Notes & Reviews:
In this complete recording of Ariodante, Alan Curtis, a supreme Handelian conductor and scholar, joins forces with glorious mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato, who, with her Virgin Classics album of Handel arias, 'Furore', "scored a triumph ... which not only shows her phenomenal technical talent, but verily crackles with dramatic fire" (BBC).
In Ariodante, DiDonato takes the title role of a young prince - remaining in male mode throughout after her recent gender-swapping antics on the operatic recital CD 'Diva, Divo', The role was written for the star castrato Carestini and includes two contrasting showpieces - 'Dopo notte' and 'Scherza, infida' - both among the most famous of all Handel's opera arias.
When DiDonato sang Ariodante in Geneva in 2007, the Financial Times wrote: "How confidently she brings off trouser roles and what spinetingling effect she puts into a bravura piece such as 'Dopo notte'", while the Neue Zürcher Zeitung felt that: "her bright, homogeneous mezzo soprano is wonderfully suited to the passionate lover who, just before his wedding, believes he has been deceived by his betrothed." The supposedly unfaithful Princess Ginevra is sung here by the sensuous-toned Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin, praised in Handel by Opera News for her "tonal substance, even at pianissimo," and her "real bel canto technique, all in one voice from top to bottom; the whole aria is carefully shaped without breaking the Baroque boundaries". Joining DiDonato and Gauvin in the cast are another fine Canadian singer, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, the charming Spanish soprano Sabina Puertolas and the elegant Finnish tenor Topi Lehtipuu.
"Tempos are wonderfully fresh and vigorous, the phrasing crisp without being clipped...But the singing is the glory of the set: Joyce DiDonato confirms her reputation as the finest Handelian mezzo-soprano of the day...she is so clean of tone, so true of pitch and engaged by the drama that it is impossible to carp. Marie-Nicole Lemieux is thrillingly incisive as the dashingly villainous Polinesso." -The Daily Telegraph
"[DiDonato] matches thrilling technical despatch to personable characterisation...She is surrounded by a cast of equally accomplished Handelians...But the key lies in the inspiring musical direction of Curtis...From Il Complesso Barocco, his hand-picked band, he draws playing of infinite flexibility and unforced style." -The Financial TimesNotes & Reviews:
Recording information: Villa San Ferma, Lonigo, Italy (01/03/2010-01/11/2010).
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Works DetailsHandel, George Frideric : Ariodante
- Conductor: Alan Curtis
- Ensemble: Il Complesso Barocco
- Notes: Villa San Ferma, Lonigo, Italy (01/03/2010-01/11/2010)
- Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1734