Mozart At His Most Sublime

Dec 27, 2005 (Updated Jan 8, 2006)
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Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Some of the most beautiful music you'll ever hear; excellent vocalists and orchestral accompaniment

Cons:Mozart's Concert Arias are too little known

The Bottom Line: This set includes some of the best opera music you're ever likely to encounter.


At the risk of irritating some of my friends here at Epinions, I'll state flat out that I prefer, on the whole, Mozart's Concert Arias to his operas. While the music for such masterpieces as Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute is utterly sublime, the librettos have never grabbed me emotionally in the way that many of those for the operas of Verdi and Puccini do. I'm just a romantic at heart. So, if one is going to listen to Mozart's operatic works mainly for the music, why not dispense with the stories altogether and enjoy his music as concert pieces?

Setting aside the logical argument, however, the simple fact is that Mozart's Concert Arias include some of his most sublime music. Many of the soprano concert arias in particular involve vocal stunts and gymnastics that simply must be heard to be believed. I love Mozart's music and my record collection includes every piece in the Koechel catalog of his works save one, which has apparently never been recorded. My special favorites, however, are the concert arias for which I own not only all of them, but also every version of each one that I've been able to acquire. Generally speaking, those numbered below K272 are good but not extraordinary, while many of the later pieces rank among the best pieces of music ever written. My personal favorites include K272, K316, K368, K416, K418, K419, and K505.

Historical Background: In Mozart's time, it was common for composers to write what we now call "concert arias" with particular singers in mind. These works were typically accompanied by orchestra and might or might not include an introductory recitative. Some of the works were intended as "insertion arias" to be substituted for an aria in an opera by another composer, usually because the original did not match the range of the soloist or to show off the talents of the soloist to maximum effect. At the time, opera scores were not viewed as sacrosanct and the practice of interpolations was widespread. It was the star singers who were all important. Sometimes the brilliant pieces written by Mozart stood out like diamonds among paste imitations, since his pieces were often inserted into operas written by prolific but not especially talented composers. On one occasion, for example, two Mozart arias were inserted into a performance of Il curioso indiscreto by Pasquale Anfossi. As Mozart later reported, the opera "failed completely with the exception of my two arias, the second of which, a bravura, had to be repeated."

Some of the other "concert arias" were truly stand alone vocal pieces designed for performance at benefit concerts. Mozart was not the only composer to provide such works. Domenico and Alessandro Scarlatti each wrote concert arias as did Haydn. About 60% of Mozart's works of this type were written for soprano and the rest divided between the alto, tenor, and bass voices. Since castrato vocalists don't exist today, the pieces originally written for such voices are now typically rendered by sopranos or altos.

The Contents:

K21   Va, dal furor portata
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 6'21   CD #4, band 7
Comment: The first of Mozart's concert arias was written in London in October 1765 when he was just nine! This was before he had written his first opera and these early concert arias helped to develop his operatic style. Mozart and his sister Nannerl were touring as child prodigies at the time. The text was from the Pietro Metastasio libretto for Ezio.

K23  Conservati fedele
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 7'12   CD #3, band 1
Comment: Written in Den Haag in 1765 using a text from another Metastasio libretto, Artaserse. After hearing this piece and the preceding one written by the nine year-old Mozart, Baron Grimm predicted that the boy would have an opera performed in an Italian theater before he was twelve! Grimm was almost right. By age 12, Mozart had completed La finta semplice (a full-length opera buffa) and Bastien und Bastienne (a one-act singspiel). Mozart's first opera was not performed on an Italian stage, however, until he had reached the advanced age of fourteen.

K36  Or che il dover…Tali e cotanti sono
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 9'35   CD #5, band 3
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1966 in honor of the anniversary of the consecration of the Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach. The source of the text is unknown.

K70  A Berenice…Sol nascente
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 11'44   CD #4, band 5
Comment: Written sometime during the late 1760's in Salzburg for insertion in the opera Vologeso and in honor of the birthday of Archbishop Sigismund von Schrattenbach. The source of the text is unknown.

