Orchestra del Teatro Regio di Torino
Gianandrea Noseda, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2011
I recently listened again to this Mozart recorded by Ildebrando D’Arcangelo, which I had bought shortly after its release, in 2011, to decide whether it still deserves the place among the excellences I had assigned it. The years pass, tastes change and now, although I recognize some of the qualities I found then, I noticed also some details that have changed my judgment, even if it remains positive.
D’Arcangelo is an excellent singer, who manages perfectly his vocal means and that has a voice warm and soft and an excellent technique, which allows him, among other qualities, a limpid and refined phrasing and a good breath control, but the fact remains that, after two or three arias, it becomes obvious that D’Arcangelo sings the roles of nobles and servants exactly in the same way. The bass-baritone makes no effort to deepen the representation of any character and he only emphasizes single words to give them a little colour. This is all the more regrettable considering that this makes one wonder about what Mozart would have been with greater courage on the part of the interpreter. If this can be considered a good system (not exciting, but acceptable) for the most calm and sober arias as Non so donde viene, it cannot work in those which need comic verve as Non più andrai farfallone amoroso (Le nozze di Figaro), Madamina, il catalogo è questo (Don Giovanni, which you find at the beginning and may be considered as a “cover” for the entire album…) and also the least known Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (the alternative aria for Guglielmo in Così fan tutte). On the other hand, D’Arcangelo is not convincing even in the arias in which some vigour would have been necessary and so Donne mie, la fate a tanti (Così fan tutte) and Vedrò mentr’io sospiro (Le nozze di Figaro) appear sung with authoritativeness but without spirit.
Mozart may be pleasing for a superficial listening, if you content yourselves with a beautiful voice, but it cannot be enough for those looking for that “something” that makes an album absolutely thrilling.