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Handel - Opera Seria / Sandrine Piau (2013)

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Handel - Opera Seria / Sandrine Piau (2013)
Classical | MP3 320kbps CBR | 1 CD | 158 MB
Label: Naive | Catalog Number: 40026 | 29th July 2013

This 2004 recording is far more than just a recital by a prima donna: it is a perfectly balanced dialogue between Piau and Rousset, both indelibly marked by their work with William Christie, the former from her discovery of early vocal music, the latter from his time as assistant leader of Les Arts Florissants before forming his own ensemble in 1991. The rapport between soprano and conductor has blossomed over time, notably through their collaboration, since 1994, on the operatic works of Handel. Their complicity reveals the deep humanity of Handel’s heroines behind the masks. Recorded in 2004 & awarded Gramophone Editor’s Choice in the UK.

Reviews: This arguably is the best Handel aria recording ever made by a soprano, and that's acknowledging the fine efforts of singers such as Emma Kirkby and Renée Fleming, whose traversals of similar territory simply pale by comparison to the scintillating, virtuoso vocalism of Sandrine Piau. Beginning with the first of these 12 more-or-less rarely performed opera arias, Piau shows the difference between mortal accomplishment and super-human dominion over Handel's magnificent creations. The runs sparkle, the leaps land with pinpoint accuracy on every note, and the phrasing is executed with fiery dynamic impact, clear enunciation, and a forward drive that pulls us dancing along to a satisfying conclusion that we can only presume the composer would have relished. If you've heard Fleming's very solid, tonally full-bodied rendition of this "Scoglio d'immota fronte" (slower than Piau by nearly a half-minute), you're certainly impressed by her command of the music and its dramatic aspects, but next to Piau, her perfectly respectable performance is earthbound, abetted by a weighty orchestral accompaniment.

For Piau, Christope Rousset's Les Talens Lyriques is a spry, nimble, and very responsive orchestra that bends and breathes and bobs and weaves according to the soloist's every expressive utterance. And it's not only the fast and flashy singing that impresses--although there's enough of that here to satisfy everyone's appreciation for "show-off" material!; Piau also manages to convince us that she's a consummate interpreter by rendering the slower, more sensuous arias with equal aplomb and well-wrought characterization. The sound is ideal--and the orchestra's playing is every bit as exciting and vibrant as Piau's singing. Lovers of Handel opera must not miss these extraordinary, "disc of the year"-quality performances. C'est magnifique!


1. Scipione, HWV 20: Scoglio d'immota fronte by George Frideric Handel
2. Orlando, HWV 31: Verdi piante, erbette liete by George Frideric Handel
3. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Che sento? oh Dio! by George Frideric Handel
4. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Se pietà di me non senti by George Frideric Handel
5. Partenope, HWV 27: L'amor ed il destin by George Frideric Handel
6. Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Ah! spietato by George Frideric Handel
7. Alessandro, HWV 21: Brilla nell' alma un non inteso ancor by George Frideric Handel
8. Rodelinda, HWV 19: Ombre, piante, urne funeste by George Frideric Handel
9. Faramondo, HWV 39: Combattuta da due venti by George Frideric Handel
10. Tamerlano, HWV 18: Cor di padre, e cor d'amante by George Frideric Handel
11. Deidamia, HWV 42: M'hai resa infelice by George Frideric Handel
12. Arianna in Creta, HWV 32: Son qual stanco by George Frideric Handel

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