MOZART Don Giovanni Gardiner 4458702

. . . Gardiner's recording benefits from his period performance insights, and his approach -- light on its feet, yet accentuating the tension when in demonic/dramatic mode -- summons clean, vigorous playing from the orchestra. Rodney Gilfry's aggressively virile Giovanni encompasses charm where needed, while Ildebrando D'Arcangelo's Leporello is firmly characterised and vividly sung. Luba Orgonasova is an exciting Donna Anna, complemented by Christoph Pregardien's tensile Don Ottavio. Eirian James's Zerlina and Andrea Silvestrelli's Commendatore are also assets; but it's the overall vitality that makes this version memorable.

Gardiner's set has a great deal to commend it. The recitative is sung with exemplary care over pacing so that it sounds as it should, like heightened and vivid conversation, often to electrifying effect . . . The orchestra, perfectly balanced with the singers in a very immediate acoustic, supports them, as it were "sings" with them. That contrasts with, and complements, Gardiner's expected ability to empathise with the demonic aspects of the score . . . As a whole, tempos not only seem right on their own account but also, all-importantly, carry conviction in relation to each other . . . [Rodney Gilfry is suave, appealing and delivers] in a real baritone timbre, his Giovanni is as accomplished as any on disc. Ildebrando d'Arcangelo was the discovery of these performances . . . Orgonasova once more reveals herself a paragon as regards steady tone and deft technique . . . [Margiono] consoles us with the luminous, inward quality of her voice and her reading of the role . . . for sheer theatrical élan complemented by the live recording, Gardiner is among the best, particularly given a recording that's wonderfully truthful and lifelike.

Gardiner . . . [hace] que los cantantes traten de irradiar una espontaneidad a través de la cual se exprese la belleza natural y desnuda de la música.