HANDEL (1685–1759) Da tempeste (Giulio Cesare) (1724) [5.57] V’adoro, pupille (Giulio Cesare) (1724) [7.18] Lascia ch’io pianga (Rinaldo) (1711) [4.05] Tra le fiamme, Cantata HWV 170 (1707/8) [16.23] Che sento? Oh Dio! (Giulio Cesare) (1724) [9.51] No se emendara jamas Cantata HWV 140 (1707) [5.03] Torna mi a vagheggiar (Alcina) (1735) [4.21] Si, son quella (Alcina) (1735) [4.22] Mi restano le lagrime (Alcina) (1735) [6.24]
Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempe
rec. 11-16 April 1999, Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris NAÏVE E8914 [63.47]
Bayo’s 2000 recital of Handel arias and cantatas has now
been re-issued as part of Naïve Baroque Voices. Bayo
sings a selection of arias from Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo and Alcina along
with the Italian cantata Tra le fiamme and the Spanish
language cantata No se emendara jamas.
is accompanied by Skip Sempe and his Capriccio Stravagante,
which guarantees lively and interesting accompaniment; though
the size of the group is perhaps a little small for some
of the operatic arias.
singer has a rich, vivid voice and sings with liveliness,
vivacity and accuracy; in many ways her singing on this disc
is ideal. She comes over as a singer of great character who
can bring drama through a fine musical performance.
In Cleopatra’s Da Tempeste,
from Act 3 of Giulio Cesare, her performance is fast,
crisp and very up front, her runs are fabulously clean and
articulated. She gives the performance far more ‘welly’ than
a singer like Valerie Masterson; her Cleopatra is obviously
a creature to be reckoned with. That this can turn into a
bit of a weakness is indicated by the second aria, Cleopatra’s V’adoro
pupille from Act 2. Here Cleopatra is supposed to be
seducing Cesar. Bayo’s singing is beautifully done but, for
me, lacks the element of seduction; I have heard other singers
bring a far greater element of soft allure to this aria.
For all its musicality this performance lacks the necessary
erotic element, though partial compensation is given by the
lovely rich accompaniment.
ch’io pianga from Rinaldo is profoundly moving
and Bayo sings the aria with a fabulous sense of line.
This is followed by the popular Italian cantata, Tra
le fiamme. There are many versions of this on disc,
but I have no complaints from this bright, lively and vivid
account; in fact it is almost ideal.
pieta, from Act 2 of Giulio Cesare is prefaced
by its recitative which proves to be a strong decision.
The singer’s approach to the recitative is beautifully
characterised and full of drama; on this showing I wished
that more recitative could have been included in the disc.
The aria itself is presented with a lovely, very focused
sound and bright, forward tone, with a few quieter moments.
Her way with the aria is convincing and beautiful, but
is rather more up-front than some accounts that I have
Spanish cantata No se emendara jamas is something
of a Handel rarity, but the chamber cantatas from his time
in Italy do reflect something of the polyglot nature of the
salons of the Italian counts and cardinals who were the young
Handel’s patrons. That the piece was deliberately Spanish
in style is indicated by the delicate guitar accompaniment.
Bayo and Capriccio Stravagante play this as real chamber
music, which of course it is.
CD booklet repeats the story about the cantata being a result
of romance between Handel and a Spanish lady, but this is
not born out by the facts. The cantata was written in Rome
in 1707 and was probably written for Count Ruspoli, Handel’s
a vagheggiar from Act 1 of Alcina is both brilliant
and uplifting. Bayo follows this with 2 of Alcina’s arias
from the same opera. These are beautifully done, but I
get the sneaking suspicion that she is temperamentally
more inclined towards the bad girls of Handelian opera
all these items, the singer is beautifully accompanied by
the crisp, up-front playing of Skip Sempe and Capriccio Stravagante.
It is a shame the space could not have been made for the
group to play an item on their own.
is a lovely recital and displays Bayo’s talents in this tricky
repertoire. Her vocalisation in the Italian opera arias is
nearly ideal, though temperamentally I think she might have
been better off if rather more badly behaved sorceresses
had been included on the disc.
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