[Marlene or Cherubino? Both! – Anna Bonitatibus singing “Voi che sapete” at “Juan Diego Flórez and friends”, singing for Sinfonía por el Perú. Vienna/Staatsoper 2015. PS. Hello, smitten flutist in the back right corner. I hear you!]
I didn’t know I needed this version of “Voi che sapete” until I heard it, and now I don’t know how I got by without it until now. Yes, there is some end-of-line vibrato that I find unnecessary with Bonitatibus at times, but her take is fresh and concentrated and filigree – mark the sculpted detail and warmth and musicianship and the perfect little rubati and darn it, Italians do it best after all.
Also, you will never hear me complaining about a mezzo donning a tuxedo and a bowtie to sing trouser role pieces in concert. Also, in white. That’s not “I dusted off the back pantsuit I need for Lenten season anyway”, that’s a bold style choice you can pretty much only rock in trouser role galas, in Cabaret, or at a lesbian 1920s party with a séance to summon Mercedes de Acosta or Tallulah Bankhead (or both).
The full concert (Bonitatibus is up early on) is still up for free streaming on demand at ArteLiveWeb, now ArteConcert. Not ever number is a hit (regardless of the popularity of the piece and/or singer in question), but it’s got the “singers unpacking personal favorites” vibe without being smarmy. It’s charming, and it’s for a good cause. And, see above, it has Bonitatibus in a tux and bowtie.