Sylvia McNair’s impish Susanna is an absolute delight, Boje Skovhus is every bit the virile young Count, and Cheryl Studer makes for a touching, dignified Countess.
The choice here would seem to be clear-cut: between a big-budget, starrily cast, ‘traditional’ reading, under the direction of a conductor more attuned to late 19th- and 20th-century expressionismo, and a more modest, home-grown affair in the capable hands of one of our leading Mozartians. Life, however, is never that simple.
For one thing, Abbado and the VPO are clearly au fait with the insights of the period-instrument movement. Every bit as deft and transparent as
Read more href="http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=203911">Mackerras and the SCO, the richer sound and polish of the Viennese players is just too hard to resist. For all Mackerras’s skills in tapping the Mozartian essence, the SCO can’t help but sound anaemic in comparison. Abbado, at one with his singers, also displays a more acute sense of theatre; Mackerras’s often undercharacterise.
The exceptions are his Figaro (Alastair Miles) and Bartolo (Alfonso Antoniozzi). Otherwise Abbado wins hands down, with Sylvia McNair’s impish Susanna an absolute delight, Boje Skovhus every bit the virile young Count, and Cheryl Studer a touching, dignified Countess. The DG is the one to go for then (released mid-September), despite Mackerras’s added bonus of a substantial appendix of replacement numbers (not all by Mozart – and it shows!).
Performance: 5 (out of 5); Sound: 5 (out of 5)
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Performer:
Carlo Allemano (Tenor),
Sylvia McNair (Soprano),
Bo Skovhus (Baritone),
Cheryl Studer (Soprano),
Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano),
Anna Caterina Antonacci (Soprano),
Ildebrando D'Arcangelo (Bass),
Peter Jelosits (Tenor),
Lucio Gallo (Bass Baritone),
István Gáti (Bass),
Andrea Rost (Soprano)
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria Venue: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna Length: 169 Minutes 48 Secs. Language: Italian Notes: Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna (01/1994 - 02/1994)
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
A Total Triumph!January 19, 2014By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"This recording has all the ingredients which make up truly superior performances- the magic of Mozart, the orchestral brilliance of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Claudio Abbado's outstanding directions of all forces, and of course the excellence of the cast. All of these come together to give us a Figaro that sparkles with wit, dynamism, and overall panache. It is a real joy to experience the voices of Boje Skovhus, Cheryl Studer, Sylvia McNair, Lucio Gallo, Cecilia Bartoli, and Anna Antonacci in the primary roles, blending with and juxtaposing against each other in a clear and natural way, making for singing of the highest order. Even the extensive recitative passages exhibit psychological and emotional complexity, as the singers use inflections, verbal tempo shifts, and constantly changing forte and piano vocal gymnastics to add brilliance, momentum, and even enhanced humanity to Mozart's whirlwind libretto. While I am not prepared to say that other Figaro recordings pale beside this superb DG release, I am prepared to argue that Claudio Abbado's Figaro is one that more than holds its own in a very crowded field. La Nozze di Figaro is unquestionably one of Mozart's supreme operatic achievements, and this recording does full justice to his artistic legacy. If you are in the market for a brilliant and satisfying Figaro, give this one some serious consideration- it's nothing short of superb. Highest recommendation!"Report Abuse