Yannick Nézet-Séguin records Le nozze di Figaro
As we eagerly await our copies of his Die Entführung aus dem Serail (due out next Friday), we hear that Yannick Nézet-Séguin is off to Baden-Baden next week to record the next instalment of his Mozart opera series on Deutsche Grammophon.
I hugely enjoyed both the Così fan tutte and Don Giovanni (you can read my thoughts on the latter here if you're so minded!), but the prospect of this particular cast is especially mouthwatering: Christiane Karg (whose elegant but electrifying Scena! was one of our recent Discs of the Week) is Susanna, with the charismatic Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni as her husband-to-be. Pisaroni's currently making waves on the other side of the opera's class-divide (and the Atlantic!) as Count Almaviva for San Francisco Opera, and will be heading off to Salzburg just after the recording to repeat the role there. It's his father-in-law Thomas Hampson who'll sing the aristocratic philhanderer on the new recording, with Diana Damrau as his long-suffering wife. Another singer who's familiar with multiple roles in this work is Anne Sofie von Otter (a peerless Cherubino on James Levine's 1990 recording), who's sure to be a wonderfully imperious Marcellina; this time round, the part of the libidinous page-boy will be inherited by the lovely American mezzo Angela Brower, who was a warm and thoroughly engaging Dorabella on Nézet-Séguin's Cosi and is also involved in the current production in San Francisco. And Rolando Villazón's underused gift for comedy should pay dividends in the role of the oleaginous music-master and professional gossip Don Basilio.
Even the tiny roles are given luxury casting: Regula Mühlemann (recently a feisty back-packing Papagena on Simon Rattle's DVD of Die Zauberflote, and Switzerland's competitor in last month's Cardiff Singer of the World) is Barbarina, and the superb young Canadian baritone Philippe Sly (who'll also be hot-footing it to the sessions straight from that San Francisco production, in which he's singing the title-role) is her bibulous father Antonio.
UPDATE: 8th July. It has just been announced that Sonya Yoncheva will replace Diana Damrau as the Countess.