Mozart: La Finta Semplice / Hager
Label: BRILLIANT CLASSICS
ozart: La Finta Semplice, K51 Thomas Moser (Fracasso), Helen Donath (Rosina), Robert Holl (Don Cassandro), Anthony Rolfe-Johnson (Don Polidoro), Teresa Berganza (Donna Giacinta), Robert Lloyd (Simone), Jutta-Renate Ihloff (Ninetta) Mozarteumorchester Salzburg, Leopold Hager
A dreamcast for this early opera of Mozart (he was 12 when he composed it for the Emperor Joseph II!): Helen Donath, Robert Holl, Teresa Berganza, Anthony Rolfe-Johsnon, Thomas Moser and Robert Lloyd are set against the salzburgian forces of the Mozarteum Orchestra under Leopold Hager. A gem, hidden in the Brilliant Classics Complete Mozart Edition, now issued in the Brilliant Classics Opera Collection! Stories of Mozart’s precocious musical talent are well known, forming an integral part of our understanding of this legendary composer. However, while many listeners will be familiar with early works like the Pieces and Minuets for piano, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the charming opera buffa La finta semplice, composed by the 12-year-old Mozart in 1769 at the suggestion of Emperor Joseph II. The work gives an incomparable insight into Mozart’s development as an operatic composer, and listeners of this splendid recording will be rewarded by the outstanding quality of the music and interpretation. The libretto of La finta semplice spins a tale of love and deception centred around a crafty scheme concocted by Captain Fracasso, who must gain the approval of his host Don Cassandro before he can marry Giacinta, Cassandro’s sister. To soften his host, Fracasso introduces him to his own sister, Rosina, the ‘pretend simpleton’ of the opera’s title, and the plot follows a series of witty twists and turns, all given ample expression in the delightful score. One of only a few recordings available, and one that has consistently drawn critical praise for the quality of its performances and interpretation, this addition to the Brilliant Classics Opera Collection will prove fascinating listening for any fans of Mozart’s mature operas, the seeds of which are evident here. Full of light, elegant arias, skilfully-crafted ensembles and amusing comic numbers, this is an opera of character and instant melodic appeal, which demonstrates the young composer’s remarkably assured understanding of how to use the orchestra to great dramatic effect.