“Quasthoff's performances are vividly imagined and splendidly sung. He characterises each role with relish… Quasthoff's top register - brighter and more tenorish than a decade ago - rings out freely in a mock-heroic number for the foppish braggart Perucchetto in La fedeltà premiata, portrayed to the life by Quasthoff. Quasthoff has done a still-neglected corner of Haydn's output proud, and the rhythmically lively Freiburg period band match him all the way in colour and gusto.”
“'These arias are glorious music that give me more pleasure each time I sing them,' enthuses Thomas Quasthoff of his Haydn anniversary recital encompassing 11 roles from nine operas.
Judging the arias by Mozartian standards (unfair, but hard to avoid when the idiom is so similar), we might feel that Haydn's response to character and dramatic situation can occasionally seem too amiably non-committal. Far more often, though, Quasthoff's encomium is well justified, whether in the sharp comic portrayals of assorted dolts, lechers and buffoons, the sepulchral solo for the Stygian ferryman Caronte (Orlando Paladino), or the graceful cantabile arias for Creonte from the London opera L'anima del filosofo. If Haydn's operas are alien territory for you, the range and inventiveness of these arias (plus one duet) may come as a surprise.
Quasthoff's performances are vividly imagined and splendidly sung. He characterises each role with relish. As ever, he savours the sound and sense of the words, greedily gobbling up his consonants in the song of the gluttonous monk Calandro (L'incontro improvviso). In serious mode, he brings a gravely eloquent legato to the numbers for Caronte and Creonte, and commands both the height and the depth for the fine, dignified arias from Armida and L'isola disabitata.
Once or twice Quasthoff's softer singing sounds unsupported, starved of natural resonance.
Nit-pickers might also point to moments where he coarsens his tone in the name of dramatic intensity. But these are minor provisos.
Quasthoff has done a still-neglected corner of Haydn's output proud, and the rhythmically lively Freiburg period band match him all the way in colour and gusto.”