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Briefly Noted: Gauvin's Mozart Arias

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Mozart, Opera and Concert Arias, K. Gauvin, Les Violins du Roy, B. Labadie

(released on March 25, 2014)
Atma ACD22636 | 63 min
After the most recent local concert by the Violons du Roy, last year at Strathmore, I was ready to declare the Québec-based group the best historically informed performance ensemble in North America. The group has a long history with Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin, who toured with them here in 2005, a collaboration featured again on this recent release devoted to concert and opera arias by Mozart. My opinion of Gauvin's voice has not changed much since that 2005 concert: she continues to sound at her best here when a slow, sustained tone is called for, especially gorgeous at piano dynamics. In that category is the striking "Ch'io mi scordi di te," a lengthy concert aria with a second solo part for pianoforte, played here with grace by Benedetto Lupo, as well as "Non più di fiori," Vitellia's gorgeous slow aria from La Clemenza di Tito, with a solo part for basset horn, played by André Moisan. Gauvin's feisty character comes through in other ways in the faster pieces, even in the few moments where her voice is not perfectly suited. Music director Bernard Labadie also leads crisp performances of two lesser-known Mozart overtures.

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