International opera star Bryn Terfel celebrates Mozart's writing for bass-baritone in...
Liz Mundler 2006
Operatic highlights cds aren't everybody's cup of tea, featuring as they do a fistful of favourite tunes taken out of context.
But this disc isn't quite like that. As part of Deutsche Grammophon's dubiously named Mozart Forever project, it is as concerned with showcasing Mozart's astonishing range of writing for bass-baritone as it is with providing a vehicle to showcase Bryn Terfel's remarkable voice.
And it is a remarkable voice. Technically he can't be faulted -his performances appear absolutely effortless -and he conveys so much emotion and expression that you can almost see the tilt of his head, the glint in his eye.
Bryn Terfel recently became only the second person ever to receive the Queen's Medal for Music; coincidentally the conductor of this disc, Sir Charles Mackerras, was the first person to be awarded the medal. In fact Sir Charles Mackerras conducted Terfel's stage debut in Cosi fan Tutte at Welsh National Opera in 1990. Since then Bryn Terfel has performed at all the world's major opera houses, including La Scala, Milan, the New York Met and the Royal Opera house.
This disc features little-known gems such as the nonsense aria 'Diggi, daggi, schurry, murry' from the opera Bastien and Bastienne, composed when the boy-genius was just twelve, alongside extremely well-known arias such as 'La ci darem' from Don Giovanni. The voices of soprano Miah Persson and mezzo Christine Rice blend superbly well with Terfel's in the ensemble arias, and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra provides a supple accompaniment.
If you're in London, look out for the black cab branded with the album's artwork - a first for a classical album. And if you're lucky enough to get in it, you'll hear 'Tutto Mozart' to relax you on your journey.
Finally a word of caution: like a box of very fine chocolates, this disc is best enjoyed a few at a time.
Like This? Try These:
Mozart: Opera Arias (Sandrine Piau)
Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro (Concerto Köln dir. René Jacobs)
Mozart: Violin Concertos (Viktoria Mullova)