MOZART CONCERT ARIAS
by RML

The source of this page is a thread in the message board in Classical Hub, where performances of Mozart Concert Arias were discussed. To make things more interesting, I took the Mozart Complete Edition, on Philips, and took as parametre to my discussion. So, the singer referred to next to the title of the song is always the one who performed it in the Philips series, where the conductor generally is Leopold Hager, unless otherwise indicated. This page is under construction and is going to be ocasionally updated. Please note that the underlined titles are links to the comments to the aria referred to. Also, under the comment of each individual aria mentioned in the introdutory text there is a "back" link to the introdutory text again - so that quick references may be possible.

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The label "concert aria" is actually too wide to explain all the items listed below, but it has become the usual practice to call almost every Mozart aria not generally appearing in one of his operas a "concert aria". As a matter of fact, as Brigitte Toulon explains in her essay in the Philips Complete Edition, in this group, we must acknowledge four kinds of "concert arias": the arias really intended to be sung in recital; the scenes (recitative + aria + aria, for example, such as Per questo paterno amplesso, composed for the recital in Count Firmian’s house in Milan in 1770) intended to be sung in recital; the arias meant to be inserted in other composers’ operas (such as Voi avete un cor fedele, for Galuppi’s Le Nozze di Norina, and Si mostra la sorte, for Piccini’s L’Astratto); and the alternative arias for his own operas (such as Non temer, with violin obligatto, for the tenor Idamante in Idomeneo), as shown below:

 

CONCERT ARIAS: 21/19, 23, 78/73B, Care le mie pene, 88/73c, 82/73o, 83/73p, 74b, 293e, 295, 440/383h; 119/382h; 383, 435/416b; 433/416c; 538; 552, 612, 245 Anh./621a

 

CONCERT SCENES: 79/73d; 36/331, 70/61d; 77/73e, 255, 272, 294, 486a/295a, 316/300b, 368, 369, 374, 416, 432.421a, 431/425b, 512, 528

 

INSERTION ARIAS: K 209 ( for Piccini’s L’Astratto); K210 (for Piccini’s L’Astratto), K 217 (for Galuppi’s Le Nozze di Dorina); K 256 (for Piccini’s L’Astratto); 178/417e (for Anfossi’s Il Curioso Indiscreto), K 418 (for Anfossi’s Il Curioso Indisceto), 419 ( for Anfossi’s Il Curioso Indiscreto); 420 (for Anfossi’s Il Curioso Indiscreto); 513 (for Paisiello’s La disfatta di Dario); 541 (for Anfossi’s Le Gelosie Fortunate); 578 (for Cimarosa’s I due baroni di Rocca Azzurra); 580 (for Paisiello’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia), 582 and 583 (for Martin y Soler’s Il Burbero di Buon Core)

 

FOR HIS OWN OPERAS: K 435 (for an aborted Singspiel), K 490 (for Idomeneo), K 577 and K 579 (for Le Nozze di Figaro), K 584 (for Così Fan Tutte) - We included here only the arias in this group usually performed as concert pieces.

 

It is very important to keep in mind that Mozart composed his arias to fit exactly the voices of singers who were going to perform them. This is important to understand not only how certain roles in Mozart operas should be cast, but also how should be the voices of certain singers who created roles in Mozart operas. Some of these arias were composed for singers strongly admired by Mozart, most of all Aloysia Lange, his sister-in-law and old flame. She must have had a most remarkable flexible high soprano, for she got the charming Nehmt meinen Dank, the soaring Mia speranza adorata and Vorrei Spiegarvi, o Dio, the brilliant Ah se in ciel and No che non sei capace and the incredibly difficult Popoli di Tessaglia, with a high g in alt (the highest note ever written for the human voice). His other sister-in-law, Josefa Weber, the first Queen of the Night, got the also incredibly demanding Schon lacht der holde Frühling, which was, however, left incomplete by Mozart. He didn’t forget his own wife, Constanze Weber, to whom he had written the aria Et incarnatus est from the Mass K427. He also gave her In te spero, o caro sposo.

