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Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro / Jacobs, Gens, Ciofi, et al

Album Summary

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Rene Jacobs' historic performances of 'Le Nozze di Figaro' at the Threatre des Champs-Elysees led to rave reviews in the French press and a revival there in June. We are fortunate to have this milestone recording with a youthful, international all-star cast, in the now customary luxury packaging from harmonia mundi France.

Penguin Guide
René Jacobs conducts one of the refreshing versions of Figaro to be issued in many years...Véronique Gens is one of the most distinguished of Countesses, and Patrizia Ciofi is a sparkling Susanna, while Simon Keenlyside is a superb Count, well contrasted with the strongly acted Figaro of Lorenzo Regazzo.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
René Jacobs always brings new ideas to the operas he conducts, and even to a work as familiar as Figaro he adds something of his own. First of all he offers an orchestral balance quite unlike what we are used to. Those who specially relish a Karajan or a Solti will hardly recognise the work, with its strongly wind-biased orchestral balance: you simply don't hear the violins as the 'main line' of the music. An excellent corrective to a tradition that was untrue to Mozart, to be sure, but possibly the pendulum has swung a little too far.

Jacobs is freer over tempo than most conductors. The Count's authoritarian pronouncements are given further weight by a faster tempo: it gives them extra decisiveness, though the music then has to slow down. There are other examples of such flexibility, sometimes a shade disconcerting, but always with good dramatic point. The Count's Act 3 duet with Susanna is one example: the little hesitancies enhanced and pointed up, if perhaps with some loss in energy and momentum. Tempos are generally on the quick side of normal, notably in the earlier parts of the Act 2 finale; but Jacobs is willing to hold back, too, for example in the Susanna-Marcellina duet, in the fandango, and in the G major music at the dénouement where the Count begs forgiveness.

The cast is excellent. Véronique Gens offers a beautifully natural, shapely 'Porgi amor' and a passionate and spirited 'Dove sono'. The laughter in Patrizia Ciofi's voice is delightful when she's dressing up Cherubino, and she has space in 'Deh vieni' for a touchingly expressive performance.

Then there's Angelika Kirschlager's Cherubino, alive and urgent in 'Non so più', every little phrase neatly moulded. Lorenzo Regazzo offers a strong Figaro, with a wide range of voice - angry and determined in 'Se vuol ballare', nicely rhythmic with some softer colours in 'Non più andrai', and pain and bitterness in 'Aprite'. The Count of Simon Keenlyside is powerful, menacing, lean and dark in tone. Marie McLaughlin sings Marcellina with unusual distinction.

Strongly cast, imaginatively directed: it's a Figaro well worth hearing.


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Works Details

>Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus : Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492
  • Performers: Elizabeth Randall (Voice); Núria Rial; Yeree Suh (Soprano); Nicolau Figueiredo (Fortepiano); Lorenzo Regazzo (Bass); Patrizia Ciofi (Soprano); Kobie Rensburg (Tenor); Antonio Abete (Bass); Véronique Gens (Soprano); Simon Keenlyside (Baritone); Angelika Kirchschlager; Marie McLaughlin
  • Conductor: René Jacobs
  • Running Time: 99 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1786