Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Mitridate, Re Di Ponto

Magazine article Gramophone

Mozart: Mitridate, Re Di Ponto

Article excerpt

Mozart  Mitridate, re di Ponto  Barry Banks ten           Mitridate Miah Persson sop            Aspasia Sophie Bevan sop             Sifare Lawrence Zazzo counterten   Farnace Klara Ek sop                 Ismene Robert Murray ten            Marzio Anna Devin sop               Arbate 

Orchestra of Classical Opera / Ian Page Signum (M) (4) SIGCD400 (3h 44' * DDD * S/T/t)

The almost 15-year-old Mozart's first opera seria (Milan, 1770) was performed 22 times but not revived again until 1970. The Orchestra of Classical Opera play with admirable flexibility during the Overture, from the delicacy of the Andante grazioso to the energy of the ensuing Presto. From the outset, Ian Page nurtures a performance that crackles, beguiles, thrills and moves by turns exactly as Mozart's opera requires--and plenty of the credit must go to the expert continuo duo of Andrew Skidmore (cello) and Steven Devine (harpsichord), who ensure that the recitatives flow with theatrical awareness but without distracting fuss.

The tyrant Mitridate has extraordinary leaps hurling to the uppermost reaches of his voice, whether the music is designed to portray gentle catharsis upon arriving home safely from war ('Se di lauri il crine adorno', which took Mozart several attempts to satisfy the difficult tenor Guglielmo d'Ettore) or jealous shouts of 'perfidi' when condemning both of his sons to death ('Gia di pieta mi spoglio'). At either emotional extreme, Barry Banks dispatches the fiendish demands of the role with impressive security and vividness. …

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