 

Other special friend was the Czech soprano Josephina Duscek, the first Vitellia. Besides being a real incentivator of Mozart’s, she was said to be a most expressive singer, with a powerful voice. For her, she composed some of his best concert scenes, such as the wide-ranging Ah, lo previdi! and the fiendishly difficult Bella mia fiamma. It is said that this scene was composed with many "traps" for the singer as a private game between the two friends. The Irish/Italian Nancy Storace was other dear friend and the first Susanna. He wrote especially for her the concert aria based on the text of Idomeneo Non temer amato bene, with the piano obligatto written for the own composer to play in her farewell to Vienna.

 

The sisters-in-law, Dorothea Wendling and Elisabeth Wendling, the first Ilia and Elettra, were also artists admired by Mozart, especially Dorothea, who got the moving Ah, non lasciarmi. Elisabeth was given the coloratura display Sperai vicino al lido. Incidentally, the singer who sang Elettra in the Vienna concert performance, the Countess Baumgarten, got also the beautiful Or che il ciel a me ti rendi and Ah, non son io.

 

I have the impression that the first Dorabella, Louise Villeneuve, must have been a remarkable singer, for Mozart composed for her voice three insertion arias that are favourite pieces: Alma grande e nobil core, Chi sà, chi sà and Vado, ma dove. On the other hand, it is a fact that Mozart never liked the first Fiordiligi, Adrianna Ferrarese dal Bene, whom he considered to be a bad actess and extremely proud of her top and low notes (that is why he never resisted to make her use them exhaustively). When she took the role of Susanna in the revival of Le Nozze di Figaro, she asked for two replacement arias: the pretty Un moto di gioia and the Fiordiligi-like Al desio. Other arias for role creators in Mozart operas are Per questa bella mano, for the original Sarastro, Franz Xaver Gerl - a most curious aria with double-bass obligatto, Se al labro mio non credi, for Anton Raaf (the first Idomeneo), Per pietà non ricercate and Misero! o sogno (for Valentin Adamberger, the first Belmonte), and Aspri rimorsi atroci and one of the versions of Non so d’onde vieni for Ludwig Fischer, the first Osmin.

 

 

1 - Va dal furor portata KV 21/19c, with Thomas Moser. I was a bit disappointed with him. The voice sounds a bit nervous and he is not at ease with florid passage.

 

2 - Conservati fedele KV 23, with Hanna Schwarz. It’s better than I thought, but I prefer by a large advantage the Berganza/Fischer, first of all because of Fischer’s most stylish conducting and of Berganza’s naturality and musicianship even if she was not all that young by then.

 

3 - Or che il dover KV 36/33i, again with Thomas Moser. There is nothing florid here, but the aria is uninteresting IMO and the voice could sound more controled too.

 

4 - A Berenice e Vologeso sposi...Sol Nascente KV 70/61c, with Lucia Popp. The aria is not that special, but Popp makes the best of it with clear staccati and beautiful runs.

 

5 - Cara, se le mie pene, with Edith Mathis - Her coloratura is nice, but the tone is not very ingratiating here.

 

6 - Per pietà, bell’idol mio KV 78/73b - I didn’t know this aria. It’s a very interesting series of variations and Popp sings it beautifully.

 

7 - Fra cento affani e cento KV 88/73c, with Edita Gruberova. She’s in wonderful voice (I didn’t remember she sang it so well - as a matter of fact, her voice is really better than in the Harnoncourt, even if Harnoncourt’s conducting is a solid advantage). The aria didn’t cause me a great impression.

 

8 - O temerario Arbace... Per quel paterno amplesso KV 79/73d, with Lucia Popp - This is a favourite item and Popp sings beautifully although I think I prefer the Te Kanawa/Fischer and the Gens/Bolton because of the better conducting and the fact that those singers sing it with better legato.

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9 - Misero me!... Misero Pargoleto KV 77/73e, with Edith Mathis- The Berganza/Fischer is far better. The not that young Berganza sounds younger than Mathis and is more comfortable with the tessitura. As always, Fischer’s conducting is more interesting.

