Mozart - The Weber Sisters | Erato 2564601625

Mozart - The Weber Sisters


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Label: Erato

Cat No: 2564601625

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 6th November 2015



Once again, Sabine Devieilhe is telling a love story in music – this time with the help of Mozart. The scintillating French soprano’s debut album on Erato, 'Le grand théâtre de l’amour', created a fictional narrative with music by Rameau. By contrast, 'Mozart - The Weber Sisters' is rooted in Mozart’s life story and includes music inspired by Aloysia, Konstanze and Josepha Weber, three soprano sisters whom Mozart first met in the German city of Mannheim in 1777, when he was 21. Though he initially fell in love with Aloysia, who went on to become a celebrated diva, it was Konstanze who became his wife. She outlived him by nearly 50 years and did much to sustain and build his reputation after his death.

The programme of 'Mozart - The Weber Sisters' comprises songs, operatic and concert arias and orchestral numbers, and Sabine Devieilhe’s interpretations are typified by beauty of tone, a penetrating sense of drama and a scrupulous respect for the score and the text.

Three of the highlights are: the concert aria ‘Popoli di Tessaglia’ – written for Aloysia – which rises to spectacular heights (specifically, the G two-and-a-half octaves above middle C); the sublime ‘Et incarnatus est’ from the C minor Mass – premiered in Salzburg by Konstanze, and ‘Der Hölle Rache’, written for Josepha as the second fireworks-filled aria of the Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte, a role that has brought triumphs for Sabine Devieilhe at the opera houses of Lyon and Paris.

Her colleagues on this album are the ensemble Pygmalion, the keyboard player Arnaud de Pasquale and the conductor Raphaël Pichon.

Sabine Devieilhe, still in her twenties, has been described as a singer “whose upper register, like her virtuosity, appears limitless, while her verbal sense and dramatic engagement are breathtaking”. In France, she has twice been recognised in the prestigious Victoires de la Musique Classique awards, in 2013 and 2015, and 'Le grand théâtre de l’amour' – praised by Opera magazine as “a wonderfully vivid display of first-class Rameau interpretation” – was shortlisted for a Gramophone Award in 2014.

On the opera stage, her other roles have included Serpetta in Mozart’s 'La finta giardiniera', Euridice in Gluck’s 'Orfeo ed Euridice', Soeur Constance in Poulenc’s 'Dialogues des Carmélites', the Princess, Fire and Nightingale in Ravel’s 'L'enfant et les sortilèges', and the title role in Delibes’ 'Lakmé', which she has performed in Montpellier and at the Opéra Comique in Paris, prompting Le Figaro to write: “Her name will immediately go down in history. It is hard to know what to admire most: her technical facility, her vocal agility or her magnetic presence. Of course, it is the combination of all those elements that makes such an impact. Her virtuosity is never an end in itself … her voice is homogenous – devoid of any touch of acid – her vocal line is always musical, and she brings an acute sensitivity to her portrayal.”


Launched by a fizzing account of the overture to the Paris ballet Les petits riens, the programme centres around three magnificent showpiece arias for Aloysia, famed both for her expressive cantabile and her coloratura prowess. Among her specialities were sustained pianissimo high notes; and I can’t imagine they were more delicately floated than they are by Sabine Devieilhe, a lyric coloratura who combines a pure, sweet timbre and dazzling virtuosity. ...  in the spectacular ‘Popoli di Tessaglia’ she catches each fluctuation of Alceste’s grief and protest in the opening recitative, then flies off into the stratosphere (up to top G, capping even the Queen of the Night’s F) without shrillness or strain.  Richard Wigmore
Gramophone November 2015
Gramophone Editor's Choice Gramophone Award Winner

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