K74b  Non curo l'affetto
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 4'57   CD #3, band 4
Comment: Written around 1771 based on text from Metastasio's Demofoonte This piece was composed during the afterglow of Mozart's triumph in Milan on December 26th, 1770, in which his first large-scale opera, Mitradate, Rč di Ponto, was performed at the Teatro Regio Ducal. The 14-year-old composer had himself also conducted the first three performances while playing the first harpsichord. Thereafter, two famous composers of the day, Lampugnani and Chiesa, had taken over the conducting of subsequent performances so that Mozart and his father could enjoy the performances as spectators. The manuscript indicates that this concert aria was written for use at a theater in Pavia, thirty miles south of Milan.

K77  Misero me!…Misero pargoletto
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 12'05   CD #2, band 7
Comment: Written in Milano in 1770 based on text from Metastasio's Demofoonte.

K78  Per pietŕ, bell'idol mio
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 4'35   CD #1, band 9
Comment: Written around 1766 based on text from Metastasio's Artaserse, a text so popular at the time that it was set to music at least 107 times.

K79  Oh, temerario Arbace!…Per quel paterno amplesso
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 6'36   CD #1, band 3
Comment: Written around 1766 based on text from Metastasio's Artaserse.

K82  Se ardire e speranza
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 6'48   CD #2, band 9
Comment: Probably written for the celebrated castrato Giovanni Manzuoli in Rome in 1770, based on text from Metastasio's Demofoonte. Mozart had taken singing lessons with Manzuoli in London when he was nine. Manzuoli was a gifted singer with both power and vocal agility.

K83  Se tutti i mali miei
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 6'46   CD #2, band 4
Comment: Written in Rome in 1770, possibly for Anna de Amicis, based on text from Metastasio's Demofoontes. This is a very impressive piece, especially considering how youthful Mozart was when it was written. There are plenty of lovely trills.

K88  Fra cento affanni
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 9'43   CD #3, band 3
Comment: Written in Milano in 1770 on a text from Metastasio's Artaserse. The piece appears to have been designed for a virtuoso castrato voice. This is the most ambitious of Mozart's arias based on Artaserse.

K119  Der Liebe himmlisches Gefühl
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 5'53   CD #3, band 6
Comment: The piano accompaniment for this piece was written by someone other than Mozart. The brilliant music is not well matched to the rather morose text. At one point, the soprano is required to sing 69 notes on a single syllable of text.

K178  Ah! spiergarti, oh Dio
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 3'38   CD #3, band 5
Comment: This aria was written as an insertion piece for the opera Il curioso indiscreto by Pasquale Anfossi, the same text used later for K418.

K209  Si mostra la sorte
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 3'31   CD #4, band 8
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1775 as an insertion piece for some unknown opera buffa.

K210  Con ossequio, con rispetto
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 2'44   CD #4, band 9
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1775 as an insertion piece for Nicola Piccinni's opera buffa L'Astratto ovvero il giocatore fortunate.

K217  Voi avete un cor fedele
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 6'38   CD #2, band 5
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1775 as an insertion piece for Baldassare Galuppi's opera Le nozze di Dorina, which was performed in Salzburg by a touring Italian troupe.

K255  Ombra felice!…lo ti lascio
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 8'13   CD #2, band 6
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1776 for the alto castrato Francesco Fortini, on text from the opera Arsace by Michele Mortellari. There is a brief recitative that leads directly into the aria. This is a simple but effective piece. It shows off Berganza's voice very nicely.

K256  Clarice cara mia sposa
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 1'39   CD #5, band 1
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1776 for Antonio Palmini as a substitution aria.

K272  Ah, lo previdi!…Ah, t'invola
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 12'12   CD #1, band 1
Comment: Written in Salzburg in 1777 on a commission from the Prague-born soprano Josefa Dušek, this is the first of Mozart's great concert arias. It's an ambitious piece with strong dramatic intensity. Josefa never appeared in operas but performed vocal music from oratorios and operas on the concert stage. Beethoven's famous concert aria Ah! Perfido was written for Josefa as well. Mozart later set Aloysia Weber the task of mastering this dramatic scene.