 

10 - Se ardire e speranza KV 82/73o, with Lilian Sukis. Here the competition with the Berganza/Fischer is really cruel...

 

11 - Se tutti i mali miei KV 83/73p, with Edith Mathis - As in the previous item, the tone is not really beautiful and the staccati could be more spontaneous. The aria didn’t stick to my memory either.

 

12 - Non curo l’affetto KV 74b, with Gruberova - The aria is charming and Gruberova sings it superbly.

 

13 - Si mostra la sorte KV 209, with Francisco Araiza. This is one of the best items until now of the collection. Araiza sings lovely, stylishly and with no difficulty at all. The aria is also really nice. He also recorded it with Wimberger and is equally in beautiful voice there and the conducting is somewhat more animated.

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14 - Con ossequio, con osservanza KV 210, with Claes Ahnsjö - This is a kind of aria for tenor buffo and Ahnsjö would be perfect if he had idiomatic Italian.

 

15 - Voi avete un cor fedele KV 217, with Edith Mathis - Another favourite one. Again Mathis disappointed me. She offered no charm at all and I thought that the tempo chosed by Hager for the fast section was not as fluid as I expected. I made some comparisons here and all the other performances were better. The Gruberova/Harnoncourt has great contrast, brilliant coloratura and energetic conducting; Bayo/Perez has nice orchestral sound and Bayo sings it as naturally as if she was singing a pop song. It’s charming and has some personality. Although I know people usually dislike Emma Kirkby out of the baroque repertoire, I like her disc very much, especially because of Hogwood’s great conducting. In this particular item, she has wonderfully clear divisions and excellent ornamentation, even if the voice itself is not that expressive.

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16 - Ombra Felice!... Io ti lascio, e questo addio KV 255, with Hanna Schwarz. Once again, I was not disappointed with Schwarz, but the Berganza/Fischer remains the more stylish and expressive. Fassbaender/Wimberger is really sensitive, but the German mezzo’s legato is faulty and it sounds rather low for her voice.

 

17 - Clarice, cara mia sposa KV 256, with Claes Ahnsjö. Again an aria for tenore buffo. Ahnsjö is astonishing precise with the patter, but his Italian is still very accented.

 

18 - Ah, lo previdi...ah, t’invola...Deh, non varcar K 272, with Lucia Popp. One of the very favourite items. The chief offender here is Hager, who’s particularly heavy and slow. Because of it, Popp doesn’t sound very spontaneous. In the first part, she doesn’t sound really comfortable to my ears. The "Ah, crudele!, Ah! spietato!" shows a bit of a stretch in the tone. She is far better in the Deh non varcar, where her perfect trills and floated tones do wonders. Nevertheless, I still prefer the Gundula Janowitz/Boettcher even if she doesn’t try one trill (I don’t know the score, but it doesn’t look they are written). Gundula offers the most expressive recitatives, shows nobility throughout and doesn’t seem to be holding herself to produce heavenly pianissimi. Her account moves me everytime I listen to it and she’s nicely accompanied. I am not a great admirer of the Te Kanawa/Fischer recital because I think her voice doesn’t sound as pure as she can and she doesn’t seem really enraged in the first part. However, her trills are very nice. I still prefer Janowitz, though. The Bayo/Perez has great conducting and Bayo goes for some dramatic effects. Her voice is really lovely, she does the trills, but her interpretation is kind of artifficial to my ears, as if she was repeating someone else’s ideas. However, I prefer her to the above mentioned performances, except for Janowitz. The Kirkby/Hogwood is a nice one if one doesn’t detest Kirkby. The tone doesn’t have much colour, but her performance is very stylish and her pure tones make wonders in Deh non varcar. No need to mention that Hogwood’s conducting couldn’t be better.

