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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bumpy ride, 5 Mar. 2014
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John Stone - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition] (Audio CD)
Musically there is much that is interesting here and well done - the singers are excellent and mostly accurately cast though Simone Kermes (perhaps the best known) is light-weight as the Countess, not quite rising to tragic dignity. Christian van Horn as Figaro - though not one of the Russians in this Siberian project - sounds a little like Feodor Chaliapin. Currentzis, the conductor, has ideas about dynamics and rhythmic incisiveness - some on them rather puzzlingly expressed in the booklet notes. What he does have are conditions where the singers can sing quietly to effect, though just occasionally with the women it can sound a bit cheesy (hints of American popular music), but he also likes to be able to turn the volume up: the "period" orchestra is actually quite large (strings divided 12-10-9-6-4) and has acquired a lute, a viola da gamba and a hurdy-gurdy. This writer recalls a performance of Don Giovanni for Kent Opera conducted by Ivan Fischer (c1987) where the strings were no more than 3-2-1-1-1 (equivalent to Haydn's forces at Eszterhaza) and used to great effect. Probably, a band of the size in this present project would have been unusual outside Paris in the 18th Century (where even before the Revolution they liked to do things on a grand scale).

What is perhaps not so convincing is the recitative which as part of an historical process which reaches back all of 50 years has begun to elaborate into a sort of alternative opera (a la Richard Strauss?). On an historical basis it is unfounded and disrupts what one might call the ecology of the opera - the point being that the recitative carries the narrative and the music enters at point where the composer and librettist plan to turn the heat up. The way Mozart and Da Ponte adapt Beaumarchais makes it clear that they do not regard recitative as the vehicle of stage action so much as for preparing the ground for it. It is really this kind of gradation of dramatic effect that separates an opera from a musical. In Le Nozze di Figaro number after number is propelled through the very instant at which the Count loses his temper, but here everyone seems to be erupting all the time - at least for the first three acts - with the continuo fortepianist, Maxim Emelyanychev, frequently striking the instrument with a force I have not encountered before. Typical of this recording is the moment where Cherubino jumps through the window to be accompanied by crash of near nuclear proportions (did no one notice apart from the gardener?).

But when it comes to the actual music I often find Currentzis' s "attack" brilliant and convincing.

A further footnote on Currentzis's commentary: he notes that Figaro "winds Cherubino up quite nastily" in "Non più andrai" but I wonder whether Figaro's performance is not actually directed at the Count who should not have left the stage at this juncture (though he does according Sony's libretto and in many productions). Before beginning the aria Figaro whispers to Cherubino that he needs to talk to him before he leaves, which would not be necessary if it was not that the Count was still there - he could talk to him right away. The equivalent moment in Beaumarchais is when he remarks to the Count that it would be very convenient if Cherubin were to be killed on the battlefield. In the recent Covent Garden production it gets even nastier because Figaro beats Cherubino up after the aria (error compounding error), but the actual point is that he is being protective of Cherubino and "cheeking" the Count.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Teodore Currentzis's Le Nozze di Figaro, 19 Feb. 2014
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Beautiful recording, interesting voices - not 'big' forceful voices which is possibly closer to the vocal style/size of voice that may have been used in the much more intimate opera auditoriums of Mozarts time. Nice pacing and interesting ornamentation, some of which can be a little jarring, but most of which works well.

First instalment of the Sony Mozart/Dapont trilogy augers well for the next 2 instalments.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great surprise, 5 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition] (Audio CD)
Wow this recording is, just wonderful.
The box and the contents are very nicely put together.
Get one of these editions before they run out.

jeffoldbean.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing, quirky style., 18 May 2014
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This review is from: Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition] (Audio CD)
Hugely enjoyable. Not, perhaps, the only recording to have - mine contrasts very well with Kleiber, Böhm, and Jacobs - but tartly period-performance, and the cast sounds as if it is having tremendous fun. I greatly enjoy the youthful almost complete absence of female vibrato. I agree, though, with another review, which opines that you could get rather tired of the very enthusiastic recitative accompaniment, on repeated listening. As I said, probably not the recording to have if you haven't already got one - or more -of the past greats.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but lacking italian warmth, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition] (Audio CD)
the singers no on the same level. the countess wonderful/ didn't enjoy Figaro and the counts. Figaro must be Italian.
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Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition]
Le Nozze di Figaro [Hard Back Limited Edition] by Teodor Currentzis (Audio CD - 2014)
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