Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Anett Fritsch (soprano)
Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Alessandro De Marchi
rec. December 2015, Studio 1 Bayerischen Rundfunk, Munich
Full Italian texts and English translations
ORFEO C903161A [61.29]

Anett Fritsch has entered popular territory for sopranos with this release of Mozart opera and concert arias. From the three Lorenzo Da Ponte operas Le nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte Fritsch has chosen arias from seven roles in total for an attractive programme. An astute touch is opening the release with the celebrated overture from Figaro which sets the scene perfectly.

German born, at Pluen in Saxony, Fritsch who studied at the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Music Academy, Leipzig has appeared at several of Europe’s renowned opera houses and festivals. Mozart operas have featured significantly in the soprano’s career, having stage experience of the roles of Despina, Pamina, Konstanze, Fiordiligi, Donna Elvira, Cherubino and Susanna on the opera stage.

There are three arias that I consider highlights. In the trouser role of Cherubino, his popular aria ‘Voi che sapete’ from Figaro, sung to the countess about the ordeal of his first love, is very attractively sung by Fritsch, suitably heartfelt while displaying a most appealing coloratura. Also from Figaro - and also impressive - is the Countess’ delightful aria ‘Porgi amor’. Lamenting how the Count has fallen out of love with her, this is a marvellous vehicle for the soprano’s lovely fluid tone. In the challenging aria ‘Temerari! - Come scoglio!’ from Così, Fiordiligi promises to remain faithful. Notable here is the dramatic expression Fritsch conveys and the buoyancy of her leaps. The concert arias ‘Bella mia fiamma Resta, oh cara’ and ‘Misera, dove son!’ are testing works which the soprano delivers with a sense of pleasing assurance. Overall, Fritsch sings remarkably well, however occasionally there is some minor harshness and unevenness in tone when stretched. Under the direction of Alessandro De Marchi, the Münchner Rundfunkorchester is in splendid form and engagingly enters into Mozart’s world with real relish.

There is a rather short playing time on this disc, of just over an hour. Although the focus is on the Da Ponte operas there is no convincing reason why additional arias from other Mozart operas should not have been included and why not the overtures to Don Giovanni and Così fan tutte too? I am pleased to report that full Italian texts and English translations are provided in the booklet, together with an interesting and helpful essay by Klaus Kalchschmid which looks at the chosen arias from Fritsch’s career perspective.

The record catalogue swells with a considerable number of excellent albums of Mozart soprano arias. However, I don’t consider Fritsch’s release at the same elevated level as the following albums: Of the older recordings I have great admiration for albums by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recorded 1946/52 on EMI, Barbara Hendricks (1984) on EMI, Cheryl Studer (1989) on Philips, the 2013 release from Elisabeth Grümmer, an album of live Munich recordings from 1956/62 on BR Klassik and Renée Fleming with her 1996 Decca release. The last decade or so has been an especially fruitful period producing a number of excellent albums notably from Sandrine Piau/Naïve, Anja Harteros/RCA Red Seal, Patricia Petibon/Deutsche Grammophon, Marina Rebeka/Warner, Diana Damrau/Virgin Classics and Sabine Devieilhe/Erato to the recent 2016 release from Regula Mühlemann/Sony.

In fine voice, Anett Fritsch offers an attractive programme of Mozart arias that should provide enjoyment although the competition in the catalogue is extremely fierce.

Michael Cookson

Track listing
Le nozze di Figaro, KV492 (1786)
1. Overture [4.08]
2. Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio [2.37]
3. Voi che sapete [2.49]
4. Porgi amor [3.32]
5. Giunse alfin il momento - Deh, vieni, non tardar [4.22]
Don Giovanni, KV527 (1787)
6. Ah Fuggi il Traditor [1.44]
7. Deh vieni, non tardar [3.46]
8. In quali eccessi - Mi tradì quell'alma ingrate [5.21]
Così fan tutte, KV588 (1790)
9. Ei parte - Per pietà [8.46]
10. Una donna a quindici anni [3.25]
11. Temerari! - Come scoglio! [5.51]
Concert Arias
12. Scena: Bella mia fiamma, addio, Aria: Resta, oh cara, KV528 (1787) [9.03]
13. Scena: Misera, dove son? Aria: Ah! non son' io che parlo! KV369 (1781) [6.31]

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