Handel: Arias

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's previous recording of Bach cantatas generated so much enthusiasm that it's easy to forget her even stronger Handel credentials. This all-Handel disc builds on that experience, and the result is every bit as rewarding as her extraordinary Bach. She begins with Irene's five magnificent arias from Theodora, an oratorio that the mezzo-soprano has previously recorded with Nicholas McGeegan only the highlights version is currently available, and, like her Bach, this performance was born from a celebrated staged version directed by Peter Sellars. Listening to her sing, it's difficult, if not impossible, to fathom the cool reception that originally ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - EJ Johnson
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson's previous recording of Bach cantatas generated so much enthusiasm that it's easy to forget her even stronger Handel credentials. This all-Handel disc builds on that experience, and the result is every bit as rewarding as her extraordinary Bach. She begins with Irene's five magnificent arias from Theodora, an oratorio that the mezzo-soprano has previously recorded with Nicholas McGeegan only the highlights version is currently available, and, like her Bach, this performance was born from a celebrated staged version directed by Peter Sellars. Listening to her sing, it's difficult, if not impossible, to fathom the cool reception that originally greeted the oratorio in 1750. These are some of Handel's most consolingly beautiful arias, and in Lieberson's hands, they come across as at once intimate and radiantly noble. The prayerful aria "As with Rosy Steps the Morn," especially, benefits from the mezzo's rich tone and emotionally direct delivery. Similar qualities fill her performance of Handel's cantata La Lucrezia, a far earlier composition dating to the composer's Roman days. Less profound, the music captivates nonetheless with Lieberson's fervent singing. Two arias from Serse, one of Handel's most popular operas, serve to close the disc. The lively coloratura of "Se bramate d'amar," broken by lyrical adagio passages, proceeds to the tender strains of the famous "Ombra mai fù." Again, Lieberson's rapt lyricism holds one spellbound. Surely, Handel singing doesn't come much finer than this. The responsive accompaniment of Harry Bicket and London's Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is captured well in the hybrid SACD, and the booklet provides full documentation and an informative historical note by Richard Wigmore.
New York Times - James R. Oestreich
[The program] is full of golden moments. The glorious aria "Ombra mai fù," one of two from the opera "Serse," may itself be worth the price of the disc.... Recommendations don't come much more enthusiastic than this.
Gramophone - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood
Here is a uniquely rapt insight into Theodora's profound and universally relevant themes, most notably those of humility and sacrifice; more so, indeed, any current reading.... Another vocal triumph for the mezzo.
Time Out New York - David Shengold
Hunt Lieberson brings a depth of experience to her performance [of the Theodora arias].... She traverses Irene's five stately but rhythmically varied arias with deep feeling and ravishing tone.... This meticulously engineered and documented CD/SACD is a model production.
The New Yorker - Russell Platt
Lieberson, the most emotionally resonant singer today, finds a nuanced style for each of these gems.
Classic FM Magazine - Warwick Thompson
A disc of rare beauty and magnificent power. Lieberson’s voice has never sounded fuller, richer, or more emotionally direct.
New York Observer - Charles Michener
Listen to [Lieberson] singing of “Lord, to thee each night and day,” a magnificent prayer from the oratorio Theodora...and you’ll feel that mankind may be redeemable after all.

Here is a uniquely rapt insight into Theodora's profound and universally relevant themes, most notably those of humility and sacrifice; more so, indeed, any current reading.... Another vocal triumph for the mezzo.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/10/2004
  • Label: Avie
  • UPC: 822252003024
  • Catalog Number: 30
  • Sales rank: 66,407

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Recit. Ah! Whither Should We Fly - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (0:49)
  2. 2 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Aria. As with rosy steps the morn - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (8:19)
  3. 3 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Recit. O bright example of all goodness! - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (0:31)
  4. 4 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Aria. Bane of virtue, nurse of passions - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (6:15)
  5. 5 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Recit. The clouds begin to veil the hemisphere - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (0:48)
  6. 6 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Aria. Defend her Heav'n! - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (5:42)
  7. 7 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Aria. Lord, to Thee each night and day - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (6:09)
  8. 8 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Recit. She's gone, disdaining liberty and life - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (0:49)
  9. 9 Theodora, oratorio, HWV 68: Aria. New scenes of joy - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (5:41)
  10. 10–17 La Lucrezia (O Numi Eterni), cantata for soprano & continuo, HWV 145 - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (21:03)
  11. 11 Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Aria. Se bramate d'amar, chi vi sdegna - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (6:41)
  12. 12 Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Recit. Frondi tenere e belle - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (0:45)
  13. 13 Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Aria. Ombra mai fù - Harry Bicket & George Frideric Handel (3:18)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Primary Artist
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