how well her high mezzo has responded to the occasional soprano assignment. George Hall