Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K384

Reviewed on Mon 17 Aug, 2015

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is at his dextrous best, joyfully indulging the music’s ripely knowing playfulness to coax playing of sparkle and wit from a Chamber Orchestra of Europe clearly enjoying itself.

This third instalment in Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Baden-Baden Festival’s Mozart cycle follows a punchy, well-paced Don Giovanni and a vibrantly romantic Così fan tutte (reviewed on 1 November 2013). Happy to report, the glossy, back-to-basics pantomime exuberance of Die Entführung aus dem Serail adds considerably to a series that is becoming more essential with every release. Nézet-Séguin is at his dextrous best, joyfully indulging the music’s ripely knowing playfulness to coax playing of sparkle and wit from a Chamber Orchestra of Europe clearly enjoying itself. The heavier, unidiomatic vocal colours of Rolando Villazón’s rough-hewn Belmonte take a little adjusting to, Diana Damrau’s Konstanze occasionally wrong-footed by cool detachment and unnecessary emphasis. But elsewhere, there is much to enjoy in Anna Prohaska’s vivaciously sung Blonde, Paul Schweinester’s stylish and spirited Pedrillo and the comically sinister Osmin of Franz-Josef Selig. Thomas Quasthoff’s non-singing Selim is an accomplished, nuanced contribution. Excellent sound, and admirable notes by Kenneth Chalmers.
–Michael Quinn