This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
An enlightening period performance galvanised by a palpably sure sense of dramatic wherewithal. Perhaps this is the near-perfect Figaro we’ve all been waiting for.
Mozart’s operas are so all-embracing in their concerns that no single conductor is able, it seems, to do equal justice to each. I found John Eliot Gardiner’s recent Così rather bland and uninspired. This new Figaro – a more ambivalent, indeed more cynical work in so many ways – is on a higher level altogether, an enlightening (one hesitates to apply the over-used epiphet ‘revelatory’) period performance galvanised by a palpably sure sense of dramatic wherewithal.
In common with others these days (though not Arnold Östman on the only
other currently available period-instrument account), and with good musicological reasons, Gardiner re-jigs the ordering of Act III, positioning ‘Dove sono’ somewhat earlier than usual. He departs more radically from tradition by offering, in addition, a reordered version of Act IV. This is convincing as scholarship as well as drama – two qualities which inform the whole of this sparkling yet searching performance, a team effort which nonetheless permits plenty of sharply etched characterisation as well as some exceptionally fine singing.
Indeed the casting can hardly be faulted: a dark, even menacing Figaro (Bryn Terfel), a vixenish, knowing Susanna (Alison Hagley), a suave yet incisive Count (Rodney Gilfry), a radiant but far from droopy Countess (Hillevi Martinpelto) and an ardent, hyper-sexed Cherubino (Pamela Helen Stephen). Excellent cameo support too. Perhaps this is the near-perfect Figaro we’ve all been waiting for...
Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)
-- Antony Bye, BBC Music Magazine
Works on This Recording
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Rodney Gilfry (Baritone),
Susan McCulloch (Soprano),
Carlos Feller (Bass),
Bryn Terfel (Bass Baritone),
Hillevi Martinpelto (Soprano),
Francis Egerton (Tenor),
Julian Clarkson (Bass),
Constanze Backes (Soprano),
Lucinda Houghton (Soprano),
Pamela Helen Stephen (Mezzo Soprano),
Sarah Connolly (Alto),
Alison Hagley (Soprano)
John Eliot Gardiner
English Baroque Soloists,
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria
Date of Recording: 1993
Venue: Live Queen Elizabeth Hall, London
Length: 178 Minutes 40 Secs.
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