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19 - Alcandro, lo confesso... Non so d’onde viene KV 294, with Lucia Popp -

 

20 - Se al labbro mio non credi KV 295, with Francisco Araiza -

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21 - Basta, vincesti...Ah, non lasciarmi, with Lucia Popp KV 486a/295a- This one is a favourite of mine. I like the text and think Mozart was particularly inspired. It’s a masterpiece - Popp sings beautifully and Hager doesn’t offer many obstacles. However, I miss a broken heart here. When I listen to the Battle/Previn, there’s a whole atmosphere and drama going on and Battle is at her most seductive and feminine. One almost believes that the guy is going to change her mind and stay after that.

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22 - Popoli di Tessaglia, with Gruberova KV 316/300b- This one is simply WONDERFUL. Gruberova doesn’t seem disturbed by the cruelly high tessitura and sings forcifully and the high g’s in alt are something everyone should listen to - just for the experience. I cannot imagine that really light sopranos could do something like what Gruberova did and I have trouble imagining Edda Moser really producing the pure tone and floated high pianissimi Gruberova offers here. But this is only speculation since I don’t know her performance. Although Natalie Dessay and Thomas Guschlbauer are less expressive and dramatic than Gruberová and Hager, her coloratura and ease with high tessitura are impressive, even next to Gruberová.

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23 - Ma che vi fece...Sperai vicino al lido KV 368, with Edita Gruberova - This is an impressive performance from Gruberova and a lesson of how to sing this repertoire. Her runs and every kind of ornamentation are made with astonishing precision and forceful expression. Compared to her performance some 12 years later for Harnoncourt, the voice is not that faultess in the second performance, only the pianissimi are more floating. From the interpretative point of view, she sings almost the same way in the two performances, except for the fact that sometimes in the second she overinflects what sounds natural in the first. Another strong point for Gruberova is that, whenever she sings, Hager’s conducting improves enormously. On her EMI recital with Thomas Guschlbauer, Natalie Dessay offers an impressive technical display, although she is rather anonimous regarding interpretation.

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22 - Misera, dove son?...Ah, non son’io che parlo KV 369, with Edith Mathis - Another favourite. As always, Mathis’s performance is the less interesting I’ve known. Gundula/Böttcher is so, so. The conducting is a bit slowish. Gundula is in exquisite voice but doesn’t completely shift to the second part of the aria. The voice is a bit pinched too in the high notes. Te Kanawa/Tate has Kiri producing indifferent recitative and the phrasing was a bit too soft for it. The Gruberova/Harnoncourt is beautifully sung (although she is a bit mannered) and conducted, but I have to say that the Battle/Previn is my favourite. His conducting is nice and clear and she’s so inside the emotional content of this music... In the recitative, she describes the misfortunes of her husband and family. Then she stops and says "And I still speak? Do I still breath?" Battle puts real amazement in her voice and then goes for a heartbraking "Ah, it’s not me who’s speaking, it is the cruel pain who makes me delirious". It’s singing of the highest expressive caliber and which makes me regret that Battle is not around as she used to be.

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23 - A questo seno, deh, vieni...Or che il cielo KV 374, with Edith Mathis - Again, things don’t appear to be favourable to Mathis. In comparison to Gruberova in the Harnoncourt set, she doesn’t have much to offer. Gruberova is in nice voice and sings with a true sense of joy. Janowitz also sings this beautifully, but she is not in the same expressive level of Gruberova nor Böttcher’s conducting compares with Harnoncourt’s. On the other hand, the Murray/Weikert is a most appealing recording. Ann Murray is in creamy voice up to the highest notes and sings with good taste, affection and style. Ralf Weikert’s conducting is very beautiful too.

