Friday, January 14, 2011

Vivica Genaux - Handel & Hasse Opera Arias

 


 

 

 

 

Review:

The rich-voiced Alaskan mezzo Vivica Genaux's new CD is as dazzling as her Arias for Farinelli disc that appeared a while ago. Here she sings music of Hasse and Handel, two German composers who wrote in what, for the sake of creating an umbrella, can be called perfect pre-Italian bel canto style. Genaux sings two selections from Handel's Orlando---one wild with coloratura and the other theHandel House, 25 Brook Street, London W1 In this house, George Frideric Handel lived from 1723 until... eponymous hero's moody, difficult mad scene---one from Alcina, and a cantata dating from 1711 that features fine writing for recorders. The lesser-known Hasse is represented by three arias from his opera Arminio and a cantata. Genaux leaps every hurdle the composers put in her way---seemingly endless runs, two-octave leaps, trills. Indeed, one is reminded more than once of Marilyn Horne, although Genaux's voice is prettier and not as grand. She can spin a long, quiet line with grace and breath to spare as well. Genaux's sound, like that of all great singers, is unique--in her case, her tone has a milky smoothness that sets her apart. This CD is for all admirers of truly great singing, and the rarities in the program give it extra value. Bernard Labadie leads the French-Canadian group Les Violons du Roy in performances that are rhythmically razor-sharp and thoroughly alive. --Robert Levine

 

ape, cover

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