Recordings

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro


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*2017 ECHO Klassik Award-Winner: Best Opera Recording (works up to and through 17th/18th century)*

This is the fourth installment of Deutsche Grammophon’s series of seven Mozart opera recordings, and was nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award in the “Best Opera Recording”category.

The performance was conducted by Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and initiated by Rolando Villazón, in collaboration with U-Live, Festspielhaus Baden Baden and with the generous support of ROLEX.

Recorded with a stellar cast with stars in every role, one of the brightest and most insightful conductors of our day and a specialist handpicked orchestra playing at their best in the stunning venue of Festspielhaus Baden-Baden (July 2015).

Yannick Nezet-Seguin’s completely gripping, high-contrast Figaro is a brilliant triumph, wrote Badische Zeitung of the July 2015 concert performance recorded here, while heaping praise on Luca Pisaroni’s thrilling Figaro, Thomas Hampson’s Count illuminating every word, Sonya Yoncheva’s Countess recalling Callas’ vocal colours, Angela Brower’s fascinatingly delicate, sensitive Cherubino and Anne Sofie von Otter’s wonderfully perceptive, charming Marcellina, all in a performance crowned by Christiane Karg’s enchanting Susanna and Rolando Villazon as Basilio, who had the audience at his feet. The opera appears consistently among the top ten in the Operabase list of most frequently performed operas.

Reviews

*WFMT: Top 10 Classical Recordings of 2016*

“Thomas Hampson is wondrous as an arrogant and superb Count, whose sublime aristocratic and measured gestures give nuanced interpretation. His knowledge of legato and his keen intelligence of the role give more soul in each of his appearances. Rarely has a “Contessa perdonno” been more delicate and moving . . .” (Online-Merker)

“… [the dramatic concentration] is most vivid when Thomas Hampson’s Count, his face always visible in the mind’s eye, is sparring with the generous-voiced Countess of Sonya Yoncheva . . . All in all, this is a solid cast.”
Record Review / Richard Fairman, Financial Times (London) / 18. July 2016

“This recording documents American baritone Thomas Hampson’s third interpretation of Conte d’Almaviva for a major label. His intellectual comprehension of the Conte’s motivations, already well-honed at the time of his first recording of the part in 1990, has broadened in the years of his acquaintance with the music, but the voice as recorded in 2015 sounds astonishingly untouched by the intervening years. Ever a resourceful artist, Hampson’s Conte was from the start an ‘old soul’ portrayal, one in which an unquenchable carnal hunger does not wholly obscure an inalienable nobility. In this performance, his Conte blusters slightly more than in past, enhancing the notion that the Conte is a man of a certain age whose position is now a greater attraction than his person. In the Act One trio with Susanna and Basilio, ‘Cosa sento! Tosto andate,’ Hampson sings strongly, his timbre warming when he addresses Susanna. In the Act Two trio with the Contessa and Susanna and the act’s subsequent finale, though, the character’s mounting frustration and fury metamorphose the silvery tones of Act One into steel-edged weapons. The Act Three duettino with Susanna, ‘Crudel! Perchè finora farmi languir così,’ is distinguished by a momentary return to the gentle melancholy of Act One: can it be that the lusty Conte actually loves Susanna, at least on some level? Essentially thrown to the wind in many performances, the recitative ‘Hai già vinta la causa!’ and aria ‘Vedrò mentr’io sospiro’ are magnetically sung by Hampson, who then voices the Conte’s parts in the brilliant sextet and the Act Three finale with boundless charisma. After the hubbub of Act Four, Hampson takes the lead in bringing about the opera’s moving dénouement. Aided by Nézet-Séguin, who sets exactly the right tempo for the passage, Hampson voices ‘Contessa, perdono’ simply but poignantly, his tones centered and ideally weighted. Hopelessly impenetrable would be the heart that did not react magnanimously to such a plea. An essential component of Mozart’s genius was his peerless ability to create morally-ambiguous characters who are alluring even when at their most repulsive. As sung by Hampson in this performance, the Conte’s words and actions are often reprehensible, but the man never is. It is silly when his first two commercial recordings of the Conte were so accomplished to suggest, as the colloquialism goes, that the third time is the charm, but there is no denying that Hampson remains a thoughtful, commanding Conte who charms.”
Joseph Newsome, Voix des Arts / 23. July 2016

“Los dos protagonistas masculinos (para la anécdota, suegro y yerno en la vida real) no pueden ser más diferentes al encarnar respectivamente al Conde y Figaro. A tres décadas de su debut metropolitano en el rol, Thomas Hampson es un zorro aristócrata que se las sabe todas, que no deja un matiz sin aprovechar y que en el conmovedor final también sabe pedir perdón. En la línea de los grandes liederistas que hicieron suyo el papel –en especial, su dilecto antecesor Dietrich Fischer Dieskau– a los 60 años el barítono americano es una acertada elección en éste su tercer registro como Almaviva.”
Sebastian Spreng / el Nuevo Herald / 14. July 2016

Videos

Le Nozze di Figaro – Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni: Webisode #1

Le Nozze di Figaro – Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni: Webisode #2

Le Nozze di Figaro – Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni: Webisode #3

Le Nozze di Figaro – Thomas Hampson & Luca Pisaroni: Webisode #4

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