The magnificent Christopher Purves performs a recital of Handel’s bass arias. This unique collection demonstrates the range and brilliance of Handel’s writing for this voice, featuring a selection from Italian and English operas, English classical drama, Biblical oratorios, literary odes and a masque. Handel’s endlessly imaginative gift for characterization is fully explored here, with Purves commanding an extraordinary emotional and technical range from the buffo blustering of Polyphemus in Acis and Gatalea to the loving musings of Abinoam in ‘Tears, such as tender fathers shed’ from the oratorio Deborah.
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.
Es ist üblich geworden, dass aufstrebende Countertenöre versuchen, mit dem Repertoire berühmter Kastraten des 18. Jahrhunderts auf sich aufmerksam zu machen. Der aus St. Petersburg stammende Dmitry Egorov hat sich dafür Nicolo Grimaldi alias Nicolini ausgesucht: ein Sänger, der seine Karriere als Sopranist unter Alessandro Scarlatti in Neapel startete und seine nachhaltigsten Erfolge als Altist und Hauptdarsteller in Händels Londoner Opern feierte…
Caffarelli, castrato assoluto, was a famed rival to the more famous Farinelli. Born Gaetano Majorano in Bitonto in 1710 - he was to die in Naples in 1783 - he studied with his rival’s teacher, Nicola Porpora. He travelled across Europe, singing in the most prestigious opera houses, earning huge amounts and behaving exceptionally badly. His one season in London in 1737-38 singing for Handel was, however, a resounding failure and it’s to the repertoire of the Naples School that this disc turns in order to present arias most associated with this most touchy, querulous and downright rude castrato of the eighteenth-century.
– Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International.
Naples in 1750 was one of the ten biggest cities in the world, and it spawned two of the biggest musical stars of the era: the castrati Farinelli and the much lesser known Caffarelli, whose real name was Gaetano Majorano. This release consists of arias written for Caffarelli, and you might treasure it for the flamboyant, high-volume singing of countertenor Franco Fagioli, who arguably comes as close as any of his contemporaries to conveying what the high-powered sound of the castrati was like (in the understandable absence of the genuine article).
‘Rivals’ - David Hansen’s debut recording for SONY / DHM explores and celebrates the music of Farinelli and his castrato rivals: Caffarelli, Carestini, Bernacchi and others. These singers dominated the stages of Europe and it was not always Farinelli who reigned supreme… David Hansen’s album features nine world premiere recordings. He is accompanied by Alessandro de Marchi and his orchestra Academia Montis Regalis.
Recorded at the famous Academia at Mondovì in Piemont with Alessandro de Marchi and the musicians of the prestigious Academia Montis Regalis, the choice of arias demonstrates the remarkable breadth of David Hansen’s phenomenal technique, his musical versatility and expression
Giovanni Battista Rubini (1794-1854) was the leading Italian tenor of his generation, during the time Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini were creating some of their greatest works, and all the selections on this album are from operas that were either written especially for him, or in which he performed. Rubini, who was hailed as "king of the tenors," worked most closely with Bellini, who wrote some of his greatest and most demanding tenor roles with his voice in mind. One of the strengths of Juan Diego Flórez's tribute to Rubini is the fact that he largely chooses excerpts from less familiar repertoire over the more famous and frequently performed operas. (Fans hoping for the high F in I Puritani's "Credeasi, misera," for instance, will have to look elsewhere.) In these selections, though, there are plenty of vocal fireworks on display, so the album is not likely to disappoint fans of coloratura bel canto. This early nineteenth century Italian repertoire suits Flórez's voice perfectly, so it makes good sense for him to pay tribute to Rubini's career.