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24 - Nehmt meinen Dank KV 383, with Lucia Popp. Here competition is very very tough. Lucia Popp sings beautifully and Hager offers great woodwind playing, but - to quote Voltaire - best is the enemy of good. The thing is that I find that both Te Kanawa/Fischer and Schäfer/Abbado offer things of higher level. Musically, I prefer the Schäfer. The voice is lovely, focused; she’s a complete stylist and ornamentates wonderfully and Abbado’s conducting plus perfect recording make it a number one for me. However, Kiri is the one to produce a whole sense of occasion in it. She takes the aria very seriously and shows a real sense of gratitude in creamy tone colouring and expressive phrasing. Fischer conducting is also very nice. As a 3rd option, I’d chose the Kirkby/Hogwood - but don’t recommend to those allergic to Kirkby. Of course, the tone doesn’t have the attractive qualities of Popp, Kiri or Schäfer, but she is very crispy about her German and her voice sounds like an extra instrument in the orchestra. The result is really nice. As for the Margaret Price, it was very uncharacteristic of this singer. It showed a bit of bad taste. I disliked the downward portamenti in "niemals vergessen" and "dich zu verdienen", not to mention other details of heavy phrasing.

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25 - Mia speranza adorata...Ah, non sai KV 416, with Edita Gruberova. Gruberova sings this aria beautifully in her both recordings. However, I prefer the Schäfer/Abbado because it has a sadder tone and her performance forms a whole piece of expression rather than the collection of nice moments such as in the Gruberova performances. Anyway, these three performances are exceptional. Natalie Dessay, with Thomas Guschlbauer, offers a shallow account of this expressive aria, what makes it interesting only for canary fans.

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26 - Vorrei spiegarvi KV 418, with Edita Gruberova - Another item of close competition and a favourite among concert arias. Gruberova recorded it here and for Harnoncourt. Of course, Harnoncourt’s conducting is better than Hager’s, but Gruberova is in better voice in the first recording and avoids some bodiless pianissimo singing she produces in the second. However, well sung as it is, I think that she didn’t quite grasp the meaning of this aria. This has lots to do with Voi che Sapete, with its staccati and woodwind obligatto. Although the girl is saying "Go", she does mean "Don’t go!". It’s a seductive aria and, even if she does produce ONE sour note, Battle goes for the heart of the question. It’s total seduction. When she says "this makes me seem cruel", the "cruel" is almost irresistible... Anyway, the Schäfer/Abbado is still my "rational" option. The conducting is simply perfect and the pizzicati have pride of place and give more flavour to the whole thing. Schäfer phrases expressively and offers stylish and exciting ornamentation. I only wish that voice and oboe was so in the same level as in the Battle/Previn. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT, because, exactly as in Voi che Sapete, the oboe is "saying" what the singer cannot say. Maybe my "emotional" option (the Battle/Previn) would be the one to keep. Who knows... Natalie Dessay offers a technically impressive account of the aria, with exquisite soft top notes and admirable legato, not to say creative decoration of section A's repeat. That said, it is sorely inexpressive, and conductor Thomas Guschlbauer is bland all the way. I wouldn’t pick the Margaret Price - it’s too heavy and I totally disagree with her changing the ending of the aria to a top note.

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27 - No che non sei capace KV 419, with Edita Gruberova - I like very much the forceful way Gruberova sings this aria and comparisons between the Hager and the Harnoncourt follow the general rule: Harnoncourt is the better conducting; the voice is more impressive and interpretation more natural in the first. Natalie Dessay, with Thomas Guschlbauer, is far less flamboyant, but is technically impressive and is a bit more natural in the lower register than Gruberová.

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28 - Per pietà, non ricercate KV 420, with Thomas Moser. This aria is very charming and, although Moser has an exquisite voice, he has many examples of clumsy phrasing here. A pity Araiza didn’t record this one! Anyway, the good idea is to listen the Winbergh/Wimberger, where the Swedish tenor is in exquisite voice and has a nice conductor in Gerhard Wimberger.

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29 - Così dunque tradisci...Aspri rimorsi atroci KV 432/421a, with Robert Lloyd. An interesting aria too and, although Lloyd’s voice is a bit lugubrious, his singing is virtually faultless.

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30 - Misero!.. Aura che intorno spiri KV 431/425b, with Francisco Araiza. Not only is this a beautiful aria, but it is also splendidly sung by Francisco Araiza. It’s simply perfect.

