Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Arleen Auger, Barbara Hendricks, Christine Weidinger|
Mozart: Early Italian Operas [Box Set]
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Great Set of Five Early Mozart Operas
Strephon | Montana, USA | 03/27/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This set contains five early Mozart Operas in Italian. This is a re-release of the Complete Mozart Edition on Phillips with no libretti or translations.
The set includes La Finta Semplice, Mitridate, Ascanio in Alba, Il Sogno di Scipione and Lucio Silla all performed on modern instruments.
Semplice is a opera Buffa, but the rest are Da Capo style operas like the operas of Handel or Vivaldi. On these particular recordings the da capo section of music (or repeat) is not embellished or ornamented.
Mitridate is a well played and exciting piece. Arleen Auger as Aspasia and Agnes Baltsa as Farnace stand out. Ileana Cotrubas as Ismene and David Kuebler as Marzio are also particularly stunning vocally. This team really shines in act three.
Ascanio in Alba is taken a bit too slow. Esentially this is a choral ballet -- a celebration in music. There is not much of a plot. The modern instrument sound and the lack of informed historical singing (lighter voices, ornamentation) really dampen the festive nature of the piece.
Il Sogno di Scipione is a worthwhile addition to any Mozart fan's collection. I've not heard a bad recording yet (check out Von der Goltz for the best interpretation or Wentz for another gem.) On this particular recording Edita Gruberova and Lucia Popp tackle the beautiful and long arias with grace and skill. Schreier handels the coloratura with ease, which most tenors struggle with. This record contains both versions of the Licenza's aria. As with the other operas on this set there are modern instruments and a lack of da capo ornaments, but it merely presents a unique interpretation of this rare piece rather than detracting from the music.
Lucio Silla is presented in full, and is the only unabridged recording of this opera available. The singers are all very skilled and include Arleen Auger, Julia Varady and Peter Schreier. Besides the heavier sound the modern instruments bring, the opera is skillfully presented. The only drawback being the oftentimes obscene length of the arias with no hope for ornaments or variation.
I have not heard La Finta Semplice and cannot comment on it.
This CD set is a fine place to find good to great performances of the lesser known operas of Mozart in one package. The texts to the plays are sadly missed, however, because of the rarity of these pieces. After a while non-Italian speakers sort of want to know what's going on.
If you already know what's going on, though, or want to hear some quality singing, this is a great set to add to your collection."