Juan Diego Flórez – if ever there was a tenor who does exactly what it says on the tin it’s him. The Peruvian tenor is one of the most reliable voices in the business, knocking out bel canto hit after hit night after night all over the world. But Mozart is a comparatively new challenge, and not necessarily one that plays to his strengths. While there’s nothing wrong with his Il mio tesoro or Un aura amorosa, which are models of legato control and well-paced emotional release, there’s also far more self-confidence and swagger than either Don Ottavio or Ferrando has any claim to – a musical certainty that robs us of that delicacy and sweetness.
The same heroic assurance and buzzing, almost pitted vibration at the top of the voice also struggles to find its fit in Tamino’s Dies Bildnis ist bezaubernd schön, but makes the prospect of Mozart’s more mature stage roles both appealing and very exciting.
His Emperor Titus (heard in Del piú sublime soglio and his great conflict aria Se all’impero, amici Dei) offers a tantalising mix of ardent youth and authority – a ruler whose clemency could never be taken for weakness, while disc opener Fuor del mar is a storming affair – an Idomeneo capable of wrestling any sea-monster into submission.
Riccardo Minasi conducts the orchestra La Scintilla with all his usual vibrancy and attention to detail – the woodwind solos throughout are dramatic miniatures in their own right, rich in colour and character.