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31 - Ch’io mi scordi di te? ... Non temer amato bene (with piano) KV 505, with Edith Mathis. This was the less disappointing performance by Mathis in this disc, but it is also very poor compared to the other performances I have here. Basically, I have three performances by high soprano, two by darker lyric sopranos, one by a mezzo and one by a more heroic kind of soprano. I find the Schäfer/Abbado, particularly attractive because of her expressive singing, nice recording and beautiful piano playing from Maria João Pires and I find pleasing to listen to it sung by a high soprano. The Te Kanawa/Tate is also very pleasing - the conducting, recording and Mitsuko Uchida’s playing are all of them excellent and Kiri’s singing has almost no fault at all, even if she doesn’t try to create a dramatic situation and really sings it as a concert piece. The Gens/Bolton has an immaculate performance from the French soprano, but together with conducting and Melvyn Tan’s playing, it’s a bit bland, nice as it is. Again, even if lots of people are going to disagree with me, I find the Kirkby/Hogwood excellent. She sings with total musicianship, cleaness of articulation and has a quality of her own - she sings it as a song and it sounds easy and quite natural (which is not). Hogwood’s conducting is the best here and Robert Levin’s fortepiano couldn’t be better. As it comes to the Abbado video from Prague, it must be taken in Cheryl Studer’s side that it is a live performance. However, the low tessitura gives her lots of trouble, even if she sings sensitively. Conducting and playing are nice. Margaret Price’s performance is taken from a totally operatic point-of-view, but one with sense of style and purity of tone. The low notes could be a bit more natural, but it’s a beautiful performance with sensitive piano playing and conducting from James Lockhart. We also have Berganza/Pritchard. Sometimes it’s a bit high for Berganza and she can sound hard, but it’s generally lovely sung. The orchestra is a bit heavy and the piano playing of Geoffrey Parsons sometimes sounds lost in the middle of the whole thing. From the interpretive point of view, Berganza doesn’t try to create a character, but offers lots of charm with her spontaneous singing.

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32 - Mentre ti lascio, o figlia KV 513, with Robert Lloyd

33 - Alcandro, lo confesso... Non so d’onde viene KV 512, with Robert Lloyd - As I said before, Lloyd’s performances are most enjoyable and I prefer him to the Moll/Weller, where the German bass, although very precise in his coloratura, is in dry voice.

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34 - Bella mia fiama, addio...Resta, o cara KV 528, with Lilian Sukis - Ah, this is a real test for a singer. It was written for Josepha Duscek, famous for her wide vocal range, technical accuracy and dramatic temper. No need to tell that she was the first Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito. As a matter of fact, not one of the recordings I have here are perfect, but all of them are worth while listening. Hager chose Sukis for this one, which surprised me, since it was Lucia Popp who sang the other Duscek aria (Ah lo previdi...Ah, t’invola). Maybe Popp should have recorded this one too. Anyway, there’s one point in Sukis’s favour. Her voice is substantial enough to deal with it without stress even if if the tone is not exactly attractive. Anyway, even if not particularly enlightening, her performance is the one which coordinates better vocal ease and stylishness. Janowitz/Böttcher and Te Kanawa/Fischer have similar strong and low points. Both could never have sung Vitellia and this explains their problems with the stretta of the aria (Ah, dov’è il tempio?). Janowitz is the loveliest in the recitative and the slow section, with heavenly tones which make you think if it is possible for a human voice to sound so exquisite. Her control of soft singing is something to marvel and she has creates a most dignified atmosphere. The problems start at the stretta. She sings it rather slower than the other singers, breathes more than the others and some high notes are pinched. Kiri is also expressive in the recitative and slow section, though in a generalized way. Her voice is in top creamy form, but also has problems with the stretta. Basically, it’s quite a stretch for her and she loses focus sometimes. One feels she’s not comfortable. Then we come to Margaret Price/Lockhart. Now we have quite the voice for the song. And also the dramatic quality. Sometimes she runs close to the edge of Mozartian style, but it’s a very intense portrayal. One feels that it is an extreme moment and she’s the bravest with the stretta. She takes it really fast and deals wonderfully with the difficulties. Sometimes the high notes are a bit too dramatic, but it’s a convincing portrait. The Varady/Wimberger has disadvantages and advantages. She hase the voice for the song too (and was a consumate Vitellia) and gives a direct heroic performance which is quite fitting for a "male" aria, but sometimes it lacks finish and she is a bit lost in the end of the stretta, where the tempo is rather fast for her. Barbara Frittoli, wonderfully partnered by Charles MacKerras, is incredibly at ease with what she has to do, but the tone is really too vibrant for Mozart and she is very uninteresting as a performer here.

