Mozart’s unfinished Zaide is considered a slightly older, less memorable brother to the composer’s Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail [The Abduction from the Seraglio.]. Zaide is a rescue opera, with a plot based on Voltaire’s “Zaire.” The exiled Christian Gomatz is visited by the Muslim harem slave Zaide, the sultan’s favorite concubine. Zaide falls in love with the enslaved Gomatz, rescues him, and together they flee with the aid of the overseer, Allazim. Zaide chooses spirited freedom over financial security, and invokes the Sultan’s wrath.
This disc of Mozart's opera arias manages to capture the perfection of Kathleen Battle's first disc of Mozart concert arias conducted under Previn. We are accorded the opportunity and privilege to hear Ms. Battle essay characters that she never did in the opera house, Constanze, Cherubino, and the Countess among them. In "Porgi amor," the CD's opening track, she negotiates the long passages of the Countess' aria with seeming ease. Hers is a smaller voice than we are used to hearing in the role but this is unimportant as her vocal acting is superb, bringing the heartache housed in the libretto fully to life…By M. Bish
Frieder Bernius and his Stuttgart forces weigh in with one of the finer Mozart Requiems in a very crowded field–and to ensure this performance’s relative exclusivity, it’s one of only a handful of recordings that use the edition by Franz Beyer, an intelligent and persuasive 1971 effort to correct “obvious textural errors” and some decidedly un-Mozartian features in the orchestration attributable to Franz Süssmayr, Mozart’s pupil/assistant who completed the work after the master’s death. This live concert performance from 1999 offers well-set tempos (including a vigorous Kyrie fugue), infectious rhythmic energy from both chorus and orchestra, robust, precise, musically compelling choral singing, a first rate quartet of soloists–and, especially considering its concert-performance setting, impressively detailed and vibrant sonics. The CD also features informative notes by Beyer himself.
The glamorous young French coloratura stunned everyone at the EMI Gala at Glyndebourne in 1997 with a dazzling rendition of Cunegonde’s ‘Glitter and be gay’ from Bernstein’s Candide: it was an unexpected choice but Dessay delivered it with such wit, needle-point precision and sheer insouciance that she won all hearts. Why she has yet to appear in either a Glyndebourne or Covent Garden production – though debuts are planned in both theatres for 2002 – is one of the great mysteries of British operatic life, for Dessay, as her EMI album of French operatic arias (5/97) amply demonstrated, is an acclaimed star in Vienna, Salzburg, the New York Met and, of course, the French capital, where she is something close to a cult figure.
Anyone who enjoys Mozart opera should hear this disc. Yet quite a few people who'd probably love it to death if they listened are going to pass it by. Why? Well, look at the selections - it's not exactly a 'greatest hits' selection in the truly popular sense. Lucio Silla, Il re pastore, Mitridate, Zaïde - hardly front rank Mozart operas in the public consciousness; with Die Entführung we're getting closer - and suddenly you spot track 2, Pamina's gorgeous lament to lost love from The Magic Flute: 'Ach, ich fühl's' - anyone who hears Sandrine Piau singing this famous number will want to experience the rest of the recording no matter what.