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Mozart: Marriage Of Figaro - Highlights / Marriner, Asmf


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 416870   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  José Van DamRobert LloydAgnes BaltsaLucia Popp,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsAmbrosian Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

'Who needs yet another Figaro recording?' might be the cynic's question. To which the answer would be that there is always room for a performance so positively projected as this one. Indeed, it is an apt successor to the same conductor's Il barbiere (also on Philips—6769 100, 6/83; (CD) 411 058-2PH3, 4/84), showing a similarly eager response to word and music. Marriner's reading is predominantly lean and dramatic; at times this Figaro seems far away from being a comedy, rather a formidable confrontation between the dominant figures of its Figaro and Count, with the Countess a very vulnerable sufferer and Susanna an anxious intermediary. This impression is confirmed by the swift and theatrical handling of both the recitative and the Italian. Read more Ubaldo Gardini, who coached their execution, deserves credit for giving us a real sense of the stage enhanced by some careful suggestions of comings and goings.

As in his wont, Marriner chooses fastish speeds, crisp rhythms, light textures. Sometimes, as in the start of the Act 2 finale and the hard-driven close of the Count's aria, I find the effect insensitive, but Marriner is certainly responsive to, and composed in, such reflective pieces as ''Porgi amor'', ''Dove sono'' and the Letter Duet, helped by some refined playing from his orchestra. Yet it has to be said that if you return to Bohm (DG) on CD in the opening of the Act 4 finale you do notice a greater weight and feeling in the older conductor's approach, a sense of maturity that Marriner's restlessness doesn't always match.

Several Figaros in the past have been extremely well cast, but this new one hardly needs fear comparisons. Lucia Popp, Solti's delightful Susanna (Decca), has successfully graduated to the Countess. Any fears that she might not carry the dignity or the strength for the part are immediately banished by her poised ''Porgi amor'', the line perfectly sustained, the tone pure, crystalline; and ''Dove sono'' is even better, while in the recitatives, her knowledge of Susanna's role somehow makes her that much more eager with her 'conversation'—listen to the passage before the Letter Duet. Barbara Hendricks isn't so pointed or individual in either her recitatives or her arias as Pop herself on the Solti/Decca set, nor quite so appealing as Mathis for Bohm, but within the confines of her somewhat narrow tone, she makes a stylish Susanna, except when she eschews appoggiaturas; in ''Deh vieni'', though, she does allow herself a little cadenza.

The ladies' male counterparts have been formidably cast. Jose van Dam is an angry, almost insolent Figaro—listen to him answering back to the Count towards the end of Act 3—and gives his three arias firm character while never allowing his clear enunciation to affect his tone or line. I still prefer the lighter, nimbler singing to Taddei on the old Giulini/HMV set, but not by much. Raimondi is a fierce, overbearing Count, seemingly at odds with himself as much as with his rebellious staff. Given in authentic Italian, his aria takes on a biting profile I recall in Gobbi's performance of the part at Covent Garden. This Almaviva is an apt double for his Giovanni. My only problem was in sometimes distinguishing between two such similar voices.

Agnes Baltsa is a predictably mercurial Cherubino, tempestuous almost in her recitative. The voicing of the solos has more edge to it than that of a Berganza or a von Stade, but is none the worse for that, but I did find ''Non so piu'' a little too fast and impulsive. Robert Lloyd gives one of the best sung accounts of Bartolo's aria I have heard on record, not a figure to be trifled with in the law courts. Felicity Palmer is almost as powerful as Marcellina, but not always quite at ease in her Act 4 aria. Basilio's boring piece is also included, neatly enough sung by the rather ordinary Aldo Baldin. Cathryn Pope makes a charmingly ingenuous Barbarina.

If I was choosing a Figaro on CD for vocal character and excellence of recording I think I would give the nod to the new Philips, but for Mozartian understanding and a more generous, warmer interpretation Bohm would have to be my choice. On records, Philip's earlier set with Davis and the in many ways (often discussed here) unsurpassed Giulini are also perhaps more eloquent, though not, of course, so well engineered. I should indicate that I listened to large sections on CD and LP, and would be hard to put it to say the one was superior to the other, both having the Philips hallmark of forward, well-balanced and natural sound.

-- Alan Blyth, Gramophone [7/1986] Review of complete opera
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Works on This Recording

1.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Overture by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Se vuol ballare, Signor contino by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  José Van Dam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
3.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: La vendetta, oh, la vendetta by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Robert Lloyd (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
4.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
5.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Non più andrai farfallone amoroso by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  José Van Dam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
6.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lucia Popp (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
7.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Voi che sapete che cosa è amor by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
8.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Venite, inginocchiatevi by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
9.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Hai già vinta la causa!...Vedrò, metr'io sospiro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Ruggero Raimondi (Bass)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection concludes before "Vedrò mentr'io sospiro." 
10.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Riconosci in quest' amplesso by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), José Van Dam (Bass Baritone), Robert Lloyd (Bass),
Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Felicity Palmer (Soprano), Aldo Baldin (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
11.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: E Susanna non vien...Dove sono by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lucia Popp (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
12.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Sull' aria...Che soave zeffiretto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Lucia Popp (Soprano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection does not include the recitative. 
13.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Ecco la marcia "Wedding March" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Lucia Popp (Soprano), José Van Dam (Bass Baritone),
Barbara Hendricks (Soprano), Donald Maxwell (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
14.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Tutto è disposto...Aprite un po' quegl' occhi by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  José Van Dam (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection does not include the recitative. 
15.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Giunse alfin il momento...Deh vieni, non tardar by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Barbara Hendricks (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 
16.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Contessa, perdono by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano), Lucia Popp (Soprano), Barbara Hendricks (Soprano),
Cathryn Pope (Soprano), Aldo Baldin (Tenor), Neil Jenkins (Tenor),
Donald Maxwell (Baritone), Robert Lloyd (Bass), José Van Dam (Bass Baritone),
Ruggero Raimondi (Bass), Felicity Palmer (Soprano)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields,  Ambrosian Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Language: Italian 

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