WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

La Diva - Handel Arias For Cuzzoni / Simone Kermes

Handel / Kermes / Lautten Compagney / Katschner
Release Date: 04/14/2009 
Label:  Berlin Classics   Catalog #: 16422  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

German soprano Simone Kermes has earned plaudits for her athletic renditions of Baroque opera arias, and here she takes on some of the most strenuous of them all: arias composed by George Frederick Handel for Francesca Cuzzoni. This Italian diva (the album title La Diva seems to refer both to her and to Kermes) joined London's Royal Academy of Music opera company in 1718, and then, when Handel became the city's hottest composer of Italian opera, spent several years singing the most difficult parts he could devise. The relationship was apparently a stormy one at times, with Handel at one point threatening to throw the soprano out a window if she didn't cooperate. Cuzzoni's fame is attested to by the sheer volume of stories about her that Read more have come down to the present time. One of the most famous of these stories had Cuzzoni duking it out on-stage with a rival diva, Faustina Bordoni; that one is now thought to be a fabrication, but it shows the passions Cuzzoni stirred up in her own time. From Kermes' readings it may be a bit hard to figure out exactly why people got so worked up, but these arias are a perfect match for her skills. Perhaps Cuzzoni and Bordoni were one of those classic technician-actress pairs (there is, of course, no way to know). Kermes is a precise technician. Her voice remains not only on pitch but downright beautiful over all the extremes of range and embellishment these arias contain, and her pianissimo (hear the middle of the aria "Piangerò," from Giulio Cesare, for one of several examples that must bring live crowds to their feet at the end) is extraordinary. In pure emotion-laden melody such as that of the famed "V'adoro pupille" from the same opera, Kermes is not quite as convincing. But there are more discoveries than chestnuts here, notably the series of marvelous arias from the less-familiar Siroe, and there are even a couple of world premieres of early versions of arias from Rodelina. These might have been interesting to pair with the later versions, perhaps as bonus tracks. But the presentation in general is both entertaining and intelligent, with booklet notes and translations of the Italian texts in both German and English. Berlin Classics' studio sound is superbly clear.

-- James Manheim, All Music Guide
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Scipione, HWV 20: Scoglio d'immota fronte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1726; London, England 
2.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: V'adoro pupille by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
3.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Piangerò la sorte mia by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
4.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Se pietà di me non senti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
5.
Alessandro, HWV 21: No, più soffrir non voglio by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; London, England 
6.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Ombre, piante, urne funeste by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
7.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Ahi perché, giusto ciel by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
8.
Siroe, Rè di Persia, HWV 24: Or mi perdo di speranza by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
9.
Siroe, Rè di Persia, HWV 24: Mi lagnerò tacendo by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
10.
Siroe, Rè di Persia, HWV 24: Torrente cresciuto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
11.
Tolomeo, HWV 25: E dove, e dove mai...Fonti amiche by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1728; London, England 
12.
Flavio, Rè di Longobardi, HWV 16: Amante stravagante by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; London, England 
13.
Riccardo Primo, HWV 23: Morte vieni by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Simone Kermes (Soprano)
Conductor:  Wolfgang Katschner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lautten Compagney
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 

Featured Sound Samples

Scipione: "Scoglio d'immota fronte"
Giulio Cesare: "Piangerò la sorte mia"

Sound Samples

Scipione, HWV 20: Scipione Rolli, HWV 20, Act II: Scoglio d'immota fronte
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17*: Act II: Aria: V'adoro, pupille
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17*: Act III: Piangero la sorte mia
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17*: Act II: Se pieta di me non senti
Alessandro, HWV 21: Act I: No, piu soffrir non voglio
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Act I: Ombre piante, urne funeste
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Act III: Ahi perche, giusto ciel
Siroe, re di Persia, HWV 24: Act II: Or mi perdo di speranza
Siroe, re di Persia, HWV 24: Act II: Mi lagnero tacendo
Siroe, re di Persia, HWV 24: Act III: Torrente cresciuto
Tolomeo, HWV 25: Act I: Fonti amiche
Flavio, re di Longobardi, HWV 16: Act I: Amante stravagante
Riccardo Primo, HWV 23: Riccardo Primo, Act III: Morte vieni
Admeto, HWV 22: Io ti bacio

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In