Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Le nozze di Figaro
CAST: Thomas Hampson: Conte, Sonya Yoncheva: Contessa, Angela Brower: Cherubino, Christiane Karg: Susanna, Luca Pisaroni: Figaro, Maurizio Muraro: Bartolo, Anne Sofie von Otter: Marcellina, Philippe Sly: Antonio, Regula Mühlemann: Barbarina, Rolando Villazón: Basilio, Jean-Paul Fouchécourt: Don Curzio
Chorus Master: Holger Speck
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, conductor
Deutsche Grammophon, 2016
After the live recordings of Don Giovanni in 2012, of Così fan tutte in 2013 and of Die Entführung aus dem Serail in 2015, Le nozze di Figaro is a new instalment of the Mozart project that involves tenor Rolando Villazón and conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin. This recording, as the previous ones, has some very good features, but also some weaknesses.
I start with the title role. Luca Pisaroni has a true Mozartian voice and interiorized very well the role of Figaro after years and years of experienceand here he fully displays the character’s best qualities: intelligence, sobriety, humanity and sympathy. He provides also some remarkable nuances, of which I will remember only a taste for insinuation (another touch of rebellion), evident for example when he says to the Count in a recitative at the end of Act I («della vostra saggezza il primo frutto oggi noi coglierem»). Even more than the classical Non più andrai, farfallone amoroso, I suggest you to listen to Aprite un po’ quegl’occhi, which is a real masterpiece in its heavy criticisms. In the end, I think that Pisaroni is an excellent Figaro.
Susanna is Christiane Karg, who creates a witty and gracious character, even if not outstanding. Karg’s Susanna is open and funny, amusing herself in Venite, inginocchiatevi and dreamy in Deh, vieni, non tardar, becoming cunning if necessary.
The Count is a good Thomas Hampson, who portrays the character with elegance and the only flaw of an imperfect diction. I remember with particular pleasure the final of Vedrò, mentr’io sospiro, in which the baritone shows all his impetus until the end, with the only hindrance of agilities.
The Countess, sung by Sonya Yoncheva, lacks the intensity of singers such as Barbara Frittoli or Dorothea Röschmann, and she prefers to convey the image of a fragile woman, perhaps a bit too much for the chief of the conspiracy against the Count. I call the Yoncheva a singer in good taste, but with little energy.
I remember quickly the clear voice and the romantic and naive spirit of Angela Brower as Cherubino, the convincing Bartolo sung by Maurizio Muraro and especially Anne Sofie von Otter as Marcellina, effective as antagonist and as helper, to quote Propp, and that gives us Il capro e la capretta sung with grace, but with an unusual youthful spirit. I did not like Rolando Villazon as Basilio, in particular his aria, included in this recording especially for him: In quegl’anni in cui val poco is completely altered by some forced notes and a diverted line.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s direction is fair, but is not very careful of the singers (maybe because the CD was recorded in concert), and does not show great ideas.