CAST: Jane Archibald: Konstanze; Norman Reinhardt: Belmonte; Mischa Schelomianski: Osmin; David Portillo: Pedrillo; Jane Gilmore: Blonde, Christoph Quest: Pasha Selim
Jérémie Rhorer, conductor
This recording of Die Entführung aus dem Serail conducted by Jérémie Rhorer is one of the most questionable recordings of this beautiful opera released in recent times as neither singer, nor conductor, nor the orchestra are equal to the task they undertake.
I start with the tenor. Norman Reinherdt is not so bad, considering his timbre and the personality which he is able to give to Belmonte and actually it is a pleasure to listen to his second aria from Act I, Konstanze! Dich wieder zu sehen!, and the aria from Act II, Wenn der Freude Tränen fließen (with the only exception of some agility). What I consider Reinhardt’s real flaw is his habit to use as many piano and pianissimo he can, with questionable results. I am referring in particular to his first aria, Hier soll ich dich denn sehen, Konstanze!, and to the way he performs the first «o Liebe, allzuviel», with a bad effect, or «und bringe mich ans Ziel», where he performs a pianissimo which is difficult to listen (maybe this is a recording fault). As I noted before, anyway, he improves later.
I have not found any good quality in Jane Archibald (Konstanze). Her timbre is a little too shrill for my tastes and I noticed that she sometimes loses control over her agility. From the very beginnin of Marten aller arten, she has something hysterical in her voice that do not disappear even later, except, for a moment, in her first «des Himmels Segen» and that reaches its best in the three «nichts, nichts, nichts (soll mich erschüttern)».
Jane Gilmore as Blonde is not the vivacious servant you expect. In Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln she hesitates, slows down her agility and shouts her high notes, as becomes even clearer in the next duet with Osmin. Welche Wonne, Welche Lust is under the same spell: the high notes are shouted, the low notes are inexistent and there is a total absence of grace.
The grumpy keeper Osmin (Mischa Schelomianski) is always unpleasant, as in the “tra la le ra” of Wer ein Liebchen hat gefunden (and not only in those), or he proposes some effects in bad taste.
The only singer I completely appreciated is David Portillo (Pedrillo). His timbre is exquisite, his declamation is elegant and the aria Frisch zum Kampfe! is sung with precision and finally gives back to us some liveliness.
The worst part of this recording is the frenetic conduction of Jérémie Rhorer. I cannot even imagine that the choice of those frantic times was dictated by the intention to give prominence to the brightness of Mozart’s music. Instead, I believe that some defects of this disgraced Entführung would have been corrected by greatest care. The Overture is completely distorted and the choral pieces are absolutely mangled. Singt dem großen Bassa Lieder and the final Bassa Selim lebe lange are reduced to disordered marches. There is no surprise that even the soloists (in the first one) seem to sing at random.