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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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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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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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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McAlister Matheson Music
'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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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.'
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Scottish Chamber Orchestra - Mozart: Opera Arias & Overtures - MusicWeb International


01 August 2015
MusicWeb International
Brian Wilson

Reviewed as 24/96 download

I almost passed this by, thinking that I didn't need another collection of Mozart arias and overtures: I was very wrong.  The fault lies partly with Linn, who refer to a ‘selection of arias from six of Mozart's much-loved operas, alongside their respective overtures'.  In fact, this is far from being as run-of-the-mill as that makes it sound.  Buy this recording for the familiar items and you'll find yourself introduced to excerpts from operas that you may not have known or paid much attention to. 

That the three da Ponte comedies should be included is inevitable, but the two examples of Mozart in opera seriaIdomeno, re di Creta and La clemenza di Tito, and the early La finta giardiniera are certainly not over-exposed.  In fact, they are all works to which I very rarely listen in complete form, but I shall be digging the sets out of my collection to listen again after hearing Elizabeth Watts' advocacy of them.  That's especially true of the aria from La clemenza di Tito

Linn and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra have a distinguished history in Mozart, not least for the wonderful 2-CD recordings of the late symphonies which Sir Charles Mackerras made just before his death: CKD308: Recording of the Month - review - and CKD350: Recording of the Month - DL Roundup April 2010 - review.  If the new recording is, perhaps, not quite in that class, it's not at all far behind. 

Christian Baldini's direction is just right: that and the way in which the orchestra respond to his direction in the overtures and arias, though this is his first recording with them, is a very important ingredient in the success of this album.  Together they seem perfectly attuned to the singing of Elizabeth Watts. 

But it's the quality of the singing that ultimately persuaded me to make this a Recording of the Month.  I had come across Ms Watts before, for example as Zerlina in the Covent Garden Don Giovanni, a role which she very effectively reprises here in two arias, but I hadn't taken much note before; now I shall be revisiting the recordings on which she appears and looking out for her in future.  Like Emma Kirkby, she pursued another path, in her case archaeology, before becoming a professional singer.  Though she is a very different kind of soprano - her warmth a complement to Ms Kirkby's pure tones - she deserves to do as well.  The contrast between Susanna's Deh vieni non tardar (track 2) and the power which she displays on track 4, Padre, germani, addio from Idomeneo, indicates that she is capable of tackling a very wide range of roles. 

The recording is excellent.  The very fine booklet adds to the appeal of this release.  From me a short review usually implies high approval; in this case it certainly does. 


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Scottish Chamber OrchestraScottish Chamber Orchestra
Mozart: Opera Arias and OverturesMozart: Opera Arias and Overtures