Chen Reiss tackles Mozart and others

Chen Reiss' debut recording for Onyx finds her choosing a programme of arias by Cimarosa, Haydn, Salieri and Mozart.

Composer: Mozart, Haydn, Cimarosa and Salieri
Repertoire: Numerous arias
Artist: Chen Reiss, L’arte del Mondo/Werner Erhardt
Rating: 3/5

Genre: Vocal

Label: Onyx4068

The Music: Late 18th-century Vienna was a hotbed of operatic creativity. This selection of soprano arias explores the relationship between four composers enjoying successful careers during that era. Time has been kinder to the reputations of Mozart and Haydn, but the little-heard music by Salieri and Cimarosa is definitely worth exploring, full of charm and classical elegance.

The Performance: Soprano Chen Reiss has an agile, bell-bright, flutey timbre that’s well suited to the soubrette and coloratura repertoire here. She’s best in the showy numbers – the glittering roulades of the Mozart concert aria ‘Ah Se In Ciel’ and Salieri’s ‘Tremo Bell’Idol Mio’ are bright and fresh. She also displays a lovely line in the short, sweet ‘Quando la Rosa’. She is less convincing in the core Mozart repertoire however – Despina’s sly, witty ‘Una Donna a Quindici Anni’ and Susanna’s sensuous ‘Deh Vieni’ need more three-dimensional characterisation.

The Verdict: This is an enjoyable disc, well performed, but ultimately Reiss requires a more distinctive, characterful approach to bring this repertoire to life, especially in the much-recorded Mozart selection.

Want More? Ariedi Bravure (Virgin,3952502). The dazzlingly talented Diana Damrau sings Mozart, Salieri and Righini, demonstrating just how it should be done.