LABELS: Deutsche Grammophon
ALBUM TITLE: Mozart
WORKS: Le nozze di Figaro
PERFORMER: Thomas Hampson, Sonya Yoncheva, Luca Pisaroni, Christiane Karg, Angela Brower, Anne Sofie von Otter, Maurizio Muraro, Rolando Villazón, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, Philippe Sly; Vocalensemble Rastatt; Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ Yannick Nézet-Séguin
CATALOGUE NO: DG 479 5945
This is the fourth Mozart opera recorded by the Villazón/Nézet-Séguin team, the others being Don Giovanni (2012), Così fan tutte (2013) and Die Entführung (2015). As we have come to expect from the vivacious Spaniard and experienced French-Canadian orchestral conductor the performance is fast-paced and dramatically focused. Occasionally the orchestral articulation could be better. The overture, for example, is very fast but the brass swamps the woodwind, and the phrasing does not always follow Mozart’s nuanced instructions (unlike with Teodor Currentzis on Sony Classical, whose overture is just as fast but does). However, it is very welcome that all of the surviving arias are recorded here, notwithstanding the fact that some (for Basilio and Marcellina in Act IV for example) were probably cut in the premiere.
The singers are to be commended for the alert realism of their recitatives and their interactive characterisations. Thomas Hampson is a rock-steady Count (except in the triplet runs of ‘Vedrò mentr’io sospiro’), and Sonya Yoncheva gives the Countess some real passion in ‘Dove sono’ and elsewhere, though tenderness is not an obvious quality in her voice. Luca Pisaroni’s Figaro is confident and spirited but sometimes needs at little more menace (‘Se vuol ballare’), and Christiane Karg as Susanna is agile though I did wonder whether it was wise to sing ‘Venite inginochiatevi’ as if it were a lyrical aria rather than a set of instructions to Cherubino (a role nicely sung by Angela Brower). Villazón’s Basilio is characteristically vivid but Sofie Von Otter does not seem quite comfortable as Marcellina.