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Alla Breve

July 16, 1989|ALLAN ULRICH

MOZART: ARIAS. Rockwell Blake, tenor; London Symphony, conducted by Nicholas McGegan. Arabesque Z6598 (compact disc). While American tenor Blake is capable of negotiating Mozart at his most florid and of adding apt embellishments, the notion of style that prevails here is divorced from any kind of sensuous beauty. Only at a modest dynamic level (the arias from "Don Giovanni" and "Cosi") does Blake find anything appealing in the musical. Otherwise, the recital, which is at its best in two excerpts from the early "Mitridate, Re di Ponto," consists of a series of fearless lunges for high-lying passages. Temporarily deserting the period-instrument world, McGegan conducts at a brisk clip, a judicious approach under the circumstances.

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