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<<  -- 2 --  Tess Crebbin    SYMPHONIES AND LETTERS


Last year at the Salzburg Festival the Italian singer made big time waves, very positive waves, singing opposite Thomas Hampson in Mozart's Don Giovanni. There are plenty of occasions, as the archived reviews testify, when D'Archangelo appears in an opera and steals the show of the lead. He is so astonishingly unique, by voice, name and character, that he gets attention whenever he opens his mouth to sing a note, probably even when he just walks down the street wherever he may be in the world. As for the Verdi Requiem, he has done it before: in 2000 on Philips, with Renée Fleming and Andrea Bocelli. Do we really need another Archangel Verdi Requiem? Indeed, we do. A different conductor, especially one of Harnoncourt's calibre, is bound to bring forth yet another new aspect of this fine young singer who is one of the most sought-after young bass-baritones and is currently known as being among the finest Mozart interpreters of our time. Mozart is not Verdi but what the Archangel can do to Mozart, he can do to Verdi -- a bit Italian-passionate, a bit lyric-romantic, bursting with sensitivity and emotion, impeccable diction, and a touch of underlying violence in his dark sullen timbre. One shall wait and see, and expect once more to be impressed by the Archangel when the CD hits the market, hopefully preceded by a press conference with Ildebrando d'Arcangelo present for a change.

Ildebrando d'Arcangelo. Photo: Salzburg Festival
Ildebrando d'Arcangelo. Photo: Salzburg Festival

6 August 2004 also marked the first official day of the completed BMG/Sony merger and, hence, a new and expanded list of classical recordings that will hit the market later this and throughout the next year. BMG classics' three labels, RCA Red Seal, Deutsche Harmonia Mundi (DHM) and Arte Nova Classics (which recently brought us the excellent Robert Dean Smith/Wagner Arias CD) have got some interesting items on their list for this season. DHM will contribute a very interesting new format this year, for expected release in October 2004: W A Mozart: Symphonies and Letters. Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducts Concentus Musicus Vienna for this two music CD and one text CD package (three CDs in total). Symphonies and Letters aims for a deeper understanding of Mozart the person as well as Mozart the composer, by inserting letters, read by children about the age of young Mozart, into the musical experience.

'If you think about it,' muses Nikolaus Harnoncourt, 'raising a child like Mozart in a family made up of mere human beings was as extraordinary as bringing up a crocodile, so exceptional was he and so far removed from ordinary mortals. I find it deeply moving that Leopold, Mozart's father, gave up his own composition activities the moment he noticed what an extraordinarily gifted child he had. The entire family put everything into supporting young Wolfgang Amadeus. That is a wonderful thing to do.'

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Copyright © 12 August 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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