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British countertenor Iestyn Davies is one of the fastest rising stars on the concert and opera circuit. Following his highly acclaimed recording of Porpora cantatas, he returns for a second solo album with Hyperion, a selection of arias written for Gaetano Guadagni. Italian-born Guadagni was the first ‘modern’ castrato, famed all over Europe for the lyric purity of his voice and his powerful, naturalistic acting style. Not only did he enjoy a close artistic relationship with Handel, who nurtured Guadagni’s voice to fit the alto roles in his English oratorios, but he effectively created the role of Orpheus in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera he thoroughly made his own. Here, Iestyn Davies is joined again by the renowned period-instrument band Arcangelo, directed by Jonathan Cohen.
Gluck: Orfeo & Euridice - Act 3 Sc. 1b Aria: Che Farò Senza Euridice?
Guadagni: Pensa A Serbarmi, O Cara
27th May 2012
“Davies sings them superlatively well.”
7th June 2012
“Davies includes some of the showstoppers written for [Guadagni] by Handel and Arne, delivering them with wonderful finesse and flawless tone. Orfeo itself, however, lies awkwardly for a counter-tenor, and Davies is occasionally forced to sacrifice intensity for the sake of integrity of line. The orchestral playing, from Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen, is exquisite.”
“I think that if I had to nominate a CD to represent Iestyn Davies this one would be my choice.”
“Through his effortless line, countertenor Iestyn Davies revivifies Guadagni's Orphic powers...Whether drawing out sustained notes or knitting together filigreed coloratura, he is a paragon of gallant taste: poised, cool, elegant...Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo capture the rapid, unexpected twists of the younger Bach's radical imagination...this [is] a refreshingly ambitious and superbly realised recording.”
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