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Aga Mikolaj Sings Strauss & Mozart

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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1. Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), for soprano & orchestra, o.Op. 150 (TrV 296, AV 150): Frühling
2. Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), for soprano & orchestra, o.Op. 150 (TrV 296, AV 150): September
3. Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), for soprano & orchestra, o.Op. 150 (TrV 296, AV 150): Beim Schlafengehen
4. Vier letzte Lieder (Four Last Songs), for soprano & orchestra, o.Op. 150 (TrV 296, AV 150): Im Abendrot
5. Ariadne auf Naxos, opera, Op. 60-I (TrV 228) (original version): Es gibt ein Reich
6. Capriccio, opera, Op. 85 (TrV 279): Schlussszene der Gräfin (Final Scene)
7. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: Cavatina
8. Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro), opera, K. 492: E Susanna non vien!
9. Don Giovanni, opera, K. 527: In quali eccessi
10. Così fan tutte, opera, K. 588: Come scoglio

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: CPO
  • ASIN: B004IXP5PA
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #477,670 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By drdanfee VINE VOICE on November 18, 2012
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Two reviewers have already recommended this release, and as well as joining them, I feel compelled to be a bit nutso about this Polish soprano who has coached with none other than the legendary soprano, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf. The disc has high aspirations, as the Richard Strauss Four Last Songs are the first four tracks. Then we go on to an Ariadne aria, Es gibt ein Reich. A Capriccio scena, the Countess' Closing Scene. Whew, what more could one wish?

So we go on to the truly sublime Mozart, with two arias from Le Nozze di Figaro, and two from Don Giovanni.

I am a real nut about the Four Last Songs. To me Strauss was writing angelic music that has hardly been surpassed, before or since. I imagine myself walking into the sunset with my imaginary beloved as I die, floating slightly off the earth in those aching, lifting lines. I'm still learning to like the Ariadne and Capriccio arias, but surely Mikolaj is among the best sopranos who have bothered to assay these roles on recording.

Among singers now on stage before us, Mikolaj is surely the real Strauss and Mozart deal. Her voice is pure spun precious gleaming metal. My ears say, Platinum. She is touched with sensual weight more than her legendary coach, and thanks to her innate musicality as well as her Schwarzkopf-ian mentoring, she strikes a more or less ideal balance between the musical line as it moves, breathes, and lifts ... and the words of the oh so literate texts that Richard Strauss set in the four last songs as the two intimate arias.

Of course Elizabeth Schwarzkopf committed the Strauss to disc, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Norman R Pellegrini on April 29, 2011
A disc of the "Four Last Songs" of Richard Strauss as well as an aria and a scene from "Ariadne auf Naxos" and "Capriccio" followed by four arias from the three Da Ponte Operas of W.A. Mozart would create interest anytime but the music on this disc is performed at the highest level and, truly, in the grand manner.
The ravishingly beautiful soprano voice of Aga Mikolaj is always put to the service of these exalted scores.
She has complete mastery of her upper register coupled with a real piano (Kopfton). The "Four Last Songs" are shaped with the mastery of Maestro Karl Sollak and the adept playing of the Radio Orchestra Cologne.
The shaping of every line is just beautiful conducted by Maestro Sollak.
He shapes each phrase with such artistry that thee result sounds inevitable and score markings are respected and given just measure.
For example: the solo violin lines in "Beim Schlafengehen" have an other-worldy arch to their execution which is not frequently achieved.
The horns not only play in tune but with a round singing tone. Mdme. Mikolaj brings a mixture of womanliness and celestial majesty to the magical lines of "Es gibt ein Reich".
The final scene of "Capriccio" comes to life, as earlier selections, by the inspired vocalism of Mikolaj and Maestro Sollak with his responsive orchestra.
In the Mozart Arias, Ms. Mikolaj brings her considerable considerable experience in the Opera House to bear as she delineates each of Da Ponte's heroines with beautiful vocalism and great insights.
Her authority in these recitatives is without flaw and her coloratura in Fiodiligi's Allegro section "Cosi Fan Tutte" is brilliantly executed, including the often smudged triplet-figures.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 25, 2012
It should not be surprising that a soprano who studied with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf would have immersed herself in the same roles and holding much the same musical standards as the tutor. For some reason the majesty of the glorious voice and musicianship of Aga Mikolaj is not as well known in this country as she is abroad. But at the moment she is singing Donna Elvira in the Los Angeles Philharmonic's production of DON GIOVANNI (a revelation of a production) and she suddenly becomes the talk of the West Coast. Not only is she a statuesque beauty and a fine actress, but she also has a voice of pure silver.

In this CD she focuses on Richard Strauss and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and she serves them both splendidly. Her delivery of the Four Last Songs of Strauss are as fine as any on record - and that, yes, is saying a lot, given the number of gleaming recordings by other sopranos. The young Polish soprano sails the Straussian lines with complete ease, particularly in the achingly beautiful 'Beim Schlafengehen' and the timeless serenity of 'Im Abendrot'. Her communication of the poetry is masterful and her voice is seamless, without breath break. She carries these same virtues in her arias - `Es Gibt ein Reich' from Ariadne auf Naxos and the Final Scene for Capriccio. She is a true Straussian soprano.

Having witnessed her performance of Donna Elvira here the Mozart arias come as no surprise. She has such fine sense of phrasing, ascending the line and blossoming on the top notes in a way that makes one believe she could sing all night. So here on this recording she gifts us with `In quali eccessi' and 'Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata' from that opera as well as `E Susanna von vien!
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