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Handel: "Mezzo Soprano" - Opera Arias

Handel: "Mezzo Soprano" - Opera Arias

1 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 8 Mar 2010
  • Release Date: 8 Mar 2010
  • Label: Virgin Classics
  • Copyright: 2010 Erato/Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd. A Warner Music Group Company
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:04:01
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00380E44C
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,744 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By C. D. Nash on 11 Jun 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have a great number of CDs of Handel songs by most of the well-known singers (Mark Padmore, Lorraine Hunt, Emma Kirkby, Sandrine Piau, Elin Manahan Thomas). This excellent CD by Max Cencic covers some less well-known Handel repertoire and has very sympathetic accompaniment by I Barocchisti.

Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Supreme Handel from the Amazing Cencic! 30 Dec 2010
By M. Hall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This recording of Handel arias by Max Emanuel Cencic is, perhaps, the finest countertenor recital of the composer's work. The Countertenor + Handel recording is a tried and true formula, and on occasion it becomes a bit tired; however, Cencic's voice is so unique that any qualms about "sameness" are squashed. Let me say that, while the vocal technique is nothing less than amazing, it is the ambiguous gender of the voice that I find to be most interesting. There is something about Cencic's voice that reminiscent of both genders, and at times, one may have trouble recognizing which - male or female - Cencic actually is. This may not appeal to all countertenor fans, but I find it much preferable to the bizarre, hooty sounds that some falsettists make. The voice is obviously male, but there is a certain "metal" to it that one may normally associate with mezzo-sopranos. Ultimately, there is the lung capacity of a male and the true mezzo sound of a woman combined into one, and it truly leads to an extraordinary result.

When listening to Cencic, I can't help but think that there is something to being a child star. Cencic is only in his early 30's, but he's been in the classical music business for more than 20 years, and the experience is telling. Not only does his audience have the benefit of a aurally exciting performance, Cencic provides a depth of knowledge and thought that one would not find in other performers of the same age who do not have the extensive experience under their belts. To that end, I have a hard time deciding which type of aria on this disc is my favorite: bravura aria or slow aria.

"Benche mi sprezzi" from Tamerlano and "Verdi allori" from Orlando are my favorite slow arias. During the length of them, Cencic sings with wonderful breath support, clear line, excellent diction, dramatic truth, and expressive warmth. However, the true test of a Handel recital is the dramatic outbursts of the bravura, coloratura pieces. Some countertenors have difficulty sustaining a clean line and a pleasant sound when singing high, rapid, or difficult coloratura pieces; David Daniels, for example, has a an exquisite tone (perfect for the "simpler" music of Sesto), but gets through the coloratura pieces of Giulio Cesare in a way that makes one long for Jennifer Larmore. Of course, that's just my opinion, and it may not hold true for all, but I certainly don't feel the same way about Cencic's performance in the bravura arias. The aria from Imeneo that opens the album is equally masterful to the rendition performed by Joyce DiDonato on her "Furore" album. Other arias like "Qual Leon" from Arianna in Creta illustrate that Cencic if perfectly comfortable with speedy, complicated coloratura pieces.

The conducting of I Barocchisti by Diego Fasolis is to be commended. He commands crisp, clear playing from the orchestra that allows Cencic to shine but never allows the drama to slip and slide. The tracks with choral participation are aided splendidly by the "Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizerra."

A supreme Handel recital. Highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Very Special Brand of Countertenor 3 Mar 2011
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Max Emanuel Cencic is a Croatian countertenor whose ability to translate the works of the past into colorful, artistic and intelligent arias of bravura proportions. In this very well recoded CD he collaborates with Diego Fasolis conducting the I Barocchisti in arias from George Frideric Handel's well-known and not so well known arias and delivers the roles for mezzo-soprano with the most sophisticated technique and beauty of tone. Yes, we are fortunate to have a wealth of fine countertenors at present but few others elect to sing these particular roles: the mezzo-soprano range allows for a darker and lower register than most roles given to countertenors in these operas.

There are arias form the well known Tamerlano, Serse, Agrippina, Orlando, and Radamisto and also arias rarely heard form Arianna in Creta, Amadigi Di Gaula, and Parnasso in Festa. In each of these challenges Cencic succeeds, offering a burnished brilliance of tone and finesse of baroque singing standards that would be difficult to match. He is a very fine artist and this CD is worthy of the most critical music lover's library! Grady Harp, March 11
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Beauiful! 15 April 2010
By Zachary Rogg-Meltzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
These Mezzo-Soprano opera arias performed by Max Emanuel Cencic sound better than I have ever heard them sound. His voice is perfectly suited to this music, almost like he was born to sing it. 12 tracks including Arianna in Creta (track number 3) is absolutely beautiful, and I have listened to it ten times in the last few days. This whole CD maintains a very sensitive feel to it, and would appeal to the romantic type. I recommend this to anyone who likes their favorite artists to connect to their music. You certainly feel that here.
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
We are fortunate to be living now... 7 April 2010
By Julian Kerrell-Vaughan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
We have, for so long, looked back with an admixture of unrequited longing and a sharp sense of regret to the age when the male castrato ruled the seventeenth and eighteenth-century operatic stage. Those two words, 'if only...' (perhaps two of the saddest in the English language) may now be laid aside. We are indeed incredibly fortunate in living at a time when we have talents such as Max-Emanuel Cencic to bring a triumphant renaissance to that music once again!
Cencic, like Andreas Scholl and very, very few others, has magnificent beauty and tone throughout his very wide range. There is none of the sibilance and nasal quality that one finds in the leading French exponent of the genre. Here is a very real beauty that stirs the soul.
Added to a phenomenal technique and that fundamental splendour, Cencic, unlike Scholl, it would appear, is capable of the most perilous pyrotechnics, throwing out great handfuls of running demi-semi-quavers with perfect precision and without losing that beauty of tone. In other words he is never obliged to sacrifice beauty to agility.
Returning to the great names of the past - Senesino, Cafarelli and of course Farinelli - one is tempted to posit the question, "Could they...did they...indeed sing better than this?"
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A GREAT COUNTERTENOR IN HANDEL 19 May 2014
By Harry Sillen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Having had this CD for some time, I feel the need to add my two cents to the already favorable reviews. Max Emanuel Cencic has for some time been one of my favorite singers. His ability to put total passion in his singing is just wonderful. He is totally free of the sometimes annoying "hooty" sound that plagued British countertenors of the past (and present). The European generation seems to be free of this, witness Philippe Jaroussky, Valer Sabadus, Franco Fagioli and others.
Hearing this amazing singer in music that is definitely above the likes of Scarlatti and Hasse is very rewarding. Listen to the intense and almost heavenly beauty of Floridante's "Alma mia" sung in a way that could not be bettered, Tamerlano's "Benché mi sprezzi" can be compared to his new complete recording, just out. It is every bit as good.
Much as I admire his florid singing in the fast arias, it is the slow music that moves me. Mr. Cencic gets the chance to really pull the listener into his world. And don't forget Radamisto's "Ombra Cara".
In a word, a recital that must not be missed by anyone interested in great singing, or great music!
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