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Handel: Ombra cara

Handel: Ombra cara

16 Nov 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
    Title by Artist
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1
4:39
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2
1:18
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3
6:02
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4
4:06
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5
2:10
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6
5:32
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7
8:13
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8
4:38
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9
9:32
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10
4:46
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11
7:12
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12
3:54
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13
9:38
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 16 Nov. 2010
  • Release Date: 16 Nov. 2010
  • Label: harmonia mundi
  • Copyright: ℗© harmonia mundi s.a.
  • Total Length: 1:11:40
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00B5NRSME
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 165,214 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Format: Audio CD
I love Handel and have all his operas (many in several versions) and quite a lot of arias compilations by a wide variety of talented singers, released over the past decades, but very few have given me so much pleasure -and none have I listened to so many times- as this well-thought and exemplary recorded disc. I have always preferred a good contralto or mezzo(like Nathalie Stuzman or Vivica Genaux, to mention just two) in the high-flying and heroic roles Handel wrote for the greatest castrati of the era. All the arias recorded here were created by Senesino, perhaps with Farinelli the biggest star of them all. And, although we cannot know how he sounded, to my ears a good female voice is always more pleasurable in these parts than the uneasy and somehow tricky singing produced by countertenors, even the good ones. But now comes rising-star Bejun Mehta to prove me wrong. Here we have a wonderful and beautiful voice, with effortless coloratura, breathtaking legato and "spìanato" line, that by shading and expressive utterance is able to convey with supreme artistry a whole range of emotions -from desperation and fury to menlancolic longing or extatic joy-, displaying with stunning beauty the darkness and light of these highly demanding arias. The da capo parts are imaginatively embellished, boasting a wide variety of belcanto resources. And if he is good in the high register, he's notably impressive in the low one, exhibiting a skilfull use of the chest (a rarity among countertenors). In fact, you forget quite soon you're listening to a countertenor. This is just a great singer, producing glorious sound and engaging with abandon in all the artifice of the baroque, when the human voice and particularly that of the castrato reigned supreme. A rare treasure. Nobody interested in singing should miss it.
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This cd is spectacular if every way. The choice of programme, the singer's performance and the orchestral playing. The selection of Handel arias steers away from the usual popular pieces. The choice shows Handel at his finest, with both emotionally moving and dramatic numbers. Mehta's singing is marvellous. He produces a fine individual sound that serves him with long lines and some astonishing virtuosity. Finally, the Baroque orchestra under Jacobs plays with great sensitivity and drama, lending a truly musical support to Mehta's performance. I unreservedly recommend this album to all devotees of Handel and Baroque opera.
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Format: Audio CD
Bejun Mehta has had an unique recording career, firstly as a boy soprano, then as a cellist and finally as a counter tenor , after he resumed singing professionally in 1998. The DVD shows a very animated artist, with a passion for his music coursing through his veins to his fingertips. Rene Jacobs admires his distinguishing ability to sing softly in the higher and lower registers without strain. Most of these arias were composed by Handel for his favourite castrato, Senesino. Jacobs ensures that the music is subtly integrated with the voice, revealing all the novelty, nuances and shadows that the composer intended Senesino to bring out. Bejun begins with a bombast and vitality ( that reappears in aria 12), a torrent of silvery notes concealing his dark energy. He dazzles us with a bravura performance of repeatedly juggling with 'amor', tossing it up and down, including 'messa di voce'. Then he can subside into the most expressive tremolo for the lament of aria 3, contrasting this with agile leaps and bounds in aria 4's energetic coloratura section. The three subsequent arias allow Mehta to display conflicting light and shade as he ranges from fury to pity, rage to lament. Aria 9 'Ombra Cara' provides the fulcrum of the CD, with the listener only gradually aware that Mehta is singing with incredible liquidity. This is a virtuoso performance of the most delicate control which launches us onto an ocean of calm after a series of storms. The CD ends with a luscious duet in which Mehta provides the perfect foil for the exquisite soprano of Rosemary Joshua, the lute mingling in the final strains of some beautiful accompaniment. A photograph of Mehta in rich blue 18thc. costume adorns the sleeve.
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