Handel

Handel

4.2 4
by Renée Fleming
     
 
Renée Fleming is no newcomer to Handel, having starred in an acclaimed recording of Alcina, but it's still a treat to hear her creamy soprano lavished on a program of the composer's exquisite, tuneful arias. Those who swear by the pure, almost ascetic approach taken by Baroque specialists may be shocked by the richness of

Overview

Renée Fleming is no newcomer to Handel, having starred in an acclaimed recording of Alcina, but it's still a treat to hear her creamy soprano lavished on a program of the composer's exquisite, tuneful arias. Those who swear by the pure, almost ascetic approach taken by Baroque specialists may be shocked by the richness of Fleming's voice. But Fleming doesn't sing this music the same way she sings Verdi or Massenet. In fact, there's a lightness and intimacy here that's disarming, as if the microphones captured Fleming singing to herself. This is true even in the fast, virtuosic selections, like "Scoglio d'immota fronte" from Scipione, where she keeps her instrument in check. Runs and roulades are nimble and articulate, yet what impresses most is the sheer musicality of her interpretations, reminding us that Handel was one of the creators of the bel canto style. And, surely, the old master would have swooned to hear his music sung with such graceful expressiveness and tonal beauty. The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, playing on period instruments, produce a warm, transparent sound, providing elegant and characterful support. In a word: gorgeous.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Rich, smooth, creamy, and very, very warm, Renée Fleming's soprano pours all over the music of George Frideric Handel like melting chocolate. From the voluptuous "Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me" through the luxurious "Endless pleasure" to the opulent "Calm thou my soul," Fleming's voice fulfills the heart and soul of Handel's music. Better yet, Fleming sounds like she really means it. Each aria has its own emotional character and each aria has its own musical personality. Fleming makes the listener believe the ecstasy of Semele, the longing of Rodelinda, and the sorrow of Agrippina. When coupled with the expert accompaniment of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Harry Bickert, Fleming's performances will seduce anyone who loves passionately beautiful music. Decca's sound is as soft as a rose and as flattering as satin.
New York Times - Anthony Tommasini
Sheer sensual beauty of sound and wondrously long-arced phrasing distinguish [Fleming's] accounts of "O sleep why dost thou leave me?" from "Semele" and Cleopatra's bewitchingly lyrical aria of seduction from "Giulio Cesare." The quick-paced "Scoglio d'immota fronte" from "Scipione" is replete with fiery coloratura passagework, sudden vocal leaps and tricky ornaments, which she executes with aplomb. Under Mr. Bicket the orchestra gives crisp, lucid, undulant and stylistically informed performances.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/09/2004
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028947561866
catalogNumber:
000340436

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Semele, oratorio, HWV 58: Oh sleep, why dost thou leave me?
  2. Semele, oratorio, HWV 58: Endless pleasure
  3. Scipione (Publio Cornelio Scipione), opera, HWV 20: Scoglio d'immota fronte
  4. Orlando, opera, HWV 31: Quando spieghi i tuoi tormenti
  5. Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Ombra mai fù
  6. Samson, oratorio, HWV 57: To fleeting pleasures make your court
  7. Rinaldo, opera, HWV 7: Lascia ch'io pianga
  8. Rinaldo, opera, HWV 7: Dunque, i lacci d'un volto...Ah! crudel
  9. Samson, oratorio, HWV 57: Let the bright Seraphim
  10. Giulio Cesare in Egitto, opera, HWV 17: V'adoro, pupille
  11. Giulio Cesare in Egitto, opera, HWV 17: Da tempeste il legno infranto
  12. Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi, opera, HWV 19: Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro
  13. Lotario, opera, HWV 26: Sommo rettor del cielo...D'una torbida sorgente
  14. Agrippina, opera, HWV 6: Pensieri, voi mi tormentate
  15. Agrippina, opera, HWV 6: Bel piacere è godere fido amor!
  16. Alexander Balus, oratorio, HWV 65: Calm thou my soul...Convey me to some peaceful sho

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