Sandrine Piau, soprano
The Mozarteum Orchestra, Salzburg
Ivor Bolton, conductor
Get into opera, and one of the first Italian words you will learn will be “crudele.” It means “cruel one.” And this CD has a couple of great invocations of that word. But though there are several dandy hell-bent arias, there also is desperation of a gentler kind. “Don Giovanni” is represented by the lovely “Non mi dir,” not the more overwrought revenge arias. And somehow the breathtaking serenade “Deh vieni non tardar,” from “The Marriage of Figaro,” qualifies. Well, desperate strategies were at work, in that opera’s final act. There is also an overwrought aria from “Idomeneo,” “Se il padre perdei.” Soprano Sandrine Piau is a subtle singer who sculpts the melodies line lovingly and not always in the way you expect. The orchestra has a wonderful light sound. An opera fan will welcome in particular the arias from early Mozart operas – “La finta giardiniera,” “Mitridate, re di Ponto,” “Lucio Silla,” and “Il re pastore.” Mozart improved the older he got, but already, when he wrote these operas, he was head and shoulders above Salieri or any of his other competitors. Already that beauty was there.
– Mary Kunz Goldman