BBC Music Magazine - - Opera Reviews -


Bastien und Basti­enne

Anna Lu­cia Richter, Jac­ques Im­brailo, Alessan­dro Fisher, Dar­ren Jef­fery; Clas­si­cal Opera; The Mozartists/

Ian Page

Signum Records SIGCD 547 66:24 mins By the time he was 11 years old Mozart was quite an ac­com­plished com­poser, and this record­ing con­tains two of the five sig­nif­i­cant works he wrote in the pe­riod 176768. The first, Grab­musik (mu­sic sung at a me­mo­rial of Christ’s grave), con­tains one of the most dif­fi­cult arias he ever wrote for bass voice – ‘Felsen, spal­tet eu­ren Rachen’. It is only mod­er­ately suc­cess­ful here since, although Jac­ques Im­brailo

(as ‘Soul’) has a strong and warm voice, he is some­times un­fo­cused as to pitch and rhythm. Anna Lu­cia Richter (as the ‘An­gel’) is sweeter and more in con­trol, but the best record­ing of this work is in the Bril­liant Clas­sics Com­plete Mozart edi­tion with Thomas ★amp­son and Edith Wiens. That ver­sion also has an or­gan con­tinuo, which is more plau­si­ble than the tin­kling harp­si­chord em­ployed here.

This record­ing of the tale of two lovelorn rus­tics, Bastien und Basti­enne, is more in­ter­est­ing. It seems to be the first pre­sen­ta­tion of Mozart’s orig­i­nal set­ting since its pre­miere in Vi­enna in the house of Dr Mes­mer 250 years ago, and it re­tains the orig­i­nal spo­ken di­a­logues but has none of the recita­tives added later. The or­ches­tra is the star of the show. Ian Page draws from the play­ers mer­cu­rial changes of mood in the rel­a­tively per­func­tory items – espe­cially in the ma­gi­cian Co­las’ mock-hor­ror aria ‘Tätzel, Brätzel’ (Mozart later changed these words to ‘Dingi dingi’). The singers – Anna Lu­cia Richter (Basti­enne), Alessan­dro Fisher (Bastien), Dar­ren Jef­fry (Co­las) – are en­gag­ing but some­times un­der rep­re­sent the plot’s play­ful­ness. An­thony Pryer PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★ RECORD­ING ★★★★

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