K294 (Version 1)  Alcandro, lo confesso…Non so d'onde viene
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 8'57   CD #3, band 7
Comment: Written in 1778 on a text from Metastasio's Olimpiade, this was the first of seven concert arias written expressly for Aloysia Weber. Mozart was deeply in love with Aloysia, though he later ended up marrying her sister. Aloysia had an especially high range and could easily reach the F about high C and this aria ends on an E flat just two tones below that F.

K294 (Version 2)  Non so d'onde viene
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 7'16   CD #3, band 8
Comment: In 1837, Mozart's widow, Constance Weber, send a page of the manuscript for K294 to a minor composer in Graz. It showed in Mozart's own hand variations and vocal decorations on the vocal line of K294, which are illustrated in this alternative rendition.

K295  Se al labbro mio non credi
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 11'29   CD #5, band 2
Comment: This aria was written in 1778 in Mannheim for Anton Raaf, based on text from the opera Artaserse by Johann Adolf Hasse. Raaf was one of the most famous tenors of his time, but he was already sixty-four, so Mozart avoids coloratura and restricts the range to barely more than an octave.

K316  Popoli di Tessaglia!…lo non chiedo, eterni Dei
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 10'24   CD #4, band 6
Comment: Mozart composed this scene for Aloysia Weber while in Paris in 1778, based on text from the opera Alceste by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Since this opera by Gluck had been a resounding success, it was a bold undertaking on Mozart's part to provide his own setting for one of the most famous scenes. He was still just 23 years of age. Mozart gives special attention to the recitative for this composition. This magnificent aria is loaded with vocal fireworks, twice reaching the G about high C.

K368  Ma che vi fece, o stelle…Sperai vicino il lido
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 8'17   CD #4, band 1
Comment: This aria was written by Mozart in 1781, probably in Munich, possibly for Elisabeth Wendling, based on a text from Metastasio's Demofoonte. Wendling was a dramatic coloratura soprano with a large voice and an extended range. This is another of the finest of Mozart's concert arias.

K369  Misera, dove son!…Ah! non son io che parlo
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 6'46   CD #1, band 10
Comment: This aria was written in Munich in 1781 for Gräfin Maria Josepha Paumgarten, based on a text from Metastasio's Ezio. This was Mozart's last piece of music written before taking up residence in Vienna for the rest of his life. Mozart had just staged his opera Idomeneo to great acclaim. Paumgarten was an aristocratic amateur, so the piece is written with suitable restrictions on vocal demands.

K374  A questo seno deh vieni…Or che il cielo a me ti rende
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 8'35   CD #2, band 3
Comment: This aria was written for Francesco Ceccarelli, a soprano castrato, in 1781, based on text from Giovanni de Gamerra's opera Sismano nel Mogol. Mozart was traveling in Vienna with two other musicians, violinist Gaetano Brunetti and male soprano Ceccarelli. Mozart composed the Rondo for Violin and Orchestra, K. 373, for the former and this aria for the latter. The pieces were performed at a concert on April 8th, 1781 and this aria was the hit of the evening, having to be repeated as an encore.

K383  Nehmt meinen Dank, ihr holden Gönner!
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 3'35   CD #1, band 7
Comment: This aria written in 1783 for Aloysia Lange (nee Weber) uses a German language text. It was all Mozart could do to overcome his bitter feelings from being rejected by Aloysia in favor of the actor and painter Joseph Lange. Aloysia was departing Vienna to take up residence in Munich with a German opera and this aria provided her farewell piece as she made her graceful exit.

K416  Mia Speranza adorata!…Ah non sai quai pena sia
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 8'29   CD #4, band 2
Comment: This great aria was composed for Aloysia Lange in 1783. Aloysia performed the piece just three days after its completion on January 8th and repeated it on March 23rd at an all-Mozart concert at the Burgtheater. This is one of the finest concert arias ever written.

