The Queen has arrived from Sheba and she is Sandrine Piau.
The album is called "Between Heaven and Earth" and is an all-oratorio recital. There are only 3 instrumental tracks, but they rock - the Queen of Sheba never arrived with such zest, and the other 2 are perfectly timed and placed to let you recover from the emotions stirred by the arias.
(Another oratorio recital, by Karina Gauvin, has great singing but soporific playing)
From the first trumpet call of "Disseratevi, o porte d'Averno", you sit up and take notice. Piau's voice is not the strongest, but she knows how to play this aria. Expressively, she beats the competition and makes me wish Accademia Bizantina would record (yet another) 'La Resurrezione'. Or any other oratorio, for that matter.
Every song's tempo is perfectly judged, the singing exalted or pathetic as required, and the playing is top notch. I dare you not to be moved to tears by the 'Alexander Balus' excerpts starting with "O take me from this hateful light" to "Convey me to some peaceful shore".
Though I prefer King's very slow tempo for "As steals the morn", this version's singing is the best I've heard. That song is one of the most beautiful ever written (by anyone), and it shows.
You might want to check out her album Opera seria Sandrine Piau - Handel Opera Seria or the cheaper re-issue Haendel, Opera Seria with Christophe Rousset, a Must for Baroque Opera lovers
If you don't have this disc, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR ?