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For the final volume in Fabio Bonizzoni’s survey of cantatas written by Handel during his stay in Italy, the background scenery moves – like a reflection of the Grand Tour – from Rome to Naples; probably the troubled times in a Rome besieged by Imperial troops during the War of the Spanish Succession may have encouraged the young, itinerant Saxon musician to consider that heading down south was safer and more conducive for his overall career prospects.
It was a time when Handel was conceiving the three highly-charged cantatas to be heard on this disc and he would have been aware that Naples was blessed with a bass singer, Domenico Antonio Manna, possessed of a prodigious vocal range, encompassing two octaves and a fifth. It is possible that Handel wrote two of the pieces performed on this disc – Apollo e Dafne and Cuopre tal volta il cielo – with Manna in mind, even if the former cantata was perhaps completed after Handel had reached Hannover. Carlo Vitali’s engaging booklet essay colourfully helps to summon up early 18th century Neapolitan culture and Handel’s potential place within it. Joining Fabio Bonizzoni and La Risonanza for these modern-day realisations of the Baroque Italian musical world experienced by Handel are Furio Zanasi and Thomas Bauer for the bass roles, as well as soprano Roberta Invernizzi, an integral feature of this revelatory and muchpraised Handel series since its inception.
George Frideric Handel: Apollo e Dafne, HWV 122
Recitative: La terra e liberata! (The earth is freed!) (Apollo)
Aria: Pende il ben dell'universo (The well-being of the universe) (Apollo)
Recitative: Ch'il superbetto Amore (Let proud little Cupid) (Apollo)
Aria: Spezza l'arco e getta l'armi (Break your bow and throw away your arrows) (Apollo)
Aria: Felicissima quest'alma (Most fortunate is this soul) (Dafne)
Recitative: Che voce! Che belta! (What a voice! What a beauty!) (Apollo, Dafne)
Aria: Ardi, adori, e preghi in vano (You desire, adore and beseech in vain) (Dafne)
Recitative: Che crudel! (How cruel!) (Apollo, Dafne)
Duet: Una guerra ho dentro il seno (A war rages in my breast) (Dafne, Apollo)
Recitative: Placati al fin, o cara (Calm yourself, O dear one) (Apollo)
Aria: Come rosa in su la spina (Like the rose on its stem) (Apollo)
Recitative: Ah! ch'un Dio non dovrebbe (Ah! A God should love nothing) (Dafne)
Aria: Come in ciel benigna stella (As Neptune's star in heaven) (Dafne)
Recitative: Odi la mia ragion! (Hear my reason!) (Apollo, Dafne)
Recitativo: Sempre t'adorero! (I shall always adore you!) (Apollo, Dafne)
Aria: Mie piante correte (My feet run) (Apollo)
Aria: Cara pianta, co'miei pianti (Dearest laurel, with my tears) (Apollo)
George Frideric Handel: Dunque sara pur vero, HWV 110, "Agrippina condotta a morire"
Recitative: Dunque sara ur vero
Aria: Orrida, oscura, l'etra si renda
Recitative: Ma pria che d'empia morte
Aria: Renda cenere il tiranno
Recitative: Si, si, del gran tiranno
Aria and Recitative: Come, o Dio!
Aria: Se infelice al mondo vissi!
Recitative: Prema l'ingrato figlio
Aria: Su lacerate il seno
Recitative: Ecco a morte gia corro
George Frideric Handel: Cuopre tal volta il cielo, HWV 98
Accompagnato: Cuopre Talvolta il cielo
Aria: Tuona, balena
Recitative: Cosi fiera procella
Aria: Per pieta de' miei martiri
“[Bonizzoni's] affectionate handling of ritornellos, pacing and keeness for subtlety are perfect from the outset...Bonizzoni and his string players provide assertive accompaniments to Invernizzi's journey through mixed emotions of despair, maternal love, vengefulness and defiance.”
“The vocalists here are electrifying...Above all, it is the instrumentalists that make this a stellar disc; their eloquence equals and at times overflows that of the vocalists. The invention of Bonizzoni's own continuo realistations is riveting.”
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