If there is ever a time when musical performances are in direct competition, this might be that time. I have four CDs which feature the Cantata "Armida Abbandonata" by GF Händel, one of the cantatas the young German composed in Roma for the Marchese Ruspoli and the Arcadian Academy:
Le Cantate Per Il Marchese Ruspoli The singer is Emanuela Galli, with the ensemble La Risonanza; this is volume II of La Risonanza's incomparable 7-volume recording of Handel's complete Roman cantatas.
Véronique Gens - Handel Cantatas ~ Lucrezia, Agrippina, Armiada / Les Basses Réunies The singer si Veronique Gens, with Les Basses Reunies.
Eva Mei - Handel Cantatas (Agrippina - Armida - Lucrezia) / Il Giardino Armonico The singer is Eva Mei, with Il Giardino Armonico.
All three singers sound better, to my ears, than Lucy Crowe. All of them exhibit more consistent timbres throughout their range. I have to disagree with the previous reviewer about Lucy Crowe's tuning; it doesn't sound "pitch perfect" to me at all. I hear some flat pitches right away in the first accompagnato "Dietro l'ormi fugaci" of Armida, and I hear almost pitchless growly notes in Crowe's lowest passages, perhaps intended to be affective but not entirely convincing. Still, Crowe's performance is certainly worthy of hearing; it's just not quite as good as Galli's or Gens's.
The same must be said of the instrumental ensembles. "The English Concert", conducted by Harry Picket, is worthy of hearing -- very good in fact -- but not nearly as elegant and expressive as La Risonanza or Les Basses Reunies. Sorry, but that's the race. This CD gets the Bronze Medal at best, more likely a tie for Bronze. Unless you really really want to hear every interpretation of Handel on record, you'd be happiest with the full set of recordings by La Risonanza, released by Glossa, featuring such singers as Galli, Roberta Invernizzi, Maria Schiavo, Nuria Real,Romina Basso, Yetzabel Arais Fernandez, and Raffaela Milanesi.