Handel: Bad Guys - Opera Arias from Amadigi, Ariodante and Ottone
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Xavier Sabata is an exceptional singer. He takes the music from a resolutely revolutionary angle, accompanied by the Italian ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro, conducted by Riccardo Minasi. This album, dedicated to the 'bad boys' in operas by Georges Friedrich Handel, is crossed with tears, joy and rage. A wonder to all lovers of exceptional vocal discoveries. During the 2011-2012 season, Xavier Sabata appears at the most prestigious opera houses, festivals and concert halls in Europe, with the best orchestras. Born in Barcelona in 1976, he graduated in drama from the Theatre Institute in his hometown. He rstudied with the famous duo of Mitsuko Shirai and Hartmut Höll and participated in master classes with Montserrat Figueras, Richard Levitt and Christoph Prégardien. His participation in the 'Coronation of Poppea' by Monteverdi at the Opera de Lyon marked the beginning of his regular collaboration with Les Arts Florissants and William Christie. Upcoming engagements include the lead at the Royal Opera Oviedo (Ottone, in Agrippina), the Megaron in Athens, at the Theater an der Wien and at the Royal Opera of Versailles. He sang Iarba in Cavalli's 'La Didone' at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, subsequently recorded by Decca.
the Catalan countertenor has brought the fight thundering into the Baroque era ... Minasi s strings offer percussive vehemence ... and a foil to the richness of Sabata s coloratura ... Sabata s voice is wonderfully flexible, finding exciting colours at both extremes of his range ... this is a fine disc, and Sabata proves himself an excellent tour-guide through some of the seamier back streets of Handel s operas. --Alexandra Coghlan, Opera April 2013
Egeo s rage-venting Voglio stragi, e voglio morte [is] fast and furious, it carries Sabata higher than elsewhere (no strain) and shows no hitch in his rapid emission of notes. I am pleased to make the acquaintance of another impressive countertenor. Minasi leads an accomplished group, as adroit in its playing as Sabata is in his singing. --John T. Hughes, International Record Review April 2013
**** perf / **** rec Sabata s recital is rewarding. His technique and intonation are flawless. His ornaments are tastefully discreet and he seems to effortlessly surmount Handel s exacting coloratura. --Nicholas Anderson, BBC Music Magazine July 2013
Top Customer Reviews
Xavier Sabata is a very fine countertenor with a rich tone and excellent technique, so that he makes even Handel's most demanding and word-murdering passages seem effortless and meaningful. He brings genuine menace to the arias without ever resorting to melodrama and there is a real sense of the characters throughout. Il Pomo d'Oro under Riccardo Minasi are excellent: technically flawless and extremely supple, so that they really enhance the drama as well as the music.
I am going to have to get over my prejudice against this sort of marketing. First Celcilia Bartoli Mission and now Xavier Sabata have recently confounded my expectations with absolutely superb discs, and I wholeheartedly recommend this as a truly excellent and very rewarding Handel recording.
There's a curiosity in that the final listed track is followed after a break of about 2 minutes by an unannounced and undocumented encore which is not tracked separately. It's "Sorge nel petto...", Goffredo's Act 3 aria from Rinaldo. Maybe hidden because it hardly fits the "bad guys" theme - Goffredo being one of the good guys from that opera! Beautifully sung. The whole disc makes me want to hear him in a complete Handel opera.