1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2013
This CD can also be found in a 4-disc Naive Handel box, with a recital by Sandrine Piau (of which I take what seems to be a minority view) and a performance under Rinaldo Alessandrini of Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno. I shall probably be in a minority here too. Unlike Piau, who ranges across the operas, Bayo sings extracts from Giulio Cesare (four arias) Alcina (three), "Lascio ch'io pianga", from Rinaldo, and two cantatas, one of which is "Tra la Fiamme". The accompanists are Capriccio Stravagante under Skip Sempre, who enthusiastically try to live up to their name. Bayo sometimes seems to be at the other end of a hall, or a shopping mall, from them. But their plucked string embellishments (not quite what Handel may have imagined) don't jar and they don't force the pace unduly. The disc dates from 1999, when Bayo was in her late thirties. She can't be said to have a perfect technique, and her open 'a' sounds are a little disconcerting. But you could not aim higher than this recital does - these are some of the finest arias ever written for the high voice by anyone and they are timeless. Her singing measures up to them. It is about line, (and what lines) dignity, gravitas, and heart. The musicianship is honest and without artifice, and entirely at the service of Handel. She comes closer to getting it right than many a more illustrious and highly praised name among her contemporaries (and predecessors). She also gives much and lasting pleasure.