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|Renée Fleming||Primary Artist, Soprano (Vocal)|
|Alison Bury||Violin, Leader, Soloist|
|Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment||Performing Ensemble|
|Renée Fleming||Liner Notes|
|Mark Millington||Art Direction|
|Gerald Moore||Vocal Coach|
|Andrew Cornall||Producer, Executive Producer|
|Andrew Eccles||Cover Photo|
|Ellen T. Harris||Liner Notes|
Posted October 1, 2010
This c.d. is full of sloppy singing; the runs are messy and the tempi too fast and she simply cannot negotiate the coloratura passages easily at this stage of her singing. Listen to the "De tempeste" and you will hear the orchestra leaving her behind and muddled runs on her part. When she's singing well, no one can touch her, but as of late, she has not been singing well. If you want to hear these arias sung well, listen to Arleen Auger, Sills, Sutherland, Gruberova, even Swenson (although she is a passionless singer in the baroque/bel canto rep). Fleming can sing cleanly (as she does on her Mozart recording - just listen to her "Ach! ich liebte": very clean and sparkling). This c.d. is Renee Fleming singing great arias poorly. If she were not Renee Fleming (the name) and one heard this kind of singing on a recording or in the opera house, it would simply not be acceptable.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
This recording is an absolute stunner from premiere soprano Renée Fleming. Once again proving her vocal versatility, she tackles a selection of Handel's arias, both familiar and relatively unknown. Her taste, as it turns out, is unerring. Amazingly, her foray into the Baroque world is quite recent with her first and only professional exposure to Handel in the 1999 Paris Opera and Lyric Chicago productions of his "Alcina", but you certainly can't tell from the passionate, character-driven singing she exhibits here. As usual, her voice is full and rounded with a legato that is thrilling. The program is a nearly perfect showcase for her immense talent underlined by her amazing coloratura, easily one of the best today. Fleming opens sonorously with two arias from "Semele", "Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?" and "Endless pleasure", equally beautiful as she begs the god Jupiter for immortality in the title role. In immediate contrast, Fleming shows her intense dramatic flair with "Scoglio d'immota fronte" from "Scipione" playing the fiery Spanish princess Berenice. In a gender reversal, she takes on the castrati role of "Serse" with the classic "Ombra mai fù", where she believably and touchingly deepens her voice to fit the male character. Although I prefer countertenor David Daniels' more animated version for sheer virtuosity, Fleming acquits herself well. Back on firmer ground, she credibly handles the two primary female roles in "Rinaldo": the hero's unsullied love, Almirena and the temptress, Armida. Her versatility is on full display in her two arias from this opera. Her plaintive "Lascia ch'io pianga" is quite comparable to Cecilia Bartoli's definitive version in romanticism and technique, and she burns in an extended dramatic fire on Armida's lament, "Dunque, I lacci s'un volto...Ah! crudel". Fleming's famous trilling is most impressive on her aria from "Rodelinda", "Ritorna, oh caro e dolce mio tesoro", which provides a sneak preview of her upcoming performance in a new production at the Metropolitan Opera. She closes with an unknown gem from "Alexander Balus", the yearning "Calm thou my soul...Convey me to some peaceful shore", where as Cleopatra, she turns to the goddess Isis after her father and lover are killed. Baroque music veteran Harry Bicket directs the wonderful Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with a sure hand. Fleming says it best in her liner notes: "Singing Handel is balm for the voice yet it expresses every possible nuance of the human condition." With this disc, she proves her point in spades. This has to be one of the year's best classical vocal recordings.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 1, 2010
Renee Fleming's latest effort is a must for those who appreciate the rich quality and musicality of her singing. Ms Fleming's gorgeous spinning of the long vocal lines are wondrous to behold. Her intelligent interpretations of the Handel arias are totally appropriate. She shows such an astounding vocal felxibility that even the most avid Baroque afficionado would find little to quibble about.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 7, 2008
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