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A Mozart Gala From Salzburg

Netrebko / Kozena / Hampson / Pape / Vpo / Harding
Release Date: 08/12/2008 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001148409  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  René PapeMichael SchadePatricia PetibonMagdalena Kozená,   ... 
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This straightforward gala evening from the 2006 Salzburg Festival is a stand-up-and-sing affair featuring some of the current mightiest singers on the operatic scene as well as Thomas Hampson, the "veteran" in the group. Young Daniel Harding, although only 33 years old, no longer leads with the very personal, almost eccentric (but thrilling) fire of his Don Giovanni recording on Virgin from 1999, but he has managed to mellow without losing any of his originality. Perhaps the Vienna Philharmonic, here at its most lush, luscious, and responsive, has coerced him into more traditional tempos, although he still has very much his own voice, particularly in the purely instrumental sections of the concert.

After a dramatic,
Read more sensibly paced overture to Don Giovanni, complete with a concert ending I've never encountered before (and about which nothing is said in the accompanying skimpy pamphlet), René Pape takes the stage and sings a delightful, big-voiced "Catalog Aria". His Leporello is almost too grand; is this servant biding time until his trust fund comes through and he can quit? Michael Schade, in lovely voice for "Dalla sua pace", is next, and his forceful singing is as impressive as his long-lined pianissimo is embracing. Fireworks ensue with soprano Patricia Petibon's reading of Aspasia's manic-depressive aria, "Nel grave tormento" from Mitridate. She is a remarkable artist, incapable of being dull--or apparently of singing off-key; and while her facial expressions can occasionally seem extreme, they are in character. Her high staccatos and coloratura are spectacular.

Coloratura is also featured in Michael Schade's performance of "Si all'impero" from La clemenza di Tito, and he handles it well, with Tito's regal bearing clear throughout. Magdalena Kozena, looking somewhat tired but sounding fresh and warm, is a most welcome presence in Sesto's "Parto, parto". She and Harding take an odd ritard and use great rubato in the bars before the presto section, but it works. I'm still not certain that Kozena is not a soprano. The estimable Thomas Hampson arrives to sing Guglielmo's difficult "Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo" from Cosi, which he begins with an attention-getting rolled "r" that is as cloying as it is typical of this artist. Has a baritone ever been more pleased with his own work? The voice is in good shape, less pale than in recent Verdi, to be sure.

The overture to Idomeneo enters with fury and gravitas, the winds in particularly fine form. Ekaterina Siurina then sings Ilia's lovely "Se il padre perdei", her lyric sound presenting a distinctive edge. She is joined by Kozena for a gorgeous "S'io non moro a questi accenti". Anna Netrebko arrives for the evening's last vocal number, Elettra's aria "D'Oreste, d'Ajace", sung with stupendous temperament, pinpoint accuracy, and big, round tone, and she wows the casual-looking audience. All of the women in the concert remind us that though stand-up-and-sing evenings still exist, gone are the days of divas being unemotive and stodgy. Here are three stunning women acting with voice and personality. The men, by nature (and ignoring Hampson's swagger) are more reserved.

Harding then leads the Vienna Philharmonic in a fine reading of Mozart's "Prague" Symphony, with a majestic, slow opening, with special emphasis on the low strings and timpani, a relaxed andante, and a furious presto, reminiscent of his Virgin Don Giovanni in its highlighting of dance rhythms. Subtitles are provided in major European languages and Chinese; the performances were filmed in High Definition, recorded in PCM Stereo and DTS 5.0. This is a splendid way to spend an evening.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Don Giovanni, K 527: Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
2. Don Giovanni, K 527: Madamina, il catalogo è questo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  René Pape (Bass)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
3. Don Giovanni, K 527: Dalla sua pace by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Michael Schade (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1787; Prague, Czech Republ 
4. Mitridate, rè di Ponto, K 87 (74a): Grazie ai numi parti... Nel grave tormento by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Patricia Petibon (Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1770; Milan, Italy 
5. La clemenza di Tito, K 621: Se all' impero by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Michael Schade (Tenor)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Prague, Czech Republ 
6. La clemenza di Tito, K 621: Parto, parto, ma tu ben mio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
7. Così fan tutte, K 588: Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Thomas Hampson (Baritone)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
8. Idomeneo, K 366: Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
9. Idomeneo, K 366: Se mai pomposo...Se il padre perdei by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Ekaterina Siurina (Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
10. Idomeneo, K 366: S'io non moro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Magdalena Kozená (Mezzo Soprano), Ekaterina Siurina (Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
11. Idomeneo, K 366: D'Oreste, d'Ajace by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Anna Netrebko (Soprano)
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
12. Symphony no 38 in D major, K 504 "Prague" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Daniel Harding
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 

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