Figaro with a Frisson - a wonderful feast for all Mozartians
Sheng-chi Shu | Singapore | 03/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite limitations in sound, this Figaro offers us a compelling picture of the work of Karl Bohm and the famous Vienna Ensemble in the postwar era. The live occasion adds a great sense of frisson and theatre into the entire performance. Bohm conducted the ever-marvelous score with real affection and understanding of the Mozart idiom. In the all important act two finale, Bohm convincingly built up the tension amongst the protagonists which led to the show down between Figaro-Susanna-Countess and Count-bartolo-marcellina-basillio. Besides, he supported the singers wonderfully, especially to Schwarzkopf, who gaves perhaps her best performance of the Countess on disc. 'Porgi amor' and 'Dove Sono' were sung with real feeling and dramatic tension. However, Schwarzkopf is not the only star. Here we have Eric Kunz's Figaro, Seefried's Susanna Ludwig's Cherubino and Dieskau's Count, famed portrayals all in their absolute, compelling best, even if Seefried sounded a bit dry at times. And the ensemble of great names were totally responsive to each other, acting out the recitatives most involvingly, as though they were the characters...this is something that can never be emulated in the studio. Adding the marvellous playing of the Vienna Philharmonic, this is a set in a millions and for all Mozartians to enjoy. And as though we are not spoilt enough, this disc offers the bonus of Seefried's endearing early 1950s recordings of Mozart arias."