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Battle's wonderful voice is perfect for Handel's Arias
C. B Collins Jr. | Atlanta, GA United States | 11/13/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a wonderful CD. Kathleen Battle's voice is so amazingly sweet, never harsh, always bird-like, flute-like, and sublime in its beauty.
"Oh, didst thou know ...As when the dove" from Acis and Galatea is wonderful in its simplicity of lyric and complexity of voice. Battle's enuciation is wonderful, a soprano that you can actually understand.
"E pur cosi in un giorno...Piangero la sorte mia" from Giulio Caesar is a great treat with Battle singing this wonderful aria as sung by the character Cleopatra.
"Oh! had I Jubal's lyre" is based on the Biblical story of Joshua. Battle's voice rejoices as she sings the part of Achsas in love with the character Othniel.
"L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato", like many of the works on this CD, has illusions to some bird like animal. In this piece Paul Davies plays the flute and establishes the "Sweet Bird" to which Battle replies. It is based on the poems of Milton. The soprano sections mimic and compliment and reflect on the flute which first leads and then follows the sorprano. The flute plays the role of the nightingale and Battle does a wonderful job of immitating the bird.
"Rejoice Greatly" from Handel's Messiah is superb. You have heard it many times, but Battle's version is so CLEAR.
"Every sight these eyes behold" and "May peace in Salem...Will the sun forget to streak" are both from Solomon and Battle sings the role of the Queen of Sheba. The violins are perfect compliments to Battle in these pieces, with a wonderful summary by the violins at the end of "May peace...".
From the opera Alcina she sings "Ah! mio cor!" and "Tornami a vagheggiar".
You will never tire of this CD, with Battle's great voice and Handel's beautiful compositional complexity, it is just great."
Ralph O. Padgug | Sacramento, CA United States | 07/16/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Interesting selection of Handel arias beautifully performed and recorded. Marriner and the Academy are at their best, and Kathleen Battle's golden voice caresses the music with often ravishing effect. Her interpretations are passionate but tasteful, and her occasional tendency to sound little-girlish is at a minimum. Flawless coloratura! If you've never heard the aria from Samson: "Will the sun forget to streak?" [sounds a little strange to modern-day ears, but not in context] YOU MUST HEAR THIS CD! It is the most hauntingly beautiful piece. I only wish Battle and Marriner would record another recital of Handel."
Damaged by reports but what a voice!
Peter Chordas | Portland, OR USA | 03/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been a big Kathleen Battle fan since the 80's when I first heard her perform and she was the big sensation of the time. This has always been one of my favorite CD's of hers. What a voice! When she coos in "As when the dove," I simply want to keep hitting "replay" on that first aria. Gorgeous voice so clear and warm. Her diction is perfect.
Unfortunately, she got some bad publicity and was fired from the Met for allegedly acting like a Prima Donna. When she sang in Wagner's "The Ring" - complete cycle in San Francisco, there were T-shirts that said, "I survived The Ring but not the Battle." Cast and crew complained about how difficult she was to deal with. But in her defense, she did humbly apologize and since, those who worked with her have agreed that she was always making demands to better the performance and not just to be "difficult." In his 2006 memoirs, Volpe wrote that James Levine had advised against the dismissal at the time and went on to write, "I've wondered whether it was partly prompted by my desire to establish my authority at the Met. Perhaps it was."
Since that time, I saw her perform once at a recital to a full house and she sang wonderfully. I love the way in which Miss Battle sings. This CD is beautiful."