Le Nozze di Figaro is a perfect opera. Certainly the perfect example of Mozart’s Italian style. There have been many great recordings. My favourite comes from what could be considered an unexpected source. Solti and London forces. Sir Georg Solti’s Decca version with the London Philharmonic is brilliantly recorded and cast flawlessly, including New Zealander Kiri Te Kanawa, who sang the role of the Countess in the world’s best opera houses, Frederica von Stade, a wonderful Cherubino, and the men — Samuel Ramey as Figaro and Thomas Allen as the Count.
Recently appointed music director of the Met, Montrealer Yannick Nézet-Séguin is making his way through the Mozart operas on DGG using the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. His Nozze is cast with Sonya Yoncheva (Countess), Luca Pisaroni (Figaro), baritone Thomas Hampson (Count Almaviva), mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie Von Otter (Marcellina), tenor Rolando Villazón (Basilio), Christiane Karg (Susanna), mezzo-soprano Angela Brower (Cherubino).
With few exceptions, the cast sing their arias and recitatives beautifully, with special mention to Pisaroni’s Figaro, who is especially musical. I wish I could be as effusive with Nézet Séguin's Cherubino, Angela Brower. I’ve been spoiled by Frederika von Stade, who is superb in the role on Solti’s recording. Brower over compensates and dilutes Cherubino’s confidence.
That’s the only slight on what is a very good recording. Nézet-Séguin conducts with great style and control. The Orchestra of Europe is filled with the stars of other European orchestras and they play eloquently for him.
Nézet-Séguin’s tempos are not quite as extreme as they were for his Seraglio recording, but he keeps things moving. Recitatives, aided by the wonderful playing of Jory Vinokur (on pianoforte, not harpsichord), sparkle and shine. And the cast plays the comedy for all it's worth.
I feel the conductor's best work in this repertoire is yet to be heard. His musicality is due better forces. I'd love to hear him with the Vienna Philharmonic or even his Met gang when he's got a few miles on them.
If you are looking for a new Nozze in very good sound, you can buy with confidence. But with the incredible Solti still available just about everywhere in sound to die for, Nézet-Séguin is still second best.
Le nozze di Figaro
Luca Pisaroni, Christiane Karg, Sonya Yoncheva, Thomas Hampson, Angela Brower, Anne Sofie von Otter, Maurizio Muraro, Rolando Villazón
Chamber Orchestra of Europe / Yannick Nézet-Séguin
Int. Release 08 Jul. 2016
3 CDs / Download
0289 4795945 8