music concerts by Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra.
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Seen & Heard
Editor in Chief
Frideric HANDEL (1685 – 1759)
Sento Brillar - Arias
Dove Sei, dolce mia vita (Ottone) (1723/33) [5.34]
Un disprezzato affetto (Ottone) (1723/33) [5.15]
Oh patria! Oh cittadini (Arianna in Creta) (1734) [1.54]
Sol ristoro di mortali (Arianna in Creta) (1734) [2.27]
Bella sorge la speranza (Arianna in Creta) (1734) [5.25]
Sento brillar nel sen (Il Pastor Fido) (1712/1734) [5.46]
Caro amore, sol per momenti (Il Pastor Fideo) (1712/1734)
Overture (Ariodante) (1735) [5.06]
Oh felice mio core (Ariodante) (1735) [0.12]
Con l'ali di costanza (Ariodante) (1735) [6.28]
E vivo ancora? (Ariodante) (1735) [0.19]
Scherza infida (Ariodante) (1735) [8.50]
Numi! Lasciarmi vivere (Ariodante) (1735) [1.57]
Mi lusinga il dolce affetto (Alcina) (1735) [6.44]
Verdi prati, selve amene (Alcina) (1735) [3.49]
Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
rec. Autitorium Haydn, Bolzano, Italy, 24-27 March 2008
88697 318712 [64.12]
1733 the Opera of the Nobility was set up in London in
opposition to Handel's own opera company. Handel lost all
of his star singers except for the soprano Anna Strada
del Po - she was rewarded with two of Handel's finest roles,
Alcina and Ginevra (Ariodante)). Handel engaged
the castrato Carestini as leading man. He had a range of
two octaves and an ability to sing elaborate coloratura.
He only sang for Handel from 1733 to 1735 but Handel wrote
the roles of Ariodante and Ruggiero (Alcina) for
him. These are roles which exploited Carestini's virtuosity
in instrument-like vocal writing.
this new recital disc, Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina
Kasarova has assembled a group of arias either written
for, or sung by, Carestini. The result has the potential
to be a fascinating and illuminating recital, especially
as Kasarova is accompanied by Alan Curtis and his group
Il Complesso Barocco.
you enjoy this recital or not will be dependent on what
you think about Kasarova's voice. There is no doubt that
she is a talented and stylish Handelian, but this is coupled
with a rather distinctive voice. It is placed far back,
giving it a veiled, hollow sound at times. And she uses
glottal catches a lot in her passagework. There is a rich
bottom range, with a lighter top; between the two the ranges
are not evenly matched and the break is obvious. On first
listening to the disc I felt that Kasarova reminded me
of someone. On further listening I realised that it was
Clara Butt on her early recordings.
opens with a pair of arias from Ottone, in which
Carestini sang a role originally written for his predecessor
Senesino. 'Dove sei' has a nice sense of line and
is moving but in 'Un disprezzato affetto' Kasarova's
glottal attacks make the passage-work sound a little too
much like clucking.
come three items from Arianna in Creta. The role
of Teseo was the first Handel wrote specifically for Carestini.
The short accompagnato, 'Oh patria' is followed
by 'Sol ristoro' where Kasarova's sense of line
is partnered by a rich yet delicate accompaniment from
Il Complesso Barocco. Finally 'Bella sorge' is fast
and lovely … with a great deal less clucking.
followed Arianna with a revival of Il Pastor
Fido. 'Sento brillar' was added specifically
for Carestini, with some brilliant coloratura amazingly
sung by Kasarova. She follows this with 'Caro amor' an
attractive lyrical number from the original 1712 version
of the opera.
was probably the greatest role Handel wrote for Carestini.
Kasarova sings two arias from the opera 'Con l'ali di
costanza' and 'Scherza infida' along with the
two recitatives, the group prefaced by the Overture and
completed with the arioso 'Numi! Lasciarmi vivere'.
Regrettably the passagework in 'Con l'ali di costanza',
though fluent, clear and fast, resorts to Kasarova's glottal
technique. 'Scherza infida' is well done but does
not quite match some of the other versions on record.
a pair of arias from Alcina, 'Mi lusinga' and
the beautifully lyrical 'Verdi prati'
Complesso Barocco under Alan Curtis provide richly textured
accompaniments and show themselves off well in the overture
CD booklet includes an informative article and full texts
of the arias, each preceded by a summary of the work's
performance history under Handel.
is a puzzling recital. It is imaginatively programmed and
Kasarova has a strong technique. But her vocal qualities
are so distinctive that I feel I must caution you to try
the disc before buying.
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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