Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Christopher Hogwood, The Academy of Ancient Music|
Mozart - La clemenza di Tito / Bartoli · Heilmann · D. Jones · Montague · Cachemaille · Bonney · AAM · Hogwood
This is an opera seria, the same kind of opera composed by Handel a half-century earlier and many others in the century before him. It was already very old-fashioned when Mozart took it up (on a royal commission, an offer ... more »
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This is an opera seria, the same kind of opera composed by Handel a half-century earlier and many others in the century before him. It was already very old-fashioned when Mozart took it up (on a royal commission, an offer he couldn't refuse), finishing it only a few months before his death. The plot is creaky: Vitellia, angry that Tito (the Emperor Titus) plans to marry another woman, coaxes Sesto (who is hopelessly in love with her) to assassinate Tito. While the plot inches forward (Sesto is very reluctant--Tito is such a good guy), Tito changes his mind and decides to marry Vitellia, who tries, unsuccessfully, to call the assassination off. Tito is stabbed but survives and forgives everybody. There are subplots. This unlikely story inspired some of the greatest music Mozart ever composed--music that breathed new life into the rickety opera seria form. Christopher Hogwood has assembled a superb array of specialists to perform with his period-instrument orchestra and do this underappreciated opera musical and stylistic justice. --Joe McLellan
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Pity about Bartoli
Gerardo Cabrera Munoz | México | 12/16/1999
(2 out of 5 stars)
"After hearing Cecilia Bartoli's excellent recording of Mozart's Mitridate Re di Ponto conducted by Christophe Roussett, I can only wish he had been available for this recording. Hogwood can be a very ordinary and boring conductor, this is certainly not his worst recording, but he hardly does justice to this great Mozart opera. Even worse is Della Jones, what a hideous voice!. The german tenor is fine, and Bartoli almost saves the show, what a pity about her colleagues. I also prefer the Gardiner recording, Sir John is not only a competent conductor, but a great one, his live recording is very exciting, and extremely well played. His cast surpasses Hogwood's by far, quite simply there is no contest between Ms. Fischer-Dieskau and Della Jones as Vittelia, Anthony Rolfe Johnson is more commanding than Uwe Heilmann and has a sweeter voice. Between Bartoli and Von Otter it is more difficult to choose, both are extraordinary mozarteans. But all Mozart operas are ensemble operas, and all around Gardiner wins hands down"
Bartoli deserved better.
Gerardo Cabrera Munoz | 09/21/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"La Clemenza di Tito has been very lucky on disc. From the 2 great performances Teresa Berganza left us, with Kertesz (DECCA) and Bohm (DG) up to this one, no recording of this work is really bad. Christopher Hogwood is his usual British self. Very prim and proper, and a little bit boring. The real tragedy of this set is the unacceptable performance of Della Jones as Vittelia. I can't understand how DECCA can present such an unpresentable performance. The voice is hard and uninteresting, her performance just silly. Cecilia Bartoli on the other hand, is exceptional as expected. She is the real heir to the incomparable Teresa Berganza. What a pity DECCA didn't think of Charlotte Margiono. For a period performance of La Clemenza di Tito I much prefer Sir John Eliot Gardiner's recording in ARCHIV. Anne Sofie von Otter is also very good, but the sensational performance in this set is Julia Varady's fiery, Callas-like, Vittelia. For her alone, I would own this set."
A formidable advocacy of La Cemenza di Tito
Steven Guy | Croydon, South Australia | 09/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this recording nearly a decade ago and it still excites me.
Back in 1992 I worked in a music shop in Melbourne. I remember a young man I worked with, John, telling me that he thought La Clemenza di Tito was a retrograde step for Mozart. John thought is was too much of a step back into the world of the Baroque, what with its Opera Seria stylings, castrati and Metastasio libretto.
Well, I am a lover of Baroque opera, so I wasn't put off at all.
Right from the first moments of the overture of this recording, it is apparent that this is very much an "alive" and vibrant recording. The Academy of Ancient Music is in excellent form on this recording and the soloist are also well chosen and engaged with the whole enterprise of bringing about a fresh and HIP approach to this often neglected work.
Tenor, Uwe Heilman, makes a rather gentle Tito. His voice has a rather fragile and vulnerable quality to it. Perhaps a little too much vibrato here and there, but his actual sound is rather nice.
Cecilia Bartoli is excellent for and her Sesto is powerful and lively. Barbara Bonney impressed me, too, but then, she usually does. The rest of the cast is very good. The chorus sings with great effect.
Christopher Hogwood is one of those conductors who does like to let the music and the musicians live together in harmony and he seems to like to impose as little on what the composer wrote as possible. Of course, there is a very sound and rational interpretation of the work going on in this recording, but Hogwood does not try to make this a "HOGWOOD-first, Mozart (second)" recording. Alas, some conductors, like René Jacobs for instance, seem to see themselves as being more important than the composer, the music and the even the musicians.
I bought this recording in 1995 or '96, I can't quite remember, and I listened to it endlessly in my car, at home and at my parents' place over a cool glass of wine or three with my mother and father. Good times!
I have never felt tempted to buy another recording (I have multiple recordings of ALL the other major Mozart operas).