Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|George Frederick Handel, Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco|
Smorgy | Southern California, USA | 10/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This CD seems to draw lots of criticism for its selection of arias (many call for more rarely performed numbers rather than arias you can find on other Handel arias CD by other mezzos), but I find the selection quite apt.
Vesselina Kasarova is known as one of the premiere Mozart and Rossini mezzo sopranos of her generation for good reasons. She has a distinctly unique voice that is full of texture, is capable of taking on many colors as she sings with astounding agility and control. But it is also a very unconventional voice deployed with the singular purpose of communicating the drama of the operatic scene rather than to 'sing the music well.' And so... if you are entrenched in what is perceived as the 'stylistic' way of singing Baroque arias, this CD is NOT for you. There is no technically flawless or 'music just for music's sake' in this performance. And though clean-singing and technical brilliance is what many fans of Baroque music prize above all things, from all I've read, Georg Friedrich Handel was a drama-oriented composer... And that quality is most evident in the slower and less showy arias rather than the spectacularly virtuosic ones. Being a Kunst Diva, Vesselina Kasarova naturally goes for the the drama. And so this CD is dominated by slower and more theatrically demanding arias:
OTTONE, RÉ DI GERMANIA, HWV 15 (1733)
1. Dove sei, dolce mia vita, 2. Un disprezzato affetto
ARIANNA IN CRETA, HWV 32
3. O patria! O citadin!, 4. Sol ristoro di mortali, 5. Bella sorge la speranza
IL PASTOR FIDO/TERPSICORE, HWV 8c
6. Sento brillar nel sen, 7. Caro amor, sol per momenti
ARIODANTE, HWV 33
8. Overture & Ballet, 9. O felice mio core, 10. Con l'ali di constanza, 11.E vivo ancora?, 12. Scherza infida in grembo al, 13. Numi Lasciami vivere
ALCINA, HWV 34
14. Mi lusinga il dolce affetto, 15. Verdi prati, selve amene
There are a few tracks there that aren't performed much, but the arias of Ariodante and Ruggiero (from Alcina) have also been recorded by many other singers... Make me listen blind-folded to recordings of other singers, and chances are good I won't be able to correctly match the performer to their performance half the time. There is no way in heck that I would ever mistake Kasarova's rendition from any other, though. You may not like her register breaks (she does have them... and so did most singers before the modern era came along to impose the 'seamless voice' convention on us) and the aggressive way she attacks and highlights these arias, but if you are willing to withhold your prejudgment and listen to her interpretation... she ceases to be a singer singing a character's music. Instead, Ottone, Tesseo, Ariodante, and Ruggiero simply materialize before your ears and allow you inside their skull.
So... don't buy if you are a fan of singing Carestini (or whatever your own vision of him is) or if you can't enjoy any unconventional singing. But buy if you are a fan of musical drama (like Handel was) and if you are of the opinion that singing technique is to be used as interpretative tool rather than to be the end in itself."