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.
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.
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
Classical music is one of the greatest joys in life. Opera on the other hand, is often too melodramatic to stomach. But there is nothing more enchanting than an Aria. On this 2 CD set, Emma Kirkby sings in sweet exultation. Her voice expresses power and agility yet a limpid tranquility. Clarity is the greatest achievement of any musician. With the aid of precision accompaniment on period instruments, shameless perfection is delivered. She soothes the soul longing for beauty. Her marvelous Soprano is rendered on 25 tracks in this eclectic ensemble. If you are a champion of Handel or a devotee of Mozart, you should not hesitate to purchase this CD. Emma Kirkby will have you beaming with delight and pining for more. Surely it will be one of the brightest of your collection.
Mozart Edition: The Complete Works will make a great gift this Holiday season for the music lover in your life or someone who is hard to buy for. This collection contains 170 discs of completed works by Mozart in one beautiful package. Also included is a cd-rom containing essays on his works, artist bio's, text and libretti's. All music lovers will enjoy the Symphonies - Concertos - Serenades - Divertimenti - Dances - Chamber Music - Church Sonatas - String Ensembles - Violin Sonatas - Keyboard Works - Sacred Works - Concert Arias - Songs - Canons and Operas in this collection.
On previous releases, Natalie Dessay has established herself as perhaps the leading coloratura soprano of the day. Consider, for example, her artistry on the 1998 Lakmé. From the sensational fireworks heard in The Magic Flute's "Queen of the Night" arias that open and close this stimulating disc, her venture into the Mozart repertory is a resounding success. Dessay's elaborate embellishments in the arias from some of Mozart's little-known earlier works are as breathtaking–the high-flying aria from Ascanio in Alba leaves one begging for more. But roles like Pamina in The Magic Flute and Kostanze in The Abduction from the Seraglio are more properly the province of lyric sopranos, and often one feels the need for a voice with more expansive depth. Dessay nicely captures the tenderness in her affecting "Ach, ich fühl" lines, but Kostanze's "Martern aller Arten" would benefit from a juicier mid- and lower range. But the coloratura arias alone are worth hearing for their thrilling vocalism. –Dan Davis