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MOZART: “Le Nozze di Figaro.” Helen Donath, Julia Varady, Marilyn Schmiege, Alan Titus, Ferruccio Furlanetto, others; forces of Bavarian Radio, Colin Davis, conducting. BMG 60440-2-RC.

Davis conducts this matchless score with a lovely flexibility in ensembles, especially the great Act II finale, as well as with sympathetic support for the singers’ individual efforts. Donath is an enchanting Susanna and Varady an elegant, touching Countess. Titus uses his light baritone to good effect as Figaro, but Furlanetto’s burly barking is wrong for the Count. Schmiege’s Cherubino lacks charm and beauty of tone. Marcellina’s and Basilio’s arias are both restored and sung well enough by Cornelia Kallisch and Heinz Zednik. Davis carries the day.

RUSSIAN ROMANCES. Dmitri Hvorostovsky; Oleg Boshniakovich, piano; Philips 432 119-2. This disc offers the perfect matching of artist and repertory. Young Hvorostovsky uses his creamy light baritone to stunning effect in both familiar and unfamiliar songs of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff. The language is his own, of course, and he was weaned on the stylistic tradition of the hauntingly beautiful music. Hvorostovsky’s seamless legato is particularly effective in “Once Again,” “Nightingale” and “None but the Lonely Heart” by Tchaikovsky, as well as Rachmaninoff’s “Dream” and “Christ Is Risen.” Boshniakovich collaborates superbly at the piano.


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