Susan Graham is a lovely singer with a beautiful, characterful voice; I saw her a number of years ago as Oktavian in “Der Rosenkavalier” at Welsh National Opera and she was quite wonderful. She has made something of a speciality of “trouser” roles and these feature prominently in this recital of Mozart and Gluck arias which convey the breathless rush of emotion and intensity of feeling which mark out adolescent love. Both composers achieved expressive truth whilst at the same time respecting classical conventions.
It may seem like heresy to say so, but I get a little tired of hearing Cherubino’s two famous arias on disc, but Graham makes them seem freshly minted. The title of the disc, incidentally, comes from Cecilio’s aria “Il tenero momento” from “Lucio Silla”, written when Mozart was only 15. That particular number apart, the Mozart arias are rather more familiar that those by Gluck, with the obvious exception of “J’ai perdu mon Eurydice” from “Orphée et Eurydice”, sung here in French rather than the more familiar Italian. Graham’s French is, incidentally, excellent. My wife, by the way, tells me that she sang the charming number which opens the disc, “Oh, del mio dolce ardor”, from “Paride ed Elena”, for a singing lesson years ago.
Lovers of the classical tradition and beautiful singing will find much to enjoy here. Harry Bicket and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment provide expert accompaniment. The recording was made in 2000.