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Haydn, Orlando Paladino, P. Petibon, M. Schade, Concentus Musicus Wien, N. Harnoncourt (released on May 30, 2006)
Orlando Paladino, A. Auger, E. Ameling, OdCdLausanne, A. Dorati
Patricia Petibon, soprano
The low couple is dominated by tenor Markus Schäfer, who gives a steal-the-show performance that is both a vocal blockbuster and a comic triumph. As Pasquale, Orlando's cowardly and ever-hungry squire (sound like Papageno?), he has hilarious turns in the duet (no. 32 -- Quel tuo visetto amabile) with the shepherdess Eurilla (soprano Malin Hartelius), with its ridiculously lewd sighs; his faux-military aria (no. 30 -- Vittoria! Vittoria!), a parody of an opera seria convention; a buffo aria (no. 40 -- Ecco spiano) with virtuosic displays of his musical feats on the violin (not even a castrato can sing as well, he sings, soaring high into falsetto); and a patter aria (no. 17 -- Ho viaggiato in Francia, in Spagna), in which Schäfer punctuates his line with whistling.
In the supporting roles, baritone Christian Gerhaher sings with appropriate bluster as Rodomonte, and tenor Werner Güra is a sweet-voiced Medoro, who becomes Angelica's lover. This is a live recording, although the tracks were apparently selected from five consecutive performances (July 11 to 15, 2005) in the Stefaniensaal during the Graz Festival. As expected, there are a few stray problems here and there, including audience noise and some dropped notes. Harnoncourt's style is sometimes impetuous (erratic?) of tempo, as in the opera's opening sinfonia, which can be either exciting or unnerving. Rounded out by fine playing from Concentus Musicus Wien, this 2-CD set is enjoyable listening.
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 82876 73370 2