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Karina Gauvin: Prima Donna
Karina Gauvin (soprano)
Arion Baroque Orchestra, Alexander Weimann (director/harpsichord)
• Canadian superstar soprano Karina Gauvin pays tribute to baroque diva Anna Maria Strada del Pò, singing rarities by Vinci, Vivaldi and some of the greatest Handel arie di bravura. Like Strada del Pò in her prime, Miss Gauvin sings this repertoire with powerful expression and brilliant technique, in particular, the trills for which Strada del Pò was renowned. More than thirteen opera roles were created by Handel for Strada del Pò (including Sosarme, Orlando, and Alcina). Strada del Pò’s talent and style may have influenced the composer’s work as much as he contributed to the vocal and dramatic development of the prima donna in the first decades of the 18th century.
• Karina Gauvin has impressed audiences and critics the world over with her luscious timbre, profound musicality and wide vocal range. The Globe and Mail calls her “one of the dream sopranos of our time.” The Sunday Times in London also wrote: “Her glinting soprano, bright-edged yet deliciously rounded and sensual, is used with rare understanding for character... ”
• Arion Baroque Orchestra, founded in 1981, is Quebec’s only early music orchestra performing on period instruments and is one of the most renowned early music ensembles in North America. Conductor Alexander Weimann has traveled the world as member of Tragicomedia, as guest of Freiburger Barockorchester, Gesualdo Consort, Tafelmusik, and as music director of Les Voix Baroques and Le Nouvel Opéra. As guest conductor, he has led the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Les Violons du Roy and the symphony orchestras in Halifax and Victoria. He is currently music director of the Pacific Baroque Orchestra in Victoria (B.C.).
“Her warm-timbred voice, impeccable intonation, athletic technique and tautly controlled vibrato are virtues ideally suited to the exacting musical demands of Baroque opera. She is furthermore sensitive to textual nuance, bringing expressive subtlety to her chosen arias...The excellent Arion Orchestre Baroque offers sympathetic support throughout” BBC Music Magazine, February 2013 *****
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Baroque Voices 26 - Handel: Opera Seria
An anthology devoted to the Handelian prima donna that features arias composed over more than two decades for some of the greatest divas of the time. Sandrine Piau’s recital, recorded in 2004, illustrates the rich hedonism of Handel’s vocal style.
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Handel - Opera Seria
“Sandrine Piau and Christophe Rousset have been consistently stylish and perceptive Handelians together. Their musical flair and dramatic intelligence is marvellously captured here, and they have chosen arias that explore the full range of Handel's genius.
The experience starts with the spectacular 'Scoglio d'immota fronte', and the subsequent sequence weaves through wonderful contrasts.
It's hard to capture the full dramatic sense and vivid personality of Handel's opera characters in a studio recital, yet they hit the bullseye every time, bringing out Cleopatra's despair, Rodelinda's eloquent grief for her apparently deceased husband, the heartbroken sorceress Melissa in Amadigi di Gaula, Deidamia's distress at losing Achilles to the Trojan war, and Partenope's gorgeous charisma.
Although some da capo sections stray a little too far from Handel's notation for the comfort of scholars, they all enhance the drama of the text, and each cadenza, showing panache and taste, is a breath of fresh air. The playing of Les Talens Lyriques is a model of clarity, vitality and theatrical wit. It was an inspired decision to close the recital with the sublime understatement of 'Son qual stanco', featuring a heartbreaking cello solo by Atsushi Sakaï. Rousset and Piau achieve the perfect synthesis of elegance, extravagance and emotion. This is may be the finest recital of Handel arias ever recorded.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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Usually despatched in 3 - 4 working days. (Available now to download.)