Bohm’s Clemenza part two

Part two is my “reading” of this recording. The conducting is indeed praise-worthy, consistently interesting, except for the pace of recits, which is way too brisk to convey the very sticky sort of internal dramas we’re dealing with here. Needs more angst.

  • Tito: Peter Schreier 
  • Vitellia: Julia Varady
  • Sesto: Teresa Berganza
  • Annio: Martha Schmil
  • Servillia: Edith Mathis
  • Publio: Theo Adam

Conductor: Karl Bohm

Rundfunkchor Leipzig | Staatskapelle Dresden

Aside from Mathis I’m not a big fan of anyone’s voice, but Varady is definitely committed to the role. Not my kind of Vitellia, too cold, a kind of shrill shrew which to me wouldn’t be able to drive anyone mad with desire rather would make someone want to throw a shoe at her. Both she and Schreier have this Central European accent on the “e” sound that sounds funny in Italian. Schreier is also nasal and his coloratura is far from impressive. He does try to sound noble but that duck voice isn’t quite cutting it. Berganza’s Sesto is strangely subdued and uninvolved, aside from the Act I finale, where she drives home his anguish. A weak Sesto is actually undermining a strong Vitellia, by making her appear utterly unhinged, which is not the case. The way I see it, this is their show and they should both be strong and even at loggerheads in a couple of places. Mathis is lovely in her tiny role, wish she had more to do. Schmil does what she is asked to do. Publio is quite laughable, agreed, sometimes you really want him to stop the noise he’s making and let the singers sing.

Act I

Overture: brisk business

Ma che, sempre l’istesso?!&%# (the Vitellia is pissed off recit): zoom

Come ti piace imponi (the ok, Vitellia, you win duet): speedy as well, some interesting things orchestrally, ball-less Sesto (you wouldn’t believe him when he says her fury is turning him on), Varady’s Vitellia at the forefront from thence on for the rest of the show, Vitellia = bitch from hell.

Deh, se piacer mi vuoi (Vitellia’s quit yer bitching, big boy aria): good pace but not particularly stirring and sexy, plus Varady’s funny accent on the “e” sound is prominent.

Dolce amplesso (Sesto and Annio’s we’re BFFs duettino): ok job

March: swingin’

Serbate dei custodi (the Tito is magnificent chorus): brisk, no complaints

Del piu sublime soglio (what Tito thinks is his first good deed of the day): nothing to write home about

Ah, perdona (Annio and Servillia’s I love you/i love you more but we’re law abiding citizens duet): Mathis’ Servillia lovely, Schmil not my kind of mezzo (matronly sound)

Ah, se fosse (Tito’s blimey, girl’s got chutzpah aria): Schreier a bit funny, odd accent on impero, nice orchestral ending

pre-Parto recit (Vitellia’s most manipulative scene, aka you’re a pathetic moron/do you really want me?): Varady’s (Bohm’s?) Vitellia too quick for drama, Berganza’s Sesto too naive

Parto (ok, ok, I’ll do it if I can still tap that arse): not getting too much from this Sesto, cadenza = missed opportunity

Vengo, aspettate, Sesto (the oh, shit! trio): good job Varady, the other 2 = nonexistent, interesting orchestral closing

Ma, che smamie (the I’s in deep shit Act I finale): Berganza’s Sesto just woke up, good job, very coherent segment from all (good job Bohm), poor Publio

Act II

the Sesto/Annio recit: no drama Sesto, energetic Annio

Torna di Tito a lato (it’s not too late to make ammends, brov): Schmil’s Annio’s singing with a potato in his mouth

Se al volto (the you’ll miss me when I’m gone, crudele trio): ok

Ah, grazie si rendano (Tito and adoring chorus): nice job the orchestra, Schreier nasal as usual

Tardi s’avvede (Publio’s Tito’s too nice for his own good arietta): LOL-worthy trills but he made it through somehow; it’s funny that he’s even wobbly in recits, the poor git.

Tu fosti tradito (Annio’s plea it’s true, boss): ok

Quello di Tito e il volto (the Tito looks scary and Sesto looks like shit trio): interesting

Deh, per questo instante solo (Sesto’s I deserve to die moment): not enough drama

Se all’impero (Tito’s big moment of magnanimity): again funny accent on “e” on impero/severo, the amusing bahahahaha trill works for him, nasal

S’altro che lagrime (Servillia’s second ballsy moment, now confronting Vitelliazilla – do something, biatch): good job Mathis again, my favourite voice of the batch

Ecco il punto (Vitellia’s I’m screwed and it’s actually my fault recit): not bad

Non piu di fiori (end of the line): Varady’s voice is a bit thin, again with the “e” sound, coped ok with the low G

Act II finale: very Baroque, not overly dramatic, rather breezy

…for all the times I just jotted interesting the question is interesting how? – that’s for another entry.

Briefly put: lovely recording but vocally I’ve heard way more riveting renditions.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on November 19, 2013, in 1001 musings on la clemenza di tito, mozart and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Thank you for the Bohm review- I am new to Tito but am enthralled by the sounds I hear. I don’t so much follow the story as just allow myself to soak in the sounds… That is how I fell in love with Cosi at first…

    I ordered the Bohm version and look forward to hearing how he handles the tempos. I have a few others including Davis and Gardiner but am curious if Bohm hits the mark…

    I appreciate your devotion to K.621…it is truly sublime music.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cheers, Jon 🙂 there are a few good old and new recordings of Tito. If you rather enjoy the older ones make sure to try the Kertesz one from 1967 and also the Keilberth from 1955.


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