Le Cercle de l’Harmonie/Rhorer
This production of Mozart’s dubiously orientalist Singspiel (part song, part speech, generally comic, racial politics firmly of its time) was created for the 2015 Aix-en-Provence festival then recorded at a concert in Paris a few months later. It’s definitely a live performance – the audience makes its enthusiasm felt and the sound isn’t entirely polished, which I quite like. The cast is pretty appealing (David Portillo as Pedrillo, Norman Reinhardt as Belmonte, Rachele Gilmore as Blonde, Jane Archibald as a radiant Konstanze) and attacks ensembles with vigour and arias with the kind of breezy elegance that makes easy work of fiendish stuff. But with two other major versions of Entführung out last year from René Jacobs and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, what the young conductor Jérémie Rhorer really offers is a whole lot of orchestral charisma: an overture full of bounce and clatter, pacey tempos that fizz but also breathe, textures that are bright and fibrous, a delivery that is happily slapdash without getting messy.