Great ensemble makes for classic recording.
daniel0302 | New York, NY United States | 02/12/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This classic recording -- in mid-price release --is the place to start for any music lover unfamiliar with this magnificent and underrated work. Colin Davis shows his usual flare for Mozart as evidenced in his other Mozart operas on Philips. His cast is uniformly excellent; there is not a single week link or even questionable casting choice here. This is the most satisfying ensemble on any recorded performance currently available. Yvonne Minton sings magnificently as Sesto in an extraordinary performance, the young Frederica von Stade does equally fine work in the supporting role of Annio. Lucia Popp as Servilia is heartbreakingly exquisite; her rendition of "S'alto che lagrime" is so lovely one wants to immeadiately track back and hear it once more. The rest of the cast - Janet Baker, Stuart Burrows, Robert Lloyd - all contribute fine work and are unsurpassed by any other recorded portryal. Davis guides them all (and his orchestral and charol forces) through a committed, nuanced, and emotional performance, so that this work of love, intrigue, and forgiveness builds to the cathartic finale Mozart intended.Converts to this opera will eventually want to own at least one of the more recent, full price recordings (Hogwood on L'Oiseau-Lyre, Harnoncourt on Teldec, Gardiner on DG Archiv). All of these recordings are quite fine in their own right and boast some fine performances - particularly Ruth Zeisak on Teldec, and Anna Sophie von Otter and Julia Varady on DG - but none of these ensembles can quite compete as a whole with the 6 singers assembled by Davis. Any lover of Mozart's music sung by great singers should have this recording."
A Glorious Recording of a Vastly Under-rated Work!
gellio | San Francisco, CA | 11/10/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I was very surprised to see this recording get 1 star from the previous reviewer, because it is simply wonderful, and IMO the best of Davis' Mozart opera recordings. Dame Janet Baker sings Vitellia brilliantly, with glorious coloratura. She makes one believe in the development of her character, which is really ridiculous when you think about it, but we are talking about opera. Von Stade and Minton are superb as well, and Stuart Burrows is really amazing on this recording. There is not a single weak link and Davis' conducting really highlights this work, and proves to us that it is an excellent creation. Often over-looked and under-rated, if you buy this recording, you may realize (like I did) that 'La clemenza di Tito', while not on par with the DaPonte operas, is more of a masterpiece than 'Zauberflote'."
Good but somewhat miscast
zhaow | 12/06/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"i have to disagree somewhat with the reviewer below. baker doesn't sing badly, but there isn't a lot of separation between her and minton, a mezzo who sings sesto. even when singing the soprano's part, baker sounds too much like a mezzo. when the two are singing together, it's often hard to tell who is who. compare this with the hogwood set where a soprano, della jones, sings vitelia opposite cecilia bartoli, a mezzo with a dark and easily distiguishable, timbre. much better contrast; much easier to follow and appreciate.the other singers here are well cast and sing well. stuart burrows, in particular, unlike many other tenors in this role, actually sounds like an emperor. lucia popp is lovely, though i prefer barbara bonney's servilia: much more sweet and innocent sounding.a good set but not my favorite because of casting issues."