Bryn Terfel - Tutto Mozart!
Unlike many showcase CDs for famous singers, this one has been carefully planned to demonstrate Terfel’s many-faceted gifts as a Mozartian, boxing the compass of roles and pieces for bass-baritone. Familiar items are interspersed with unfamiliar ones, and the singer, who writes how well Mozart wrote for his kind of voice, is heard in all the roles he has sung on stage (the exceptions include Papageno, for which his figure is unsuited, although in purely vocal terms he proves a lively and sympathetic bird-catcher). His Figaro, which begins and ends the programme, is nicely distinguished from his Count Almaviva, both brought before us by his pointed use of the Italian text. Similarly his suave, insinuating Giovanni is very different from his earthy Leporello, the timbre for each part cleverly differentiated. From Così fan tutte, he briefly undertakes Alfonso, another role he hasn’t assumed on stage, in the Farewell trio, then switches to Guglielmo for “Il core vi dono” where he woos the attractive Dorabella of Christine Rice.
Of the rarer operatic items and separate arias he gives a particularly dramatic account of “Così dunque tradisci” and finds the gentle Entführung-like humour of the incomplete “Männer suchen stets zu naschen” to his liking, with Miah Persson as partner to the inauthentic nonsense of “Nun liebest Weibchen”.
My only criticism of DG is that they have left Persson’s name off the front cover: as she appears with charm and distinction in six items, that seems unkind. The quality of the disc is confirmed by Sir Charles Mackerras’s authoritatively Mozartian direction and fine playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. The recording has both space and presence.