Handel – Clori, Tirsi e Fileno

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Handel
LABELS: Glossa
WORKS: Clori, Tirsi e Fileno
PERFORMER: Roberta Invernizzi, Yetzabel Arias Fernández, Romina Basso; La Risonanza/Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord)
CATALOGUE NO: GCD 921525

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This disc, the group’s fifth volume of Handel cantatas, plunges us into the imaginative world with which Handel first captured international attention. Breathtaking in its sensuality and musical imagery, Clori, Tirsi e Fileno is a mini-opera that explores love in all its contradictions.

The use of dialogue – between voice and instruments, and among voices joined within movements – shows Handel’s unique genius for drawing listeners into a character’s inner state, making for a profound musical exploration of desire and fulfilment.

The performance here is one of smouldering sensuality. Bonizzoni highlights textures and tensions, two of Handel’s chief means for evoking love’s pleasure and pain.

The verve of the director’s gestures generates huge excitement, while the sharp contrast of colours between each singer’s voice – the translucence of Roberta Invernezzi, lustre of Yetzabel Fernández, and darkness of Romina Basso – enriches the tapestry of sound.

Vocalists match passion with gorgeous ornamentation, and this combination makes their Arcadian personae as fascinating as any opera character. Handel gave the instruments a dramatic weight equal to that of the singers, and the band contributes hugely to making this a benchmark disc: the interpolated silences, obbligato-voice eloquence of the continuo realisation charge each note with meaning.

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The production values of this disc are also outstanding. In short, this performance is a must-have, for Handel devotees in particular. Berta Joncus