Erwin Schrott

Erwin Schrott

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Uruguayan bass-baritone Erwin Schrott has made a name for himself as a commanding and charismatic stage presence since the turn of the century, but this 2008 solo album represents his debut behind the microphone. (He's represented on disc by recordings of several live performances and is featured in an Opus Arte DVD in the title role in Le nozze di Figaro.) In this recital he sticks for the most part to core repertoire, but he does include arias from Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust, Verdi's Les Vêpres siciliennes, and Meyerbeer's Robert le Diable. He's not entirely consistent in his performances. The recital opens with Leporello's Catalogue Aria, which he has often sung on-stage, although he has since moved on to Don Giovanni and made it something of a signature role. He sounds a little vocally underpowered in the opening of the aria and is disastrously out of tune on a sustained note, but by the time he gets to "Nella biona," he seems fully in character and in full voice. The problem of intonation is recurring; although it is not as noticeable as in the first aria, there's the sense that razor-sharp tuning sometimes eludes him. He's hugely impressive in the Verdi; although he's made a name for himself primarily in Mozart roles, he sounds like a true Verdian. "Elle ne m'aime pas!" from Don Carlos is especially effective. He brings real emotional depth to the King's despair, and his voice has tremendous strength and resonance. In the other Mozart arias, as Don Giovanni and Figaro, he's completely persuasive, with the fire and vocal agility for which his live performances are renowned. Riccardo Frizza leads Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana in supportive accompaniment. Decca's sound is mostly good, but occasionally there's too much resonance around the voice, creating a cavernous effect.

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