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Posted October 1, 2010
Countertenor David Daniels is a wonder, especially when you consider the rarity of a fine countertenor recital. On this, his second solo recital disc for Virgin Classics, Daniels confounds expectations by continuing his amazingly high batting average. By the very nature of the voice type, one would think the repertoire would be rather limited, the fullness of the notes compromised, the warmth sacrificed by the technical demands of maintaining such a high range. But Daniels breaks every rule and makes up a few new ones by tackling the works of Mozart and Gluck, as well as his perennial musical compass, Handel. Two completely different selections from Mozart’s first opera, “Mitridate”, are included here - the aggressively rhythmic “Venga pur minacci e frema” with its intensely dramatic strings and the majestic and remorseful concluding aria “Vadasi…O ciel…Già dagli occhi”. They illustrate Daniels’ versatility in capturing the two sides of the nefarious character of Farnace. He also tackles the only concert aria Mozart ever wrote for a castrati, "Ombra felice…Io ti lascio”, in a beautifully modulated performance. The Gluck selections are highlighted by the touching “Che farò senza Euridice”, which achieves an almost dream-like beatitude, and the pastoral “Che puro ciel”. Although already breathtaking up to this point, Daniels saves the best for last as he goes back into familiar territory with Handel’s two operas, “Tolomeo” and “Partenope”, the latter which he has performed onstage on several occasions. From “Partenope” comes the beautiful title track “Sento amor” where his character Arsace experiences devotion and confusion over his still strong feelings for the disguised Rosmira. Daniels’ vocal runs are especially amazing on the last aria, “Furibondo spira il Vento”, where his conflicting feelings toward Rosmira come to a boil in a turbulent cauldron as she rejects him.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.