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35 - Ah, se in cielo benigne stelle KV 538, with Edita Gruberova - This is the kind of thing where Gruberova always excels. Comparisons between Harnoncourt and Hager follow the general rule between those two performances. Natalie Dessay brings charming tone and accomplished technique to the aria, but sings in a generalized manner. Conductor Theodor Guschlbauer is also unspecific, but offers appropriate tempo. The orchestral playing is a bit dispeptic.

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36 - Ich möchte wohl der Kaiser sein, KV 539, with Walter Berry.

 

37 - Un bacio di mano, KV 541, with Walter Berry.

 

38 - Alma grande e nobil core KV 578, with Edith Mathis. Again Hager’s attention to woodwind makes for great results, but Mathis is again un unfocused voice and lacks delicacy. Lucia Popp/Wimberger is a most attractive item. She’s in extra warm voice here and it moves beautifully. Also, she always is in the right mood for each moment.Wilfried Böttcher’s conducting is a bit on the heavy side and this doesn’t help Gundula Janowitz - she is in heavenly voice, but a bit unaware of the "dramatic" situation.

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39 - Chi sà, chi sà qual sia KV 582, with Lucia Popp. Popp’s voice is a bit heavy here, but she is very expressive and adept in coloratura. Hager’s conducting has nice pace. On the other hand, Kiri Te Kanawa is in golden voice and, even if her coloratura is not as clear as Popp’s, she has better legato. However, I miss some interpretation. She seems happy to sing prettily here. Colin Davis conducting is unclear and the orchestra could be closer.

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40 - Vado, ma dove KV 583, with Edith Mathis. Although Hager’s conducting is quite charming, with highlighted woodwind, Edith Mathis lacks sensuality. However, it is probably her best performance in the Philips edition. The Donath/Guschlbauer is rather disappointing. Helen Donath is in excessively soubrett-ish voice and ruins the whole thing. On the other hand, Gundula Janowitz sings it in shining tones and sensuous phrasing. It would have been perfect if Böttcher was a bit more animated. Margaret Price is also in exquisite voice and excells in floated tones. Kiri Te Kanawa is also very interesting, with warm and creamy tone, though not as extatic as Janowitz and Price.

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41 - Per questa bella mano KV 612, with Walter Berry. This is a rare item, an aria with double bass obligatto. The result is really charming, but the aria places lots of difficulties to the singer. It requires a widest range, flexibility and even trills. Berry meets each one of the individual tasks beautifully, but - in the whole - it could be more ingratiating.

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42 - Io ti lascio, oh cara addio KV Anh.245/621a (vocal part by Gottfried von Jacquin), with Robert Lloyd -

 

43 - Se tutti i mali miei KV 83/73p (ornamented version), with Julie Kaufmann. The aria is quite charming and Julie Kaufmann has plausible coloratura, but her voice is not completely firm in these recording. Anyway, she is better than Edith Mathis in the original version in the Philips Edition. Jörg Peter Weigle’s conducting is good, but the orchestra could be lighter. Natalie Dessay with Thomas Guschlbauer is the preferable recording, with the French soprano in excellent voice and a rather more congenial conductor.

 

44 - Cara la dolce fiamma KV 293e (from J.C.Bach’s Adriano in Siria, ornamentation by Mozart), with Julie Kaufmann - Mozart wrote the cadenze to this aria for Aloysia Lange. I’m afraid that Julie Kaufmann’s voice is not a "Lange" voice. Here it is better than in the previous item, because the tessitura is higher. This aria has beautiful melodic ideas, but is a bit long for its material.

