The Handel arias and orchestral pieces on this disc span a narrow spectrum from the comparatively unfamiliar to the practically unknown. Nine of the twelve arias are recorded here for the first time, as is the D major March, HWV 416. The arias are mostly arie aggiunte, composed for insertion in later performances of existing operas to accommodate a different cast of singers. Some of these arias have come to light only recently or have previously been inadequately identified. The interspersed instrumental works were produced for purposes still uncertain. Yet, despite the sometimes shadowy origins of this music, it is all vintage Handel, and arias such as ‘La crudele lontananza’, ‘Sa perché pena il cor’ and ‘Farò così più bella’ rank among the composer’s most eloquent dramatic utterances.
The Swedish mezzo-soprano Ann Hallenberg has become established as one of Europe’s leading mezzo-sopranos. Her operatic repertoire includes a large number of roles by Rossini, Mozart, Gluck, Massenet, Handel, Vivaldi and Monteverdi. Equally at home on the concert platform, she frequently appears in concert halls and festivals throughout Europe and North America.
She has recorded more than 30 CDs and DVDs, most recently, with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra conducted by Fabio Biondi, a CD of 'Arias for Marietta Marcolini' for Naïve [V5309].
"Having won plaudits in Handel and Vivaldi, Ann Hallenberg proves no less persuasive in bel canto...her even, gleaming tone, eloquence of prase and fluent, never mechanical coloratura give virtually unalloyed pleasure...few could equal her style, zest and coloratura brilliance." Richard Wigmore, Gramophone, Jan 2013
“The majority of these performances are world premieres, Hallenberg deftly negotiating the vagaries of love and war and the whims of gods and sorcerers that furnish the narratives” The Independent, 10th May 2013 ***