Handel: Finest Arias for Base Voice

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Handel: Finest Arias for Base Voice


Gramophone Awards 2013

Finalist - Vocal

Gramophone Magazine

Editor's Choice - January 2013

BBC Music Magazine

Opera Choice - February 2013



Catalogue No:




Release date:

3rd Dec 2012





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Handel: Finest Arias for Base Voice


Sibilar gl'angui d'Aletto (from Rinaldo)

Fra l’ombre e gl’orrori (from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo)

I rage, I melt, I burn…O ruddier than the cherry (from Acis and Galatea)

L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: If I give thee honour due

L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato: Mirth, admit me of thy crew

La Resurrezione: Qual'insolita luce

La Resurrezione: Caddi, è ver

Deborah: Tears, such as tender fathers shed

Belshazzar: To pow'r immortal my first thanks are due

Impari ognun da Orlando (from Orlando)

Sorge infausta una procella (from Orlando)

Theodora, HWV 68: Racks, gibbets, sword and fire

Muzio Scevola, HWV13: Volate più dei venti

Vieni, o cara (from Agrippina)

Nel mondo e nell'abisso (from Riccardo Primo)

Mie piante, correte from Apollo e Dafne, HWV 122

Apollo e Dafne: Cara pianta

Alexander's Feast: Revenge, revenge, Timotheus cries

Semele: Leave me, loathsome light


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‘With his acting chops and weighty bass-baritone, Purves in full cry is a splendid and fearful spectacle’ (The Times)

The magnificent Christopher Purves performs a recital of Handel’s bass arias. This unique collection demonstrates the range and brilliance of Handel’s writing for this voice, featuring a selection from Italian and English operas, English classical drama, Biblical oratorios, literary odes and a masque. Handel’s endlessly imaginative gift for characterization is fully explored here, with Purves commanding an extraordinary emotional and technical range from the buffo blustering of Polyphemus in Acis and Gatalea to the loving musings of Abinoam in ‘Tears, such as tender fathers shed’ from the oratorio Deborah.

Handel: Rinaldo, HWV 7a - Act 1 #10 Sibilar Gli Angui D'Aletto

Handel: Acis & Galatea, HWV 49a - Part 2 #02 I Rage, I Melt, I Burn!

Handel: Acis & Galatea, HWV 49a - Part 2 #03 O Ruddier Than The Cherry

Handel: Aci, Galatea & Polifemo, HWV 72 - #23 Fra L'Ombre & Gl'Orrori

Handel: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso & Il Moderato, HWV 55 - Part 1 #14 If I Give Thee Honour Due

Handel: L'Allegro, Il Penseroso & Il Moderato, HWV 55 - Part 1 #15 Mirth, Admit Me Of Thy Crew

Handel: La Resurrezione, HWV 47 - Part 1 #3 Qual'Insolita Luce

Handel: La Resurrezione, HWV 47 - Part 1 #4 Caddi, È Ver

Handel: Deborah, HWV 51 - Part 3 Sc. 2 #2 Tears, Such As Tender Fathers Shed

Handel: Belshazzar, HWV 61 - Act 3 Sc. 3 To Pow'r Immortal My First Thanks Are Due

Handel: Orlando, HWV 31 - Act 3 Sc. 6 #10 Impari Ognun Da Orlando

Handel: Orlando, HWV 31 - Act 3 Sc. 6 #11 Sorge Infausta Una Procella

Handel: Theodora, HWV 68 - Act 1 #5 Racks, Gibbets, Sword & Fire

Handel: Muzio Scevola, HWV 13 - Act 3 #6 Volate Più Dei Venti

Handel: Agrippina, HWV 6 - Act 1 Sc. 21 Vieni, O Cara

Handel: Riccardo Primo, Re D'Inghilterra, HWV 23 - Act 3 Sc. 4 Nel Mondo & Nell'Abisso

Handel: Apollo & Dafne, HWV 122 - #17 Mie Piante Correte

Handel: Apollo & Dafne, HWV 122 - #18 Cara Pianta

Handel: Alexander's Feast, HWV 75 - Part 2 #2 Revenge, Timotheus Cries

Handel: Semele, HWV 58 - Act 3 Sc. 1 Leave Me, Loathsome Light

Gramophone Magazine

January 2013

“Possessing in effect two voices in one - a ringing, incisive high baritone with a sonorous bass extension...Purves's flair for specific characterisation enlivens every number on the disc...A counter...to the cliched notion that [Handel's] bass arias are all undifferentiated bluster.”

The Guardian

10th January 2013


“Purves is a fine vocal actor, and we're continuously aware of the variety of Handel's style and the sharpness of his characterisation. The great moments are those in which the singing reveals the depths of Handel's psychological insight, above all in a scene from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, in which the monster Polifemo is suddenly shown to have immense nobility of soul.”

Financial Times

19th January 2013

“Purves’ voice has a noble timbre and is informed by the keenest intelligence”

BBC Music Magazine

February 2013


“one to treasure both for the sensitive and well-sustained singing of Christopher Purves and for the wonderfully wide expressive range of Handel's music...Purves has an acute ear, serving well his intonation and lively feeling for characterisation...The pleasure of single-voice recitals can sometimes be tempered by repetitive mannerisms or exaggerated gestures. Purves avoids both, ensuring enjoyment”

MusicWeb International

January 2013

“He relishes verbal dexterity, and the sound of his rolling consonants in Racks, gibbets, sword and fire from Theodora is not easily forgotten, He shakes the word ‘racks’ around his mouth like a dog savaging a toy doll...This outstandingly good disc offers a wide range of music, feeling, texture and mood. Singer and accompanying group are perfectly matched in a sympathetic church acoustic.”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

August 2014

“Purves not only gives a masterclass in characterisation in this collection of opera and oratorio arias, but also showcases a formidable range of nearly three octaves in the fiendishly difficult scene from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. Equally characterful support from young ensemble Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen.”

Early Music Today


“Christopher Purves gives us masterful, dazzling and powerful performances of scenes from 15 of the composer’s dramatic works, lithely and splendidly supported by up-and-coming ensemble Arcangelo and conductor Jonathan Cohen. In short, this is the most outstanding album of its kind I’ve ever heard from any singer.”

Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.

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