ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
PERFORMER: Jane Archibald, Norman Reinhardt, Mischa Schelomianski, David Portillo, Rachele Gilmore, Christoph Quest; Ensemble Aedes; Le Cercle de l’harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer
CATALOGUE NO: Alpha 242
This is a live recording made at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris in 2015. It has a certain drive, the sound is mostly alert (with some moments of murkiness from the orchestra), and the inclusion of applause adds atmosphere. Not surprisingly the long Singspiel spoken text has been substantially cut. Jérémie Rhorer is an experienced Mozartian conductor, but on this occasion his tempos are not always under control (in the hectic race between Osmin and the orchestra in ‘Ha! Wie will ich triumphren’ the orchestra won).
That leaves us with the singers. Jane Archibald (Konstanze) is agile and blends well with Belmonte even if, in the notoriously long and difficult ‘Marten aller Arten’, her voice becomes strained. (The singer at Mozart’s premiere, Caterina Cavalieri, seems to have forced him to write this over-blown piece in imitation of a show-stopper she had recently sung in Umlauf’s Der Bergknappen). Norman Reinhardt (Belmonte) has a pleasing, ‘open’ voice, and in ‘Wenn der Freude’ for example, his understanding of the words makes up for Mozart’s slightly anonymous style at that point. David Portillo (Pedrillo) and Rachele Gilmore (Blonde) are both good – the former’s narrative sense is especially evident in ‘In Mohrenland’, and the latter’s stratospheric high notes in ‘Durch Zärtlichkeit’ are impressive (though they do not float quite so effortlessly as Patricia Petibon’s in William Christie’s recording on Erato). The Russian bass Mischa Schelomianski (Osmin) is sonorous and sometimes menacing, and perhaps he was humorous on stage, but one could not sense that in the voice alone.