Mozart: Zaide, K 344

Reviewed on Wed 21 Sep, 2016

Ian Page and the orchestra have a delicate touch, and the singing is very good, so this is an enjoyable experience.

This unfinished opera was actually planned as a ‘singspiel’, spoken word coming between the arias. Spoken cues – in the autograph score, and reproduced here in the included libretto – are all that remain of speech, apart from the words in the ‘melodramas’. In this context melodrama consists of spoken word interspersed with orchestral music that intensifies the drama. These are found in 'Unerforschliche Fügung' (track 3), depicting sadness and uncertainty, and in 'Zaide entflohen' (track 10), which is a very powerful declamation of the fury of the most powerful man in the land. Apart from despotic rage there is love, despair, a comic element and even a trace of philosophy. Among Mozart’s beautiful arias and ensembles there is a moving – but, alas, all too short! – duet admirably sung by the lovers. Ian Page and the orchestra have a delicate touch, and the singing is very good, so this is an enjoyable experience. Although this is like listening to ‘opera highlights’ without knowing what occurs between arias, nor how the opera will end, Mozart enthusiasts will, I think, be delighted to add this CD to their collection.
–Ruth Piatkus