Mozart: Piano Concertos Nos 11, 20 & 21Recitatives and arias from Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte

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COMPOSERS: Mozart
LABELS: DG
WORKS: Recitatives and arias from Don Giovanni, Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte
PERFORMER: Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass-baritone); Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino/Gianandrea Noseda
CATALOGUE NO: DG 477 9297

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Mozart, declares Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, is the composer who inspired in him the passion for music and for his career. The velvety patina and fierce core strength of the Italian bass-baritone is on show here in a patterning of both popular operatic and rarer concert arias. The very first track epitomises D’Arcangelo’s approach in this compilation, recorded a year ago with the ready sparkle of Gianandrea Noseda’s Turin orchestra. He shifts from the expression of astonishment to regret, from pride to shame within Leporello’s ‘Catalogue’ aria; but what comes over is the considered nuance of the studio, rather than dramatic vraisemblance.

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D’Arcangelo perhaps needs the sniff of greasepaint to sharpen his instincts: to distinguish, too, between the dark-hued, threatening anger of Figaro’s ‘Se vuol ballare’ and the raging of the Count in ‘Vedro mentr’io sospiro’. Don Giovanni’s ‘Deh, vieni alla finestra’ is a proud, aristocratic, but not particularly seductive serenade. D’Arcangelo is more eloquent in one of the rarely performed concert arias here, the delectable ‘Per questa bella mano’, for bass and obbligato double bass. Hilary Finch