Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756 – 1791)
Maria Bengtsson (soprano)
Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne/Bertrand de Billy
rec. 20–24 February 2016, venue not stated
No texts enclosed
MDG 9401973-6 SACD [67:09]

Internationally acclaimed soprano Maria Bengtsson was born in Trelleborg in the south of Sweden. She had her training at the High School of Music in Malmö and graduated from the University of Music in Freiburg, Germany in 2000. After that she became a member of the Volksoper in Vienna for two years before moving to the Komische Oper in Berlin, where she remained until 2007. Since then she has performed in opera houses all over Europe, including the Frankfurt Opera, the Berlin Staatsoper, Covent Garden in London, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, Paris Opera Bastille, La Fenice in Venice, the Bolshoi in Moscow and the Salzburg Festival, to mention just a few. Besides this she also appears in concert.

This Mozart recital, recorded less than a year ago easily explains why she is in such great demand. She has a marvellous voice with creamy tone and exquisite dynamic shadings. Her pianissimo singing is superb and she delivers expressive recitatives, where she reveals deep insight into the various characters. The four arias from Idomeneo are sung with refinement and intensity and the delightful Zeffiretti lusinghieri could hardly be bettered. In Idomeneo Mozart returned to opera after an interval of more than five years – if we disregard Zaide, which he never completed – and he had matured considerably. He wrote many fine arias during his adolescence but here he shows a much deeper psychological understanding and dramatic expressive faculty. Idomeneo is his first great opera and we can hear traces of motifs that were to appear again in Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte. Idomeneo hasn’t quite established itself in the same way as the Da Ponte operas and Die Zauberflöte have, even though Operabase lists 34 productions during the period 2014–2019. Anyway it is good that Ms Bengtsson includes almost half an hour from this opera.

She is a lovely Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, warm and vulnerable, but she is even more in her element as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, dramatic and biting. La Contessa in Le nozze di Figaro is noble and sad but not resigned. Porgi amor goes to the heart and if Il Conte had been eavesdropping I’m sure he would have embraced her and sobbed “I do love you, Rosina!”. Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte has an almost superhuman task to negotiate the wide range, and Ms Bengtsson is slightly weak in the lowest register, but everything else is so marvellously done. This is one of the loveliest Mozart recitals I have heard in a long time.

The playing of the Lausanne Chamber Orchestra is first class and the experienced Bertrand de Billy conducts with style. My only regret is the absence of the sung texts.

Göran Forsling
Track listing
Idomeneo, Rè di Creta, KV 366:
1. Recitativo Quando avran fine omai ... Aria Padre, germani, addio! [7:56]
2. Aria Se il padre perdei [5:53]
3. Recitativo Solitudini amiche ... Aria Zeffiretti lusinghieri [6:38]
4. Recitativo Chi mai del mio provò piacer più dolce? ... Aria Idol mio [8:05]
Die Zauberflöte, KV 620:
5. Aria Ach ich fühl’s [3:47]
Don Giovanni, KV 527:
6. Recitativo Chiamo soccorso ... Aria Or sai chi l’onore [3:18]
7. Recitativo Crudele! Ah no, mio bene! ... Aria Non mi dir [7:08]
Le nozze di Figaro, KV 492:
8. Cavatina Porgi amor [3:38]
9. Recitativo E Susanna non vien! ... Aria Dove sono [6:13]
Così fan tutte, KV 588:
10. Recitativo Temerai, sortite fuori di questo loco! ... Aria Come scoglio [5:52]
11. Recitativo Ei parte senti! ... Aria Per pietà, ben mio, perdona [8:35]

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