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Sandrine Piau, Mozart Opera Arias, Freiburger Barockorchester, Gottfried von der Goltz (2002)
La Piau is in top form on this disc, her high-flying soprano sounding as flexible and laser-like as ever in Nel grave tormento, Aspasia's demanding aria from Mitridate, Rè di Ponto, for example. The selection is well chosen, with only one familiar choice, a shimmering Ach, ich fühls: besides three of Aspasia's arias, there are three of Giunia's pieces from Lucio Silla, one of Elisa's from Il Rè Pastore, one for Servilia from La Clemenza di Tito, and three for Konstanze from Die Entführung aus dem Serail. In all of them, Piau combines a lush sense of legato line, a clear and refined vocal color, and sparkling agility. All of that technique can be used by Piau to create performances of devastating simplicity, as in the final track, Zaïde's Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben (see the video below, with Les Talens Lyriques). The ensemble behind La Piau is the Freiburger Barockorchester, and this is the first time they have reached my ears. The results make me interested in their other recordings.