Related Reviews
BBC Music Magazine
5 Stars
Recording of the Month: 'Soprano Elizabeth Watts gets to the heart of Mozart in a sparkling recording of arias and overtures, performed with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra under Christian Baldini.'
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MusicWeb International
Recording of the Month: 'I almost passed this by, thinking that I didn't need another collection of Mozart arias and overtures: I was very wrong...it's the quality of the singing that ultimately persuaded me to make this a Recording of the Month.'
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Gramophone
'The track that moved me most of all was the exquisite minuet song in which Servilia pleads to Vitellia to confess her guilt to the Emperor Titus – [Watts] vindicates [her broad tempo] with the mingled grace and unexaggerated fervour of her singing, the orchestra swelling and ebbing in delicate sympathy.'
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Classical Candor
'Baldini and soprano Elizabeth Watts handle the arias exquisitely. I also loved the precision and poise of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, who never fail to impress me with their devotion to the music.'
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The Observer
4 Stars
'a thrilling compilation'
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BBC Radio 3 ‘CD Review’
‘Soprano Elizabeth Watts in radiant form in arias across a half-dozen Mozart operas, each preceded by its overture from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Christian Baldini in the semi- historically informed mode familiar from the orchestra’s Mozart symphony recordings with Sir Charles Mackerras. In fact I think this makes a lovely adjunct to those recordings. Beautifully recorded as well.’
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Sinfini Music
4 Stars
'Thrilling playing from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra make this an essential disc in a crowded market, says Alexandra Coghlan, who enjoys this whistle-stop tour around Mozart's operas.'
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SA-CD.net
5 Stars
'Wherever you dip into this disc you will find singing of great character, freshness and refinement that marks out all of Elizabeth Watts' performances, making this a disc to return to often with much pleasure. Highly recommended.'
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The Sunday Times
'Watts is a rising British talent in this repertoire.'
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SA-CD.net
'A lovely recording...'
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Pizzicato
,,Elizabeth Watts...hat sich zu einer guten Mozart-Interpretin entwickelt. Ihre warme Stimme eignet sich bestens für die Susanna-Arie aus den ‘Nozze di Figaro’, und sie entwickelt dramatische Kraft und hoch geputschte Emotionalität in der Ilia-Arie aus ‘Idomeneo’.''
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Classic FM
Album of the Week: 'A really original idea.'
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'[Watt's] bright and flexible voice is wonderful in Mozart...This disc invites repeated listening and is highly recommended.'
more >>

Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Mozart: Opera Arias & Overtures - McAlister Matheson Music


01 June 2015
McAlister Matheson Music
Anne McAlister

This is a very classy disc, from the opening track (explosive orchestral playing from the SCO in the overture to Le nozze di Figaro) to the end, where soprano Elizabeth Watts gives a heart-wrenching portrayal of Fiordiligi in the aria Per pietà from Così fan tutte.

This is no random compilation. The listener is treated to six overtures from Mozart operas (FigaroIdomeneoDon GiovanniLa clemenza di TitoLa finta giardinera and Così), each followed by an aria (two in the case of Don Giovanni). Each overture sets the musical scene so that the aria is heard in an appropriate musical context - an excellent approach given the disparities in their compositional style and atmosphere.

Indeed, one of the many joys of this disc is the savouring of Mozart's development, for example in the final two selections, where his youthful handling of repetition in La finta giardiniera, composed when he was eighteen, contrasts starkly with his manipulation of words and music to great dramatic effect fourteen years later in Così.

Elizabeth Watts' singing throughout is sublime. She has handled her career very sensibly since winning the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize at the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2007, and the fruits of this approach are evident in her rock-solid technique and unblemished tone. As Susanna in Deh vieni non tardar from Figaro she sings with noble tranquillity, creating an impression of being intoxicated with love; as Ilia in Idomeneo her hatred of the victorious Cretan king has her spitting with fury before she turns to an anguished examination of her growing love for his son Idamante. Hearing this glorious music, it is difficult to believe it remained unperformed in Britain until a 1934 production in Glasgow.

Zerlina's aria Vedrai, carino from Don Giovanni again shows off Watts' flair for beautiful phrasing as well as her pearlescent, unforced top notes. The preceding Batti, batti is sung persuasively, with a beautifully played cello obbligato, although the aria's positioning immediately after the overture jarred slightly.

The disc's highlight is undoubtedly the recitative and aria from Così. Here Watts imbues the music with an infinite array of emotions, while technically she is completely assured, the long slow vocal leaps displaying a seamless vocal range that is as vibrant at the lower end as it is at the top.

I find something fresh in these seductive performances each time I hear them. This is another winner for Linn and the SCO.


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Related Links

Christian BaldiniChristian Baldini
Elizabeth WattsElizabeth Watts
Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Mozart: Opera Arias and OverturesMozart: Opera Arias and Overtures