Nézet-Séguin’s Figaro – Nice, but lacking some sparkle

I don’t regularly write about opera, as I don’t really consider myself an opera expert. I come from instrumental music, and tend to judge operas much more on the orchestral performance than on the singers.

But then again, occasionally there are operas I really care about and therefore feel comfortable enough sharing my impression. My favorite opera composer by far is Mozart, and I’ve mentioned Jacobs’ beautiful Idomeneo in My Must Have Mozart Albums

Furthermore, there is one more five star rating opera review, Nézet-Séguin’s Cosi Fan Tutte, recorded live in  Baden-Baden. Cosi is my absolute favorite Mozart opera, closely followed by Le Nozze di Figaro.

So as you can kind of guess, when Nézet-Séguin’s Figaro was very recently released, I clicked buy pretty much instantaneously.

Le Nozze di Figaro – Nézet-Séguin (Deutsche Grammophon 2016)

Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro - Yannick Nézet-Séguin - Chamber Orchestra of Europe 24/96 Deutsche Grammophon 2016

Maybe I should have used my streaming subscription first.

No, that’s a bit harsh, I don’t expect to regret the purchase. It’s just that after the great Cosi I just expected more. I expect drive, lightness, sparkle! Just what the libretto of this slightly silly story requires.

And what we get here is slightly different. Nothing really wrong, beautiful singers, and the COE plays well, but there is the certain “Je ne sais quoi” missing.

I mean, we have with Thomas Hampson and Sonya Yoncheva a beautiful Almaviva couple.

However, both Pisaroni and Karg convince me a bit less. They sound a bit too much Belcanto, and not enough Mozart, if you know what i mean.

And even Nézet, who usually plays so energetically, just takes a slightly lower, heavier tone here with the COE. Nuances, I admit, but I still rather go back to Jacobs, Erich Kleiber, or James Levine at the Met.

I’m curious to hear if these are only my personal impressions, or if you share them. Please agree or disagree with me in the comments section!

My rating: 4 stars (it is still very much worth owning, may just not be the best out there)

You can find it here (Qobuz) and here (Prestoclassical)

UPDATE Aug 15: Gramophone agrees with me in their September 2016 issue, saying that “the drama slips through his [Nézet-Séguin’s] fingers at some places.

Author: Musicophile

I'm not a professional musician, I don't work in the music industry, I'm just what the name says, somebody who loves music. I've been in love with music for all of my life, took piano lessons for nearly 10 years, and played in several amateur Jazz groups. I go to concerts, both classical and Jazz, quite regularly. And I collect music previously on vinyl and CDs, now on my computer, and am slightly OCD on my music collection. You can reach me at Musicophile1(AT)gmail.com

18 thoughts on “Nézet-Séguin’s Figaro – Nice, but lacking some sparkle”

  1. I agree with you totally. After Entführung I expected much more. There Villazon was the weakest point. Here the whole recording is dull and Karg is the worst Suzanna I have ever heard. Her voice does not suit to Mozart. I prefer René Jacobs’s wonderful Figaro.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am just remembering that words in:
        http://www.gramophone.co.uk/features/focus/mozarts-the-marriage-of-figaro-%E2%80%93-the-best-recording
        “Now for René Jacobs, a conductor to whom I am normally allergic: there’s a monstrous speeding-up in the Act 1 Trio, the fortepiano continuo is as usual hyperactive, tension is lost in the Count’s duet with Susanna, the Sextet is strangely nervy, Basilio sings falsetto at one point: the list of irritations is endless, but the playing of Concerto Köln and a first-rate cast including Simon Keenlyside as the Count make for compulsive listening.”

        For my part:
        I don’t hate Jacobs I love his musical interpretation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Perhaps my bad English have caused some mistakes. I take the Gramophone’s reviewer for an arrogant and prejudiced person, who is “normally allergic for Jacobs”. I’ve got 25 recording from Jacobs and many of them are my reference recordings. And what is more, he worked sometimes together with my favorit female singer Bernarda Fink.

        Liked by 1 person

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