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Margarida Mota-Bull
MusicWeb International, October 2012

…there is much to enjoy…New Zealand’s baritone, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, is superb in the title role. The part suits his voice to perfection and his singing is flawless from beginning to end. His rather attractive, elegant stage presence also greatly enhances the character. Rhodes plays Figaro with both sensibility and humour, which lends the character a certain vulnerability, making him rather endearing. His Susanna, young Australian soprano Taryn Fiebig, is a sassy, sweet little minx—simultaneously seductive and innocent. She is in fine voice, possessing a glowing tone and an almost childish spontaneity that makes the audience warm to her right from the moment she first appears. There is a palpable chemistry between herself and Rhodes; a fact that makes their opera personae very believable…Count Almaviva is performed here by Australian baritone Peter Coleman-Wright who sings the part exceptionally well, displaying a good, solid technique and a rather rich tone. His dramatic skills are considerable and he is very expressive…Sian Pendry, plays a believable Cherubino, effectively portraying a teenager struggling with puberty. The rest of the cast give solid, convincing performances in the minor or supporting roles, especially Kanen Breen as an affected, pompous Don Basilio. Warwick Fyfe is a heart-warming Don Bartolo…and he pairs rather well with Jacqueline Dark’s touching Marcellina. I must also mention the marvellous performance of Clifford Plumpton as Antonio, the gardener, and the lovely Claire Lyon as his daughter Barbarina, who sings with a very attractive crystal clear tone.

The Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is excellent throughout. I particularly enjoyed conductor Patrick Summers’ reading of the piece. He is sympathetic with the singers, keeping the orchestra in check but still allowing a clear voice to each of the individual instruments. He respects Mozart’s delicate pace and succeeds in bringing out the drama, the wit and the emotions. The subtle contrasts of darkness and light, melancholy and tenderness, the pensive and the high-spirited are all effectively brought to life. The orchestra and chorus, along with Tahu Rhodes as Figaro are the superlative elements in this blu-ray.

The singers perform the parts effectively and there is an obvious understanding for the composer’s intentions. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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