K418  Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 6'08   CD #4, band 3
Comment: This was written later in 1783, also for Aloysia, as an insertion piece for the opera Il Curioso indiscreto by Pasquale Anfossi. Mozart had tried his hand earlier with the same text as K178. The present version opens with a marvelously layered orchestral adagio. Near the aria's conclusion, the soprano is required to leap from the bottom of her register more than two octaves to a high D.

K419  No, che non sei capace
Voice: soprano   Performer: Elfriede Hobarth
Running time: 4'31   CD #4, band 4
Comment: Later in the same opera for which K418 was written, the character Clorinda has a second aria. Mozart's two pieces were the highlight of the evening in which Aloysia debuted in Vienna with an Italian Opera Company.

K420  Per pietŕ, non ricercate
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 6'28   CD #5, band 4
Comment: Mozart also wrote a tenor aria for Valentine Adamberger for the same occasion that provided the impetus for K418 and K419, but Mozart's enemies industriously circulated a rumor that Adamberger was incapable of performing the original, so the tenor was forced to prove that he could, which meant that Mozart's insertion piece had to be dropped for the evening. This is one of Mozart's finest tenor arias. The emotion gradually builds, note by note, from repressed feelings to intense passion.

K431  Misero! O sogno…Aura, che intorno spiri
Voice: tenor   Performer: Gösta Winbergh
Running time: 10'17   CD #4, band 10
Comment: This aria was written in 1783 for Valentin Adamberger for use at a benefit concert in December of 1783.

K432  Cosě dunque tradisci…Aspri rimorsi atroci
Voice: bass   Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Running time: 4'18   CD #5, band 8
Comment: This piece was written in 1783 for Ludwig Fischer based on a text from Metastasio's Temistocle. This is a dramatically passionate piece.

K433  Männer suchen stets zu naschen (Warnung)
Voice: bass   Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Running time: 2'10   CD #5, band 5
Comment: Arranged by Fürst, this aria begins with the text, "Men always try to nibble, if you leave them free. Girls are easy to catch if you know how to surprise them; is that to be wondered at?"

K486a  Basta, vincesti…Ah, non lasciarmi
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 5'53   CD #2, band 1
Comment: This piece was written in 1778 for Dorothea Wendling on text from Metastasio's Didone abbandonata.

K490  Non piů. Tutto ascoltai…Non temer
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 9'57   CD #1, band 5
Comment: This was one of two extra numbers composed by Mozart for a special performance of his opera Idomeneo in Munich in 1786. The other piece was a duet (K489). Although Idomeneo has a rather rigid libretto, the music is lovely and Mozart was exceedingly proud of it.

K505  Ch'io mi scordi di te?…Non temer amato bene
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 9'35   CD #3, band 2
Comment: This aria was written in 1786 for Nancy Storace. This piece is among the greatest concert arias ever written. The interplay between the solo voice and the piano is exceptional, making the piece almost a de facto duet. Storace was a talented prima donna who had starred in an earlier production of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. The text is the same as that used for K490.

K512  Alcandro, lo confesso…Non so d'onde viene
Voice: bass   Performer: Fernando Corena
Running time: 5'21   CD #5, band 10
Comment: This aria was written in 1787 for Ludwig Fischer on a text from Metastasio's Olimpiade. Fischer was the greatest bass of his era.

K513  Mentre ti lascio, oh figlia
Voice: bass   Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Running time: 8'00   CD #5, band 7
Comment: This piece was written in 1787 for Gottfried von Jacquin based on a text from Paisiello's La disfatta di Dario.

K528  Bella mia fiamma, addio!…Resta, oh cara
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 9'07   CD #1, band 6
Comment: This aria was written in 1787 in Prague for Josefa Dušek on a text from Jommelli's Cerere placata. This is a fairly typical operatic scene of despair and farewell. When Don Giovanni opened in Prague in late October, 1787, Mozart stayed as a guest with Josefa and her husband at their cottage just outside the city. According to legend, Josefa locked Mozart in his bedroom until he finished this concert aria for her. He in turn agreed to hand it over to her only if she sang it correctly the first time at sight.

