The debut solo recording from Danielle de Niese, who became a star overnight after her stunning 'all singing, all dancing' performance as Cleopatra in Handel's Giulio Cesare at Glyndebourne in 2005. Danielle signs a selection of Handel arias from both famous and lesser-known works which showcase perfectly her extraordinary dramatic range and vocal abilities.
“De Niese demonstrates good technical skills and a keen sense of character, but above all there's a strong artistic personality at work that enables her to make each statement her own.” BBC Music Magazine, March 2008 ****
“When it comes to sorceresses, de Niese is splendid. The two arias for Medea in Teseo are well contrasted. "Dolce riposo" is a duet for voice and oboe over a pulsating string accompaniment, sung with an affecting gentleness, while "O stringerò nel' sen" is a fiery expression of jealousy. ” Gramophone Magazine, June 2008
“Her singing is utterly delectable and completely assured.” The New York Times
“De Niese can certainly "sell" a number. She makes each of these arias an emotional journey, heightening the expression when the first section is repeated. Semele's "Myself I Shall Adore" becomes increasingly, and delightfully, dizzy, with narcissistic flights of ornamentation, while at the opposite end of the spectrum she suggests a new intensity of grief towards the end of Ginevra's "Il mio crudel martoro" ( Ariodante ), with a "soured" colouring on the key word "moro" - dying.
What makes me faintly uneasy is the less than even quality of de Niese's voice and her reluctance to sing either a true legato or a true pianissimo, though the ultra-close miking must take some of the blame here. Her bright, slender soprano, with its distinctive quick vibrato, has an attractive hint of smokiness in the middle register. Higher up, it can become thin and squally - I noticed this especially in her no-holds-barred performances of Cleopatra's "Da tempeste" and Morgana's "Tornami a vagheggiar" ( Alcina ).
Yet for all her vocal imperfections, De Niese brings each of these characters to vivid life.” The Times, 10th May 2008