Handel: Arias from Orlando, Agrippina, Siroe, Serse, Alcina & Tamerlano; Cantatas: Dalla guerra amoroso; Apollo e dafne

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COMPOSERS: Handel
LABELS: NAIVE
WORKS: Arias from Orlando, Agrippina, Siroe, Serse, Alcina & Tamerlano; Cantatas: Dalla guerra amoroso; Apollo e dafne
PERFORMER: Lorenzo Regazzo (bass); with Gemma Bertagnolli (soprano); Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30472

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This fine recital makes a pleasing companion to Lorenzo Regazzo’s earlier disc of arias from Vivaldi’s operas (Naïve OP 30415). Both albums are effectively programmed with the vocal numbers grouped according to the operas in which they originally appeared, and interspersed with purely instrumental pieces.

Another point the two albums have in common are settings by each composer of Metastasio’s aria ‘Gelido, in ogni vena’ (I feel my blood running ice-cold in every vein). As in the earlier disc, Regazzo helpfully links his arias with related recitative, so giving the listener the opportunity to savour something of their original context.

Regazzo has a well-focused voice with a warm timbre that is at once communicative and, where required, capable of declamatory strength. Much of the music here was written for Handel’s bass, Giuseppe Maria Boschi, and many of the arias have a warrior-like character, though the aforementioned ‘Gelido, in ogni vena’ (Siroe, Act III) departs from Boschi’s ‘raging’ type-cast.

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Here, and in arias like ‘La bellezza è com’un fiore’ Regazzo demonstrates a fine lyrical technique, bringing together virtuosity and expressive subtlety in Apollo’s splendid simile aria ‘Come rosa in su la spina’ from the cantata Apollo e Dafne. Concerto Italiano under Rinaldo Alessandrini’s sympathetic direction are all that one could wish for. Nicholas Anderson