By Harriet Cunningham
SMH | Monday, Nov 01 2010
MARKUS BRUTSCHER is one of the finest Mozart tenors I have heard. His voice is rich with character, yet controlled enough
to sustain a limpid love song or negotiate the bravado flourishes of a call to battle.
Brutscher was the centrepiece of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s final subscription concert for the year,Mozart, Love & Paris. He performed five arias, interspersed with orchestral interludes. Se all’impero from La Clemenza di Tito made for an arresting start, but it was Il mio tesoro from Don Giovanni that made me sit up.
Don Ottavio often comes across as an ineffectual contrast to the testosterone-fuelled Don Giovanni. Brutscher, however, managed to inject such heart-stopping tenderness into the first two bars that this often maligned aria was transformed instantly one of the world’s great love songs. Belmonte’s aria, Wenn der Freude Thranen fliessen from Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, was a more demonstrative declaration of love, but no less finely crafted.
Joseph Schuster was a contemporary of Mozart. While his opera, Demofoonte, is no chart-topper, the aria O piu tremar proved to be an ideal showcase for Brutscher’s vocal agility, demonstrating heroic baroque flamboyance in a classical setting.
Meanwhile, a singspiel aria from Zaide demanded a compelling stage presence and wide range.
Brutscher has both, although the lower end of his register is less consistent than the rock-solid brilliance of the upper register.
The Australian Brandenburg Ensemble punctuated these arias with a thoughtful selection of overtures, divertimenti and symphonies.
In the overture to La Clemenza di Tito the large band took a while to come into focus, achieving perfect ensemble only at the recapitulation. In Symphony No. 31, Paris, it was again the final movement that worked best. A smaller, tighter ensemble played a divertimento, K138, with obvious exuberance.
For his encore Brutscher chose an aria from The Magic Flute.
The despicable Monostatos never sounded so persuasive, so appealing as here, voiced by the charming Mr Brutscher.