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Does Yannick's Figaro Recording Stand Out From The Others?

Yannick Nézet-Séguin is now years into his series of Mozart opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the latest being The Marriage of Figaro. But with so many recordings already on the market, The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns asks what place can this one claim.??

David Patrick Stearns: Opera is the recording industry's loss leader. But seemingly no expense has been spared for Yannick Nézet-Séguin's new Marriage of Figaro recording, with a cast that features major singers even in minor roles, posh, glossy packaging, and an attention to quality that's typical of the Baden Baden Festival. That's  where the recording was made, with an eye for beating the Salzburg Festival at its own Mozartean game.?

The pit band is Chamber Orchestra of Europe - the polar opposite of The Philadelphia Orchestra. No lush strings. A serious bite to the brass. And an ear for illuminating the operatic foreground with things that are generally left in the background. Nézet-Séguin talks about that in a promotional video made for the recording.  ??


Yannick Nézet-Séguin: Of course it's a farce, it's a comedy, it's people hiding from each other and yet, underneath in the orchestra, there's always this woodwind, this violin line which breaks your heart.??

DPS: Nézet-Séguin's ever-greater authority claims a niche for this recording — in the crowded Figaro discography — that more clearly tells you what the story is truly saying. Plus, there’s a cast that draws across generations.??

YNS: What really excites me, inspires me, is to have a mixture of legends in Mozart singing and new legends I would say.??

DPS: Hearing singers such as Sonya Yoncheva, Christiane Karg and Luca Pisaroni in the major roles of the Countess, Susanna, and Figaro, you know their time has come.

But who ever thought we'd hear the glamorous Anne Sofie von Otter playing the elderly Marcellina? Which is sort of the opera's Maggie Smith role. The advantage of veterans such as her and Thomas Hampson as the Count is this: In music as precise as Mozart's, they stake out their vocal territory instantaneously, which all goes to show there are no small roles when you have big personalities.