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Rolando Villazón - Handel Arias
Rolando Villazón and Gabrieli Players maestro Paul McCreesh – a Gramophone award winner for his Haydn Creation in 2008 – energize an all-Italian Handel aria program that opens the door for his fans into the marvels of the Baroque repertoire. Had Handel known and composed for Rolando’s voice, Villazón’s ardent tenor could not more perfectly realize Handel’s grand, melodic style
All admirers of the tenor voice – not just Rolando Villazón’s numerous fans – will be swept off their feet into a love affair with his heartfelt Handel
Cielo e mar has sold almost 90,000 units to date worldwide, and this surprisingly different album is the perfect follow-up
This release was launched in perfect time for the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Handel’s death.
“It is splendid to hear a singer of abundant personality leaping into the suicide scene from Tamerlano with such dramatic authority. Listening to Villazón's lively rendition of Bajazet's "Ciel e terra armi di sdegno", I find myself eager to see him sing the role on stage. ...the enthusiasm seems infectious: McCreesh's Gabrieli Players have rarely sounded better and more dramatically attuned in this repertoire. This disc is zany in some ways, but offers fine rewards.” Gramophone Magazine, May 2009
“Villazón sings everything with such intensity and fire that you surrender to him. His performance of Ariodante's Scherza Infida is among the most beautiful and keenly felt on disc. If he'd been around in the 18th century, Handel would probably have adored him.” The Guardian, 10th April 2009 ****
“Villazón’s first number, one of three from Tamerlano, blasts us with a degree of bravura and sunshine rarely encountered among the regular male Baroque singers…” The Times, 20th March 2009 ***
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As Steals the Morn
Handel - Arias & scenes for tenor
Enjoy the sweet Elysian grove (Alceste, Act IV)
Semele: Where'er you walk
Urne voi (Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Part I)
Forte e lieto (from Tamerlano)
Oh per me lieto, avventuroso giorno! (from Tamerlano)
Figlia mia (from Tamerlano)
Tu, spietato (from Tamerlano)
Samson: Total eclipse!
Samson: Did love constrain thee?
Samson: Your charms to ruin led the way
Samson: Let but that spirit
Samson: Then shall I make Jehovah's glory known!
Thus when the sun from’s watry bed (Samson)
Fatto inferno…Pastorello d'un povero armento (from Rodelinda)
Esther: Tune your harps to cheerful strains
Heav'n smiles once more … (Jephtha, Act II, 2)
Jephtha: His mighty arm
Jephtha: Waft her, angels, through the skies
As steals the morn (from L'Allegro, il Penseroso, ed il Moderato)
A dramatic collection of solo arias and scenes for tenor drawn for oratorio and opera - some of Handel's most lovely music, brilliantly performed by Mark Padmore and The English Concert, led by Andrew Manze. The concluding duet As steals the morn with soprano Lucy Crowe is an added bonus.
“Tenors are fighter pilots - dashing, heroic, unhappy out of the limelight - and Padmore is an ace among them, soaring through this disc on a velvet voice in various Handelian guises. Semele falls for
his smooth flattery in Where'er you walk', though he decelerates after the intro speed set by The English Consort under Andrew Manze. His blinded Samson is harrowingly persuasive in 'Total Eclipse',
he shows off impressive no-breath acrobatics in Jephtha and dramatises outrageously in the Tameriano extract. The alto Robin Blaze and the soprano Lucy Crow are his top-notch, bit-part crew.” The Times
“Underpinned by Andrew Manze's unobtrusive and warm-hearted English Concert, Mark Padmore uses his extraordinary diction and whispering chamber-like intimacy to remind us that the most exalted tenor arias from Handel's operas and oratorios can achieve true potency out of context.
Favourites like 'Where'er you walk' and 'Waft her, angels' appear to grow out of this varied programme without the sense of being lifted for a compilation; Padmore is a master of taste, restraint and unassuming gesture. 'Pastorello d'un povero' is a touching vignette and the soft singing elsewhere contributes to a concentrated and affecting juxtaposition of human vice and virtue in the Tamerlano scenas. As throughout, Padmore saves the greatest emotional impact for the da capos where coloration reaches new heights.
Indeed, it is the joy in conveying the emotional core of each situation which marks out this disc. Graphic dramatic effects abound (not least the Sultan's gradual giving up the ghost in 'Figlia mia' with a croaking realism) but this is a disc which celebrates Handel's capacity for incisive human observation, achieved more through reflective means than showpiece coloratura.
It's a persuasive and thoughtful approach.
Padmore's lowest register can seem a touch insubstantial but this is a small gripe in a disc boasting – as its parting shot – the duet 'As steals the morn', a performance with the fine Lucy Crowe at her most alluring.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
“Handel was one of the first Baroque composers to invest his talents in the tenor voice and here this unique English legacy is recalled. Through his shading, dynamic range and commitment to the text, Padmore seduces the listener.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2008
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