Handel: Arias from Scipione, Orlando, Giulio Cesare, Partenope, Amadigi, Alessandro, Rodelinda, Faramondo, Tamerlano, Deidamia,

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Handel
LABELS: NAIVE
ALBUM TITLE: Opera seria
WORKS: Arias from Scipione, Orlando, Giulio Cesare, Partenope, Amadigi, Alessandro, Rodelinda, Faramondo, Tamerlano, Deidamia,
PERFORMER: andrine Piau (soprano); Les Talens Lyriques/Christophe Rousset
CATALOGUE NO: E 8894
Wide-ranging early-music specialist Sandrine Piau sings 11 arias from Handel’s operas here, all but one of them originally composed for leading female sopranos of the day (one was written for a castrato). She demonstrates considerable technical facility, with even a touch of brilliance in the faster examples (Scipione, Alessandro), rushing up and down the scale like nobody’s business. She has a neat little trill, good musicianship and can be expressive. There are many delightfully articulated passages. The demerits are that the tone is small and doesn’t really expand in the bigger phrases (Rodelinda). It’s also of limited colour, with the result that all her heroines sound pretty similar, whatever situation they’re in, and she indulges in quite a lot of mannered white tone (Deidamia), which damages the legato and therefore Handel’s shapely line. Occasionally her pitching suffers when she puts too much pressure on the voice (Faramondo). Christophe Rousset and his finely textured period band provide adept accompaniments throughout, though he too is apt to underplay the natural contours of Handel’s phrases (Giulio Cesare), which don’t seize the listener’s attention as they should. George Hall

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