 

45 - Alcandro lo confesso...Non so d’onde viene, KV 294 (ornamented version), with Julie Kaufmann - This is the third version of this aria. In order to work, this song requires some floating and easy mezza voce and Kaufmann’s voice gets a bit instable in these conditions. On the other hand, Natalie Dessay (with Thomas Guschlbauer) is entirely at east.

 

46 - Se al labbro mio non credi, KV 295 (revised version), with Hans-Peter Blochwitz - Here we have Blochwitz singing the second version of an aria sung in its original version in the Philips edition by Francisco Araiza. The truth is that, although Blochwitz is stylish, he cannot compete with Araiza in this repertoire. Weigle’s conducting is again pleasing, but the Dresden Philharmonie has an apter sound than the Münchner Rundfunk (in the Kaufmann items).

 

47 - Der Liebe himmlische Gefühl (orchestrated by E. Smith) KV 119/382h, with Eva Lind - This aria is not particularly distinguished and one would need a really good singer to make it work. Alas, this is not the case of Eva Lind, whose tone is incredibly impure and metallic.

 

48 - In te spero, o sposo amato (completed by E.Reichert) KV 440/383h, with Eva Lind - Again we have Lind with Weigl and the Dresden Philharmonie. This is an interesting coloratura display, but Lind’s coloratura is arthritic and it simply doesn’t work.

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49 - Müßt ich auch dürch tausend Drachen (completed by E. Smith) KV 435/416b, with Stuart Burrows - Here is an interesting heroic aria with sophisticated concertante writing. Stuart Burrows is in excellent voice and manner and Colin Davis and the Academy of Saint Martin in the Fields produce a wonderfully mozartian sound.

 

50 - Männer suchen stets zu naschen (completed by E. Smith) KV 433/416c, with Robert Lloyd - This is also very charming, with Lloyd very funny and insinuating. Colin Davis and the ASMF are wonderful partners.

 

51 - Ah, spiegarti, o Dio, vorrei (orchestated by E. Smith) KV 178/417e, with Julie Kaufmann - This is an alternative version for Vorrei, spiegarvi o dio, but has nothing to do with the more famous version we are used to listen to. Here the atmosphere is more teazing than seductive and, although I prefer Vorrei, spiegarvi, it is a very charming piece that should be performed more often. However, it required a more charming performer than Kaufmann.

 

52 - Schon lacht der holde Frühling (completed by E. Smith), KV 580, with Christiane Eda-Pierre - This is quite a display aria, with two sections, a fast coloratura big section followed by a very lyric and evocative one. Although Colin Davis and the ASMF provide wonderful atmosphere, Eda-Pierre didn’t catch it. Her voice is warm and velvety, but her coloratura and top notes lack ease. This piece really needs someone completely undisturbed by the technical demands and who has charm to spare - someone like Gruberova, in other words.

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53 - Ch’io mi scordi di te?... Non temer, amato bene (with violin) KV 490, with Peter Schreier- Hager’s conducting is a bit on the slow side, but the violin is nicely recorded and played. Schreier is only correct - he has horrible Italian and his top notes tend to be explosive. The Battle/Previn is a fantastic item - Battle is in gleaming voice and offer some spectacular top notes. Also, the violin obligatto is beautifully recorded in the same level of importance as the soprano, which makes for nicest effects. I preferred her to Margaret Price, who surprisingly lacks some finish sometimes. Kiri Te Kanawa is in such velvety voice and phrases with such good taste that I would call her performance irresistible, but I wished that the violin was recorded closer and that the orchestra was a bit more clear. Francisco Araiza’s performance is the best piece of Mozartian singing ever commited to disc by a tenor. He’s in honeyed voice and offers exquisite phrasing throughout. Moreover, Harnoncourt is in top form. I found the Marshall/Weikert disappointing, because she lacks tone somehow and is not totally at ease.

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54 - Giunse alfin il momento... Al desio KV 577, with Julie Kaufmann -

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55 - Un moto di gioia KV 579, with Eva Lind

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56 - Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo KV 584, with Anton Scharinger

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