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Hommage à Trois - Berger/Sampson/McGegan

Hommage à Trois - Berger/Sampson/McGegan

Linn Records  CKD 428

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Opera


Haydn: L’isola disabitata, Hob. XXVIII: 9 - Chi nel cammin d’onore; L’anima del filosofo, Hob. XXVII: 13 - Il pensier sta negli oggetti; Armida, Hob. XXVIII: 12 - Teco lo guida al campo; Orlando paladino, Hob. XXVIII: 11 - Quel tuo visetto amabile; La vera costanza, Hob. XXVIII: 8 - Gia la morte in mante nero & Non sparate… mi disdico…
Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro, K. 492 - Crudel! perche finora & Hai gia vinta la causa!; Don Giovanni, K. 527 - Fin ch’han dal vino calda la testa & Deh vieni alla finestra; Cosi fan tutte, K. 588 - Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo; Die Zauberflote, K. 620 - Bei Mannern & Papageno!
Cimarosa: Il maestro di cappella - Sinfonia, Se mi danno il permesso & Allegro

William Berger, baritone
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Nicholas McGegan


Soprano Carolyn Sampson guest stars on several duets whilst the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, which has won several awards for its performances of Mozart, provides sterling support throughout. Following a 2012 performance by Berger, the SCO and McGegan, The Herald commented that Cimarosa's 1792 cantata Il Maestro di Capello would be ‘a highlight of [the] upcoming Linn disc this team is making.'

The programme encompasses arias from all of Haydn and Mozart's best-loved operas; Berger's stage portrayal of Papageno was praised by The Arts Desk: ‘Berger is also a deft, musicianly baritone, and a communicator who has the audience eating out of his hand.'

Berger's debut album was chosen by Guardian critics as one of the ‘Best Classical Albums of 2012' and by David Mellor as his ‘Album of the Week' on Classic FM.

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Review by Graham Williams - December 11, 2013

'Hommage à Trois' is a well compiled SACD that showcases the considerable talent of the fine young baritone William Berger in a programme of familiar and less familiar operatic scenes. The 'trois' in question are Haydn, Mozart and Cimarosa whose 'Il Maestro di Capella' provides the longest and most entertaining item on the disc.

It is pleasing to find Haydn represented on this disc by arias from no less than five of his operas. The melodic invention and wit displayed in these works is astonishing and their unconscionable neglect both in the opera house and on record is most disappointing. 'Qual tuo visetto amabile' from 'Orlando Paladino', in which Berger is partnered by the delightful Carolyn Sampson, will surely bring a smile to even the most dour countenance. In the Mozart selections Sampson also joins Berger as the Susanna to his Count in 'Crudel! perché finora' from 'Le Nozze di Figaro' as well as in two items from 'Die Zauberflöte'.

William Berger's light but firmly projected baritone is well suited to all this music though I felt on a couple of occasions that the lowest register of his voice lacked some weight and absolute security. However, his characterisations throughout are most engaging and he delivers the aforementioned Cimarosa piece with confidence and a gentle humour thankfully free from excess caricature.

The deft and beguiling accompaniments are in the capable hands of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra directed by Nicholas McGegan who brings a natural and unforced style to every aria. Try the single instrumental item – the Sinfonia that opens the Cimarosa – to experience the crispness and buoyancy of the playing.

The recording in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh, expertly engineered by Philip Hobbs, is crystal clear with the surround channels providing just the right amount of ambience to the sound. Texts and translations are included in the accompanying booklet as well as an amusing and slightly risqué photo of William Berger that suggests maybe 'Hommage' should be 'Menage'.

Altogether a most enjoyable recital.

Copyright © 2013 Graham Williams and HRAudio.net

Performance:

Sonics (Multichannel):

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