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Arias for Guadagni
the first modern castrato
Vengeance, O come inspire me! (from Alfred)
Bach, C P E:
Symphony No. 1 in D major, Wq 183/1
Ah! Non turbi il mio riposo
Orfeo ed Euridice (Orphée et Euridice): Dance of the Blessed Spirits
Ahimè! Dove trascorsi? (from Orfeo)
Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)
Pensa a serbarmi, o cara
Saul: O Lord, whose mercies numberless
The raptur'd soul (from Theodora)
The Choice of Hercules: Yet can I hear that dulcet lay
Destructive War, thy limits know (from Belshazzar)
Hasse, J A:
Ah che dissi, infelice! (from Didone Abbandonata)
Se resto sul lido (from Didone Abbandonata)
Odi colà la frigia tromba? (from Didone Abbandonata)
A trionfar mi chiama (from Didone Abbandonata)
Smith, J C:
Say, lovely Dream! (from The Fairies)
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.
“Davies sings them superlatively well.” Sunday Times, 27th May 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.” The Guardian, 7th June 2012 ****
“I think that if I had to nominate a CD to represent Iestyn Davies this one would be my choice.” International Record Review, July/August 2012
“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.” BBC Music Magazine, August 2012 *****
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“The world's leading 'operatic' countertenor has sung on precious few of the abundant complete Handel recordings of the last decade so this selection of oratorio arias fills some of the gaps in the Daniels discography.
The American was to have sung Didymus in Paul McCreesh's Archiv recording of Theodora – the role of his Glyndebourne début in Peter Sellars's controversial 1995 staging – but he was unable to fit the preceding concerts into his burgeoning international schedule and was replaced by Robin Blaze. Not surprisingly, he includes four of Didymus's arias in his oratorio album, and rejoices in the wonderful music Handel composed for the young Italian castrato, Gaetano Guadagni. The sensuous colours of Daniels' falsetto are ideal in this music, which he sings with beguiling erotic ambiguity.
The same goes for David's ravishing 'O Lord, whose mercies numberless' – a prayer whose yearning melismata suggest passions more earthly than godly – from Saul. There's little cause for complaint, except perhaps about the use of the modern instrument Ensemble Orchestral de Paris rather than a period band, but at least John Nelson's conducting – particularly in the fast-moving numbers – is livelier than on his complete L'allegro. In excellent sound, this glorious disc comes highly recommended.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Handel: English Arias
A comprehensive programme of arias from such famous English oratorios as Esther, Saul, Belshazzar, Theodora, Judas Maccabaeus and Solomon. These oratorios contain a wealth of arias, duets and splendid overtures, of which one overture, eleven arias, and two beautiful duets are included here. The world-famous countertenor James Bowman is joined by The King’s Consort and the renowned soprano Susan Gritton.
“This beautiful collection of songs and duets from Handel oratorios finds the 52-year-old English countertenor in quite amazing form … his voice remains phenomenally agile. Unmissable” Sunday Times
“A noble and dignified recital” Fanfare
“Arias from the oratorios are sung with the distinctive vocal timbre and panache for which Bowman is well-known. Twice joined by Susan Gritton this recital finds both artists on engaging form.” BBC Music Magazine, April 2013 ****
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