Thursday, June 13, 2013

Le Nozze di Figaro - Théâtre des Champs-Élysées 2004

image captured from a youTube clip 
Bel Air Classiques BAC017
Just a few moments into the overture to W.A. Mozart's beloved opera buffa composed in 1786 and we realize that tonight Concerto Köln is going to give a landmark performance under the direction of René Jacobs.

Just a few moments into the first act and we realize that stage director Jean-Louis Martinoty has somehow succeeded in reaching the spirit of Amadeus and in creating a performance that Mozart himself would surely have appreciated. The unusual  set created by professor Hans Schavernoch has been both criticized and praised in press - in the filming it works perfectly.

But it is very difficult to define exactly what makes this recording so different.

We can ask some usual questions and get an affirmative answer:

  • Does the share beauty of E Suzanna non vien or Dove sono i bei momenti (German soprano Annette Dasch) bring tears to our eyes? Yes it does.
  • Does the approaching marching band (Concerto Köln) inadvertently make us smile from the pure joy of music? Yes it does.
  • Is there perfect harmony in the sextet Riconosci in questo amplesso una madre? Yes there is.
  • Does Deh, vieni, non tardar teasingly sung by Susanna (British soprano Rosemary Joshua) take us to the heights of pure music? Yes it does.
  • Does the Count (Italian baritone Pietro Spagnoli) have a presence that in all its hypocrisy still brings dignity and social values into the comedy? Yes, he has, magnificently so.
  • Are there amorous feelings between Figaro (Italian operatic bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni) and Susanna that the audience can feel? Yes, there are.

The list goes on. What a magnificent cast; what a great performance!

But all these details do not explain the particular charm of Théâtre des Champs-Élysées 2004 performance of Le Nozze di Figaro in 2004.

What does?

I do not know.

Taken all together, the performance is just so .... eh ... so Mozart.

W.A. Mozart 1780/81 Detail.
Oil on canvas. Johann Nepomuk della Croce (1736-1819)
Image wikimedia

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