Mozart: Idomeneo - Lewis, Pavarotti, Tarres, Janowitz; Pritchard. Glyndebourne, 1964

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For whatever reason, when rare Mozart operas were revived back in the 50s and 60s roles traditionally sung by mezzos were often given to tenors.  Perhaps this is due to the public's uncomfortably with skewing the lines of gender.  Although I can't account for the motives the outcome can be very interesting.  In this performance of Idomeneo the part of Idamante is assumed by a very young Luciano Pavarotti.  Hearing him in this role, one regrets that he did not explore more Mozart during his career.  Not only is his voice perfect for the high-lying tessitura as well as the florid passages, but he also seems to have an innate feel for Mozartian style.  Certainly having a tenor sing this part one looses a sense of the innocence of the character but that is made up for with a masculine sensuality especially in the duet with Ilia.  And what an Ilia in the form of Gundula Janowitz!  Here at the beginning of her career her voice is extremely pure and has a wonderful bloom.  Idomeneo is sung by the great English tenor Richard Lewis.  His voice is ideal in this role as it is both burnished and refined.  He delivers a wonderful "Fuor del mare."  Enriqueta Tarres is the weak link in this otherwise wonderful performance and struggles to hold it together during "D'Oreste d'Ajace."  The sound is fair.

OD 10371-3

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