When I first started this move to tenor, Jackson would anger me when he told me to work on "Dies bildnis ist bezaubernd schon" or "Dalla sua pace." I mean, "pitch a fit" mad. I hated the thought of being stuck or designated as a "Mozart" tenor. Now that I have grown up, my opinion has changed.
Anyone who can't sing Mozart, should hang it up. Honestly. If you can sing Mozart, you can sing ANYTHING. Honestly, where can you find a composer who so perfectly gets the voice? Oh yeah, Rossini. He really knew the voice. So did Verdi and Puccini. Verdi just demanded more declamation and power. More color.
But Mozart is like no other composer I know. Misunderstood, and a real technician. His music brings the voice into focus better than any others. It is like a balm for the voice. Technically, it teaches one how to handle singing in passaggio's better than any other composer, as well as teaches one how to save and to sing musically.
Misunderstood: Like Rossini people today honestly have no idea just what Mozart called for with his tenors. Tamino is not leggiero. The growth this young man undergoes deserves better than a leggiero. He needs a much more heroic sound.
The same with Ottavio. Too often we get to hear these necktie, baby faced tenors who turn him into a real wuss. And the man is stronger than that. He is incredibly conflicted, not knowing just whom to believe.
The best Ottavio I have heard is Thorsten Kerl. He is a German Heldentenor, and his voice just glides through Mozart. Jon Vickers was a master at Handel.
Honestly, if you have a big voice, especially as a male, and can't sing Mozart, you need to hand in your credentials as a singer. You won't really last long...