One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

CD: Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
Donna - Opera and Concert Arias
Mitridate, rè di Ponto
1. Al destin che la minaccia [6:05]
Die Zauberflöte
2. Ach ich fühl’s [3:59]
Le nozze di Figaro
3. E Susanna non vien … [1:29]
4. Dove sono [4:15]
5. Giunse alfin il momento … [1:20]
6. Deh, vieni, non tardar [3:01]
La finta semplice
7. Senti, l’eco, ove t’aggiri [6:47]
Die Entführung aus dem Serail
8. Durch Zärtlichkeit und Schmeicheln [4:00]
9. Martern aller Arten [8:44]
10. Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio K 418 [6:07]
Don Giovanni
11. Crudele? Ah no, mio bene … [1:34]
12. Non mi dir [4:33]
La clemenza di Tito
13. S’altro che lagrime [1:47]
Don Giovanni
14. In quale eccessi … [1:59]
15. Mi tradì [3:39]
La clemenza di Tito
16. Ecco il punto … [2:18]
17. Non più di diori [6:18]
18. No, che non sei capace K 419 [4:07]
Diana Damrau (soprano)
Le Cercle de L’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer
rec. Maison de l’Orchestre National d’Ile de France, Alfortville, France, 14-20 January 2008
Texts and translations enclosed
VIRGIN CLASSICS 2120232 [73:21]
Experience Classicsonline

I reviewed Diana Damrau’s previous solo record, ‘Arie di bravura’ about a year ago. I wrote that ‘I expected pinpoint accuracy, easy delivery, beautiful but fairly thin tone with some edge to it, well controlled vibrato, expressive readings and good enunciation’. That disc, selected as a Recording of the Month, was filled with rarities by Salieri, Righini and Mozart. The Queen of the Night’s two arias from Die Zauberflöte were the only exceptions.
Damrau now returns with a downright Mozart disc. While there are some relative rarities here she has first and foremost selected favourites she has performed on stage – and a few she would like to do. Mozart has played a central part in Damrau’s operatic life and she has sung two or more roles from several operas. The first was Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro at her professional debut in Würzburg in 1995.
As on the first disc she is accompanied by the superb Le Cercle de l’Harmonie, who under their leader Jérémie Rhorer deliver crisp and rhythmically alert playing on period instruments. Long gone are the days when period ensembles played with thin, wiry string tone, were sometimes rather ill-tuned and where unanimity was suspect. These players are well integrated and they display an energy that is infectious. The many instrumental soloists, who are credited in the booklet, are also first class, none more so than the clarinettist Nicola Boud, who also plays the basset-horn in Vitellia’s aria from La clemenza di Tito (tr. 17).
In the booklet Richard Lawrence gives an overview of Mozart’s operatic writing, starting with La finta semplice in 1768 when Mozart was twelve. It was commissioned by the Emperor Joseph II, was rehearsed and performed privately. Due to intrigues the production was cancelled and was performed only once in Salzburg the next year. After that it was never heard again until modern times. Mozart was disappointed but his father was furious. Since Richard Lawrence’s essay is chronological it is a pity that the arias are not presented on the disc in chronological order, which would have made it much easier to follow his development. As it is they are presented in a haphazard order.
As on the previous disc Ms Damrau shows her prowess at expressing the individual characters’ personalities or at least their predicaments. The list of her merits set out at the start of this review is mostly applicable to this new recital as well. ‘Mostly’ is an indication that some signs of tear and wear on the voice have crept in. Whether this is temporary or a sign of permanent deterioration is hard to tell but it is quite obvious that the tone has hardened and become more aggressive. There’s also a noticeable widening of the vibrato when under pressure.
Against this can be listed any number of felicities. Her technique is marvellous with every demisemiquaver in the virtuoso runs perfectly controlled. Her top notes are luminous and effortless and when she floats the tone at pianissimo, as for example in Donna Anna’s aria from Don Giovanni (tr. 12), she is superb. The two concert arias – or rather insert arias, since they were composed to replace arias in Pasquale Anfossi’s Il curioso indiscreto to suit Aloysia Lange, his sister-in-law – also show her at the height of her powers. Vorrei spiegarvi (tr. 10) is sung with light, silvery tone to match the plucked string accompaniment. The tessitura is high but causes her no problems at all. The possibly still better known No, che non sei capace (tr. 18) is even better with its dizzying virtuosity and dramatic intensity. She can’t quite match the ease and elegance of Pierrette Alarie in the latter but it is a more than worthy reading. Alarie’s recording is presently available in a three-disc box with her husband Leopold Simoneau (see review).
Let me just add that Aspasia’s aria from Mitridate, another opera from Mozart’s youth, is a stunning demonstration in virtuosity. The two Figaro arias are both splendid but Susanna is a character better suited to Diana Damrau’s voice. Servilia’s short aria from La clemenza di Tito is certainly one of the most delicious things Mozart ever wrote. When she as Vitellia sings the famous aria with the basset-horn obbligato, she is required to go down in the deepest contralto register. Ms Damrau does this with impressive security.
Diana Damrau is certainly among the best lyric sopranos around at the moment and even though I have expressed some reservations there is so much to admire in this recital, not least her expressive handling of the texts.
Texts and translations in several languages are included but unfortunately the pages of my booklet had been shuffled so I had some difficulties in following them properly.
Göran Forsling

see also review by Ralph Moore



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.