K538  Ah se in ciel, benigne stelle
Voice: soprano   Performer: Krisztina Láki
Running time: 7'22   CD #3, band 9
Comment: This piece was written in Vienna in 1788 for Aloysia Lange on a text from Metastasio's L'eroe cinese. This was the last concert aria written by Mozart on a text by Metastasio although Mozart's last full opera, La Clemenza di Tito, had a libretto adapted from Metastasio. Aloysia's rejection of Mozart's romantic interest had been a bitter pill for the young man, but by 1788, he was happily married to Aloysia's sister, Constance, while her marriage was not a happy one. Aloysia penned a notation on the score of this aria meant for Mozart that read, "In your days of happiness remember now and then the people of Thessaly," which was an oblique reference to the days in which Mozart had written arias (such as K316) expressly for Aloysia out of deep love for her.

K539  Ich möchte wohl der Kaiser sein!
Voice: bass   Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Running time: 2'47   CD #5, band 6
Comment: This aria was written for Friedrich Baumann in 1788 on a text by Johann Wilhelm Ludwig Gleim. This is sometimes called the "German Battle Song." It originated during the outbreak of the Turkish war.

K541  Un bacio di mano
Voice: bass   Performer: Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
Running time: 2'05   CD #5, band 9
Comment: This insertion piece was written in Vienna in 1788 for Francesco Albertarelli on a text from Anfossi's Le gelosie fortunate. There's a motif in this piece that foreshadows the first movement of the Jupiter Symphony.

K577  Giunse alfin il momento…Al desio di chi t'adora
Voice: alto   Performer: Teresa Berganza
Running time: 7'26   CD #2, band 8
Comment: This was the first of the two replacement arias written for Adriana Ferraresi's performance of Susanna in the revival of Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro (see K579 below). This is a dazzling piece but does not fit the dramatic character as well as the opera's original aria did.

K578  Alma grande e nobil core
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 4'19   CD #2, band 2
Comment: This interpolation aria was written in 1789 for Louise Villeneuve on a text from Domenico Cimarosa's I due baroni di Rocca Azzurra, revived on September 6th, 1789 in Vienna. It features vocal leaps and trills.

K579  Un moto di gioia
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 1'37   CD #1, band 11
Comment: When Mozart's own The Marriage of Figaro was revived in Vienna in 1789, Mozart wrote two new arias expressly for Adriana Ferraresi del Bene, but the originals have won out and are the ones performed when the opera is presented today.

K580  Schon lacht der holde Frühling
Voice: soprano   Performer: Edita Gruberová
Running time: 7'46   CD #1, band 8
Comment: Mozart completed the vocal line but only sketched the orchestral part for this piece, abandoning the piece when the revival of Paisiello's Il barbiere di Siviglia, for which this piece was intended, fell through.

K582  Chi sa, chi sa, qual sia
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 3'19   CD #1, band 4
Comment: This aria was written in 1789 for Louise Villeneuve on a text from Martin y Soler's Il burbero di buon cuore. This aria and the next were insertion pieces for a revival of Soler's opera performed at the Vienna Burgtheater on November 9th, 1789.

K583  Vado, ma dove? Oh Dei!
Voice: soprano   Performer: Kiri Te Kanawa
Running time: 4'05   CD #1, band 2
Comment: This insertion aria was written in 1789 for Louise Villeneuve on a text from Martin y Soler's Il burbero di buon cuore. This is a beautifully lyrical piece.

K584  Rivolgete a lui lo squardo
Voice: base   Performer: Fernando Corena
Running time: 4'49   CD #5, band 11
Comment: Originally part of Cossi fan tutte, Mozart removed the piece because it would have thrown off the overall balance of the opera.

