Mozart: La clemenza di Tito (Nicky Spence et al)
Nicky Spence, Simona Šaturová et al; Chœur Accentus; Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie/Ben Glassberg (Alpha Classics)
La clemenza di Tito
Nicky Spence, Simona Šaturová, Chiara Skerath, Antoinette Dennefeld, David Steffens; Chœur Accentus; Opéra de Rouen Haute-Normandie/Ben Glassberg
Alpha Classics ALPHA793 113:14 mins (2 discs)
In recent decades La clemenza di Tito has come into its own, and this November 2020 recording will add to its popularity. The title-role is difficult to cast, but Nicky Spence has the range, the fluency and the technique to bring off all the vocal challenges while equally entering fully into the character’s plight. Depicted as an ideal ruler, Tito is an individual of generosity of spirit who finds that his position allows him to trust no one. The accompanied recitatives in which Spence expresses his conflicted position are highlights.
Equally finely realised is the role of Tito’s closest friend, Sesto, delivered by Anna Stéphany with expertise and tonal richness, as well as exceptional understanding: the pain of the young man’s betrayal comes over strongly. Simona Šaturová proves a shade laid back for the villainous Vitellia, her lower register underpowered and her overall approach requiring more intensity. Antoinette Dennefeld’s Annio and Chiara Skerath’s Servilia are both excellent, while David Steffens makes something notable out of the often no-more-than-functional role of Publio.
Superintending the music is rising star conductor Ben Glassberg, working with the impressive orchestral and choral forces (the latter augmented by Choeur Accentus) of the Opéra de Rouen Normandie, where he is music director. With his ideal choice of tempos and keen sense of balance, his interpretation reveals all the virtues of Mozart’s score.