The young English soprano Sophie Bevan brings plenty of drama and panache – as well as a yearning tenderness – to a delightful programme of concert arias, including the three written for the Czech diva Josefa Dušek, two by Mozart and the other by a young Beethoven.
Over a generous 70 minutes Haydn is well represented by Scena di Berenice and his beautiful Petrach sonnet setting, Solo e pensoso. But it’s the four Mozart pieces and Beethoven’s Ah! Perfido, the album’s closer, which show us why Bevan won the 2010 Critics’ Circle award for Exceptional Young Talent. One of the highlights is the lovely duet with The Mozartists’ oboist Rachel Chaplin in the cavatina from Mozart’s Ah, lo previdi.
Bevan is a talent to watch. She’s perfectly suited to this material, admirably backed by the period instruments of The Mozartists. This is the first recording by the offshoot of Ian Page’s acclaimed Classical Opera, with whom Bevan has recorded whole operas as well as appearing with them regularly in concerts. The 34-year-old has also performed at Covent Garden, English and Welsh National Operas and Glyndebourne as well as in Europe. Perfido! was recorded in a church in Kilburn, London. It has a lovely acoustic with just a hint of spaciousness, captured beautifully by this prestigious label’s engineers.