Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Idomeneo, K. 366: Non ho colpa [5:52], Fuor del mar [6:13]
Don Giovanni, K. 527: Dalla sua pace [4:14] Il mio tesoro intanto [3:50]
Così fan tutte, K. 588: Un aura amorosa [3:37]
Die Entführung aus dem Serail, K. 384: Konstanze, dich wiederzusehen [4:28] Ich baue ganz auf deine Stärke [5:40]
Die Zauberflöte, K. 620: Dies Bildnis is bezaubernd schön [3:10] Die Weisheitslehre dieser Knaben* [6:53] Wie stark ist nicht dein Zauberton! [2:35]
Aria with Recitative: Misero! O sogno - Aura che intorni spiri, K. 431 (425b) [8:57]
Pavol Breslik (tenor)
José van Dam (bass-baritone)*
Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Patrick Lange
rec. 19-23 May, 2014 & 28 March, 2015; Studio 1, Munich
ORFEO C889161A [55:26]

On recording a new Mozart recital disc, any modern tenor, no matter how gifted, carries the burden of being compared against several generations of stellar predecessors on record. It is one thing to perform live and satisfy an audience and another to enter a field dominated by names such as Wunderlich, Simoneau, Dermota, Burrows and back to seminal recordings by such as John McCormack or Tauber. Thus it is probably true that every aria in this collection is surpassed by a previous recording: Pavarotti or Rolfe Johnson in their prime were more thrilling as Idomeneo, Wunderlich more meltingly affecting as Tamino, Simoneau more suave and honeyed of tone in “Un aura amorosa”. Nonetheless, providing just under an hour’s worth of music, this new disc represents a satisfying survey of the best and most challenging of Mozart’s arias for tenor sung by probably the best Mozart tenor active today.

Pavol Breslik is still in his mid-thirties yet has already been singing in Mozart operas since he made his professional debut as Don Ottavio in Prague aged twenty-one. He is clearly comfortable with the demands of Mozart’s music; he has a very sound technique, considerable agility, evenness of tone throughout his range, excellent breath control and a clear command of Italian and German enunciation. Although there is a fair ring to the voice, where it perhaps disappoints is that the very consistency of his slightly white sound militates against much variety of characterisation or that individuality of utterance which brings instant recognition; his personalities all sound much the same. He is given alert, well-sprung accompaniment by the Munich Radio Symphony Orchestra sensitively directed by Patrick Lange and shows himself to be undaunted by arias such as “Ich baue ganz” which has often either been cut in live performance or avoided altogether by lesser tenors. Sometimes the sheer vibrancy of his vocal production works against the ease and elegance that an aria such as “Dalla sua pace” demands; the vibrations get in the way of smoothness required by the legato line, but in general this is most accomplished, if hardly memorable singing.

He is supported in the extended extract from “Die Zauberflöte” by veteran José van Dam as the Speaker, already in his mid-seventies and hardly surprisingly sounding rather grey and worn with a much more pronounced beat than was apparent in his beautiful voice during his long prime. The inclusion of the more rarely performed and recorded concert aria is a bonus. Another extra is the provision in the booklet of full texts and translations into English – unusual these days.

I would like to have been more excited by this recital, as it is so expertly and vibrantly sung; however, anyone seeking a fine representation of this gifted modern singer is unlikely to be disappointed.

Ralph Moore

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