Stories » 5th of 7 Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Rolando Villazon - Mozart operas for DG, now out / ClassicsToday

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5th of 7 Yannick Nezet-Seguin, Rolando Villazon - Mozart operas for DG, now out / ClassicsToday

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This is the fifth in Yannick Nézet-Séguin's and Rolando Villazon's undertakings of seven Mozart operas to be laid down for DG. The Don G was terrific, the Cosi and Abduction filled with fine moments, and the Nozze mediocre. Nézet-Séguin's approach has been consistent–a wise mixture of traditional Mozart playing that would not be out of place on a Colin Davis or Karl Böhm recording, with an alert driving force, sharp attacks for the strings, and fine support for the singers. But with this fifth installment–the first in the opera serie genre–we have entered nondescript territory. It is dark and thick, but not noble. There are spells–odd ones, at times–such as the outlandishly slow start to "Parto parto…" (gravitas laid on thick) and its maniacal running-for-a-train finish that almost work for their daring. Almost. But wild variations in tempos only make us sit up and listen, not necessarily understand. From the terzetto until the end of the first act we get what this opera actually can be–yes, granted, it's the score's best music, but it's exciting and dramatically alive.

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