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La Piau

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Sandrine Piau, Mozart Opera Arias, Freiburger Barockorchester, Gottfried von der Goltz
We have reviewed French soprano Sandrine Piau before at Ionarts, including her disc of Handel arias with Les Talens Lyriques and a live performance of Mozart's Il Rè Pastore with the Orchestre des Folies Françoises at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. A copy of her 2002 CD of Mozart arias recently came across my desk, and the experience has been worth the wait. La Piau gave an interview to Philippe Gelinaud shortly after this recording was released, where she has some noteworthy things to say about who created the embellished da capo repeats in her various performances and recordings. Christophe Rousset often writes them for his recordings, she said, as did Emmanuelle Haïm when she was Rousset’s assistant, but not Gloria Banditelli, under Fabio Biondi, when Piau composed her own. Her favorite da capos, she said, are those composed by Jérôme Corréas, including some on this Mozart CD (not credited) and some on the Handel CD (I pointed them out as excellent in my review).

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.

Naïve E8877

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