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Dip Your Ears: No. 272 (La Clemenza di Rolando Villazon)

available at Amazon
La Clemenza di Tito
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Chamber Orchestra of Europe Joyce DiDonato, Tara Erraught, Regina Mühlemann, Adam Plachetka, Marina Rebeka, Rolando Villazon
DG, 2018

The Nézet-Séguin Mozart opera project was doomed from the start.

It’d be easy to blame Deutsche Grammophon for having insisted on making their Nézet-Séguin Mozart operas a vehicle for Rolando Villazon, as a case-book study of marketing over musical sense. But these Baden-Baden performances were Villazon’s project and DG was stuck with their biggest star being the crassly weakest link—whether they care or not. It’s been rough-going with the releases so far (Don Giovanni fared best, the Entführungreview on Forbes – was pretty bad) and this La Clemenza di Tito is no better. After Villazon’s comeback from his vocal crisis, Mozart made sense. Except he still pushes it like French high-romanticism. Now the voice sounds strained, rudderless, devoid of nuance, ill at ease. The good-to-great supporting cast (Joyce DiDonato!) can’t salvage this, and neither can Nézet-Séguin’s splendid, traditional-but-energetic conducting of the responsive Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Shame.

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