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Romantic duets from Handel’s operas, including Serse, Rodelinda, Arminio and Teseo.
Performed by Nuria Rial and Lawrence Zazzo, who recently appeared on deutsche harmonia mundi’s recording of rare Handel opera Riccardo Primo (88697174212) in which Zazzo takes the title role.
Accompanied by the Chamber Orchestra of Basel conducted by Handel specialist Laurence Cummings.
Rial and Zazzo are two of the leading exponents of the Baroque genre. The soprano has sung with the early music conductors René Jacobs and Giovanni Antonini.
The repertoire of the Philadelphia-born countertenor Zazzo ranges from the operas of Monteverdi, Scarlatti and Handel to numerous twentieth-century works. He will be appearing at the Royal Opera House during the Autumn of 2008 in a production of Cavalli’s La Calisto.
Georg Friedrich Händel: Poro, Rè dell'Indie: Caro amico amplesso! (Duetto)
Poro, Rè dell'Indie: Caro amico amplesso! (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Serse
Romilda infida (Rec)
Troppo oltraggi la mia fede (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Admeto, HWV 22
Quivi, tra questi soltari orrori (Rec.)
Ah, sì, morrò (Aria)
Alma mia (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Muzio Scevola: Ma come a mar (Duetto)
Muzio Scevola: Ma come a mar (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Rodelinda
Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro (Aria)
Non ti bastò (Rec)
Io t'abbraccio (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Arminio
Fuggi, mio bene (Rec)
Il fugir, cara mia vita (Duetto)
Ritorna nel core vezzosa (Duetto)
Georg Friedrich Händel: Teseo
Parte Agilea, per vernerar la Dea (Rec)
Te credo, si ben mio (Aria)
Commanda, dunque, o bella (Rec)
Ah, cruda Gelosia (Aria)
Dunque all'affetto mio fede (Rec)
Addio, mio caro bene (Duetto)
“The voices of Rial and Zazzo are engaging on their own and evenly balanced in ensemble… excelling in the…composer's tenderly reflective music such as in the ravishing duet 'Io t'abbraccio' from Rodelinda (1725). Cummings directs all with sensibility and stylistic assurance.”
“'Duetti amorosi' is an imaginative and thoughtfully chosen programme of operatic duets (although the singers also get two arias each). Nothing predictable is included here, except perhaps the two items from Rodelinda, but the lovely performance of 'Ritorna, o cara' and the pathos-laden 'Io t'abbraccio' more than justify their presence. Picking a diverse selection of repertoire that skilfully conveys the expressive and stylistic breath of Handel's writing is certainly one of the often-ignored secrets of planning a successful Handel recital programme, and the performers' enthusiasm for reviving numbers from Arminio (including its fine overture), Teseo, Muzio Scevola, Poro (the gorgeous 'Caro amico amplesso') and Admeto deserves high praise. Rial and Zazzo sing well, both individually and together: in the duets they are obviously listening sympathetically to each other; they seem to know when to emphasise vocal contrasts or blend closely. Laurence Cummings provides expert musical direction from the harpsichord, ensuring that everything is paced to perfection, and that the musico-dramatic characteristics presented in each piece speak with transparency to the listener; none of these performances would feel out of place in context of their parent works. The policy to dump the texts and translations onto a PDF is detestable.”
Awards Issue 2008
“In duet or solo, two fine singers impress in a delightfully planned Handel recital. Laurence Cummings provides expert musical direction from the harpsichord, ensuring that everything is paced to perfection…”
10th August 2008
“The aching longing and ecstatic intertwining of soprano and alto (castrato) voices in the sublime duets for Poro (1731) and Cleofide, and for Rodelinda (1725) and Bertarido, are among the era’s most moving “romantic” music. With her bright, pristine soprano, Rial blends perfectly with Zazzo’s plush countertenor. They are delightful in the comical Romilda/Arsamene duet, from Serse (1738), and moving in the yearning farewell of Clizia and Arcane, from Teseo (1713). Unexpected and enjoyable.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.