Mozart, Rossini: Opera Arias - Frederica von Stade
PentaTone RQR PTC 5186 158
Classical - Vocal
Mozart, Rossini: Opera Arias
Frederica von Stade (soprano)
Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Edo de Waart (conductor)
Review by Graham Williams - December 20, 2005
Once again PentaTone have worked their special magic on a quadraphonic recording made by Philips 30 years ago, and have produced a Super Audio CD which captures the ravishing voice of Frederica von Stade to perfection. This recording was made at the start of her long and distinguished career when she was fast becoming a star on the international opera scene. Her unique artistry is showcased here in a judicious choice of well-known and less familiar Mozart and Rossini arias that demonstrate her command of the roles in question.
The short arias from Le Nozze di Figaro are a snapshot of her peerless Cherubino. In “Non so più” she captures the breathless impetuosity of the lovesick boy, and follows it with a deft “Voi che sapete”, sung with expressive ardour and ravishing tone. In a quite different vein she gives us a light and joyous Cinderella and a quite sexy sounding Zerlina.
The two arias from Mozart’s late opera seria La Clemenza di Tito “Ecco il punto…Non più di fiori” and “Parto, parto” also benefit from the excellent obbligato basset horn of George Pieterson in the former, and the clarinet of Bas de Jong in the latter.
The highlight of the disc, for me, is the Willow song and Prayer from Rossini’s Otello “ Assisa a’ pie d’un salice”. This extended extract (13.35) begins with a magical harp solo, elegantly played by Teresia Rieu, that perfectly sets the sombre scene. Von Stade sings the whole of this excerpt with a subtlety and craft that evokes the tragic vulnerability of Desdemona and this artist’s complete empathy with the character.
Edo de Waart and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra provide sympathetic accompaniments throughout, while the excellent balance between voice and orchestra and the warm ambience of the de Doelen, Rotterdam, enhance the illusion of ‘being there’.
PentaTone have, helpfully, provided full texts and English translations of all the arias; something that is all too rare with many recital discs these days, but is essential for maximum enjoyment of what is offered.
This is a disc not to be missed by all lovers of great singing and of this singer in particular.
Copyright © 2005 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net