K612  Per questa bella mano
Voice: bass   Performer: Fernando Corena
Running time: 5'25   CD #5, band 12
Comment: This aria was written in Vienna in 1791 for Franz Xaver Gerl on an text of unknown origin. Mozart dedicated this work to two close friends, Franz Gerl and Pichelberger, who was a double-bass player of great renown.

Production Values: This five-CD set features eight great soloists and György Fischer conducting the Wiener Kammerorchester for most of the pieces. John Pritchard chips in with the London Symphony Orchester for K505, Reinhard Peters and the Weiner Haydn-Orchestra for all of the arias for bass sung by Fischer-Dieskau (K432, K433, K513, K539, and K541), and Argeo Quadri and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House for Fernando Corena's bass arias (K512, K584, and K612). The eight soloists include four sopranos, one mezzo-soprano (or alto), one tenor, and two basses. Not only are these folks all excellent vocalists, but all are expert in interpreting Mozart.

Sopranos:

Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, born March 6th, 1944 in New Zealand, is the adopted daughter of an Irish mother and Maori father. She first gained critical acclaim in Mozart's Idomeneo and came to international attention as Xenia in Boris Godunov and as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro. Her Metropolitan debut was as Desdemona in Othello. Kiri te Kanawa has a deep, rich, creamy, lyric soprano voice.

Slovak soprano Edita Gruberová debuted in Bratislava as Rosina in The Barber of Seville. She specializes in coloratura roles and is the greatest current true coloratura soprano. She debuted in Glyndebourne in 1974 and at the Metropolitan in 1977. Gruberová is known for her great vocal agility and tonal clarity.

Krisztina Láki was born around 1954 in Budapest, Hungary. She made her professional debut in Berne, Switzerland and became a star of the German Opera of the Rhine in Düsseldorf, Germany as well as a frequent guest artist at the Cologne Opera. She has toured the U.S. and appeared widely in opera houses throughout the world and at festivals. She is known for an exceptionally wide repertoire, spanning from Monteverdi to contemporary music. Her voice has a crystalline clarity.

Elfriede Hobarth is the performer in this collection about whom I know the least, but nevertheless sings several of the best pieces in the collection, including K316, K368, K416, K418, and K419. She exhibits tremendous vocal agility, range, clarity, and a whole lot of ping.

Mezzo-soprano:

Teresa Berganza was born in Madrid and has appeared in major opera houses throughout the world, including Covent Garden in London, La Scala in Milan, the Paris Opera, and the Metropolitan in New York. Berganza is known for great delicacy and sensuality. Her voice has a golden warmth.

Tenor:

Gösta Winbergh was born in Stockholm, Sweden on December 30th, 1943. He played in a rock band before turning to opera, making his debut as Rodolfo in La Bohčme in 1973. Since 1983, he has frequently performed as a guest at the Zurich Opera, especially in Mozart roles. Winbergh has a lyric voice with a golden tone and is well-known for his recitals. In recent years, he broadened his repertoire to include some of the heavier tenor parts, in operas of Wagner and Richard Strauss. Winbergh died recently.

Basses:

Albert Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, born May 28th, 1925 in Germany, was the greatest German bass-baritone of his generation. He was engaged as the principal lyric baritone of the Municipal Opera in Berlin in 1948 and made guest appearances in opera houses all over the world, from Covent Garden in London, to the Hamburg State Opera, to Japan. He gave his first lieder recital at Carnegie Hall in New York City in 1964 and was considered the world's foremost male performer of lieder. Fischer-Dieskau has also been widely praised for his commitment to contemporary music. He retired from concert activity in 1993.

Fernando Corena (1916-1984) was an Italian bass in the basso buffo tradition with good vocal range and strong substance in his voice.

Bottom-Line: If you love opera, check out these Mozart Concert Arias. They include some of the most spectacular operatic arias you'll ever encounter. Many would be world famous had they been included in one of the great Mozart operas. This collection is among my favorite recordings of classical music.


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