Joyce DiDonato ~ Furore (Handel Opera Arias) CD
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Joyce DiDonato consistently earns ecstatic reviews wherever she sings. Among the worlds most charismatic performers, she is winner of the Metropolitan Operas Beverly Sills Award, among many other honours. Furore features Handel arias and was recorded with Les Talens Lyriques and Christophe Rousset.
Fury is not a subject that many singers would choose for their first solo aria disc; it doesn't exactly promise a relaxing listen. Plus, if you were looking to be noticed, Handel arias would perhaps not be the best choice in an anniversary year when CD reviewers' desks are buckling under the weight of a thousand and one recordings of his works. However, American mezzo Joyce Didonato has scored a triumph with this performance which not only shows her phenomenal technical talent, but verily crackles with dramatic fire.
The arias are drawn from Serse, Teseo, Guilo Cesare, Admeto, Hercules, Semele, Imeneo, Ariodante, and Amadigi, so a comprehensive selection. They were recorded live with Christophe Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques at concert performances in April 2008 at Brussels' Th�âtre de la Monnaie. It needs to be said that this is no opportunistic anniversary recording; Handel's music has featured strongly in Didonato's onstage and recording career to date, including stage performances of the title roles of Alcina and Ariodante and a Barbican performance as Hercules' wife which earned her a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award. Didonato's evident excitement for this music is evident in her note in the CD booklet, and the recording itself is stunning throughout. Technically, she can't be bettered. Her legato is exceptionally smooth, particularly notably in Ariodante's ''Scherza infida'', her colouratura is dazzling, her high notes perfect even in the heat of passion, and her dynamic range is a joy. It should go without saying that Didonato is a brilliant actress, as you don't do a disc of mad scene arias if drama isn't your forte, but it is still worth drawing attention to. Her portrayal of Dejanira's grief at the supposed death of Hercules is achingly convincing, not to mention beautiful. When anger is the prevalent emotion things become particularly exciting; as Handel's contemporary, William Congreve, once wrote, ''hell has no!fury like a woman scorned'', and Didonato spits venomous anger like there was no tomorrow. She doesn't fall shy of lending an element of harshness - almost ugliness - to her voice for the odd phrase either. All in all, a marvellous solo album debut. --Charlotte Gardner
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Top Customer Reviews
For those who labor under the misapprehension that Baroque music is staid and (yes, I have heard it said) passionless, give this CD a listen, and you'll realize just how wrought with human emotion this music is, if there are artists intelligent and daring enough to plumb its considerable depths. From the searing insanity of Dejaneira to the piercing poignancy of Ariodante, this wonderful collection scans the landscape of heart and mind, painted to stunning effect with the multi-coloured palette of Ms. DiDonato's voice, which is matched hue for hue by Les Talens Lyrique under the insightful baton of Christophe Rousset.
I'm sure there are Baroque specialists who would quibble with some of Ms. DiDonato's embellishments; but surely no one can deny the absolute conviction with which they are executed, nor the drama they convey. As to the suitability of her voice for Handel, let me just assert that I find it refreshing to hear a full-blooded instrument with a natural, unapologetic vibrato singing this glorious music. That is not to say that Ms. DiDonato avoids straight tone--on the contrary, she uses it often, to mesmerizing effect; but is is just that: an EFFECT, not an entire school of singing.
This CD should be a prize possession in any vocal music lover's collection. Buy it, and revel in Handelian sublimity.
listening to the entire CD all at once turns out to be too much of a good thing.
It's best appreciated when played in small doses.
No question DiDonato has a very special voice perfectly suited to this rep.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not as thrilling as I was expecting, it may improve on further listening. I have heard better from this brilliant singer.Published 12 months ago by mayanguy
Stunning music and of course no one can better the amazing voice of Joyce DiDonato. Strongly recommend buying this.Published 13 months ago by Andrew Champion
A must for those who enjoy excellent singing. A good introduction to Handel's vocal Music.Published 20 months ago by Ulla Tarras-Wahlberg
I love Joyce DiDonato's voice. Heard her live several times and it's always a great pleasure. This record has a great variety of songs, every one a gem.Published on 24 May 2014 by A. Dymoke-Bradshaw
I am an Amazon fan and a faithful client. I do want to leave positive reviews when they are deserved but I don't have enough fantasy to invent a new review every time. Read morePublished on 17 July 2013 by DejanD