Journalists are forever looking for 'the story', the headline that will grab the readers' attention. Well, the story here is the first joint disc from Magdalena Kozena with her partner (in the romantic sense) Simon Rattle.
However, the true reason to pay it so much attention is Kozena's breathtaking artistry. Here is a singer with both a rich and colourful voice and the musical intelligence to use that gift. Many of us knew that already, of course, but to these ears motherhood or maturity have somewhat changed her sound. It is fuller now, and she is now, if anything, even more confident and at ease with her talent.
Mozart has never really been Rattle's home turf, but he rises to the occasion with springy accompaniments. And Jos van Immerseel makes it into the second CD of the month in a row with his contribution from the fortepiano.
To be picky, I'd complain that the mezzosoprano over-elaborates in the Cherubino arias. But this is a showcase and as such it is dazzling. What more of a story do you need?
Name: Mozart Operatic Arias
Artists: Magdalena Kozena/Jos van Immerseel
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Sir Simon Rattle
Label: Archiv Produktion
- James Inverne is editor of Gramophone. A full review is published in the September issue.