Mozart: Operatic Arias; Symphony No 36 in C major, K 425 (Linz)

Reviewed on Thu 31 Dec, 2015

It is no insignificant task for any singer to assume all these parts concurrently in his career, and Christian Gerhaher weaves them into his own unique sequence.

Recorded in fine sound from live concerts, this is an enterprising traversal of Mozart’s major baritone arias for the noblemen and servants from the three Da Ponte operas (Don Giovanni, Leporello; Figaro, Il Conte; Così fan tutte, Guglielmo) and Die Zauberflöte’s Papageno. It is no insignificant task for any singer to assume all these parts concurrently in his career, and Christian Gerhaher weaves them into his own unique sequence. Gerhaher convinces me more in the noble roles than the servant ones through his eloquence of tone and textual understanding, as befits a practiced Lieder singer. His Papageno is played rather straight, steering clear of faux comedy. Unusually, the four movements of the Linz Symphony are played out of sequence as the connecting interludes between groups of arias. The Freiburg Baroque Orchestra perform with colourful vigour throughout under their leader/director Gottfried von der Goltz. Star instrumental cameos are given by Avi Avital on mandolin and Kristian Bezuidenhout on fortepiano and glockenspiel. Texts, translations and notes included. Very warmly recommended.
–Evan Dickerson