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Juan Diego Flórez: "Mozart"

CD Button Arias from Idomeneo, Die Zauberflöte, Il Re Pastore, Don Giovanni, La Clemenza di Tito, Così Fan Tutte, Die Entführung aus dem Serail; concert aria K. 431. La Scintilla, Minasi. Sony Classical 88985430862

Recordings Florez Mozart Cover 218
Critics Choice Button 1015 

THE PERUVIAN TENOR, a one-time Rossini specialist who has recently been branching out, tackles a demanding program of Mozart here with his usual technical and musical excellence. As you’d expect, his wonted clarity in florid passages is dazzling when applied to this rep, beginning with Idomeneo’s “Fuor del mar.” Here, and in the disc’s other showpieces—those of Alessandro (Il Re Pastore), Tito, Belmonte and Don Ottavio—the runs are immaculately precise, as well as exceptionally long-breathed. The characterizations are also suitably commanding. The quieter side of Tito, heard in “Del più sublime soglio,” projects effectively; Flórez brings considerable elegance to the flowing lines, affectingly imparting the aria’s noble sentiments.

In “Dalla sua pace,” Flórez’s tone lacks ideal warmth and sheen, but he brings stirring urgency to the concluding pages of “Il mio tesoro.” In portions of both, certain decorations seem excessive, drawing attention to the vocalism at the expense of characterization. (Many of the arias here are ornamented well beyond what’s usually heard. No musical adviser is credited; could the ornaments be by Flórez himself?) Ferrando’s “Un’ aura amorosa” is easily negotiated (except for the low D, tricky for almost every tenor), although it could use greater variety of shading. The best is saved for last—K. 431, the concert aria “Misero! O sogno,” which is a tenor warhorse. It’s glorious, seemingly written for Flórez. He gives it everything, from complete involvement in the unnamed lover’s desperate situation to terrific intensity in the dramatic conclusion. It’s flawless—and may be the finest achievement in his discography. 

Under the invigorating Riccardo Minasi, period-instrument orchestra La Scintilla plays with ideal articulation and dynamic variation. The disc’s brevity—just fifty-two minutes—is the only disappointment. Four or five more arias could have fit. —Roger Pines 

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