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Handel: Arias / Villazón, McCreesh, Gabrieli Players


Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 001257402   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando VillazónJean GadoulletRebecca BottoneChristopher Suckling,   ... 
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Also available in a deluxe edition with a bonus DVD.



Zany, invigorating, splendid – even purists will find Villazón rewarding

Villazón in this repertoire may come as a surprise to some, though surely not to followers of the rapidly rising tenor. He has dipped his toe successfully into Baroque waters before and here he brings that same sense of passionate commitment, while the voice is still supple enough at this stage of his career to, er, handle Handel’s demands. Will it remain so? Domingo has just done Tamerlano, so who knows?

-- Gramophone [5/2009]
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HANDEL Arias & Rolando Villazón (ten); Paul McCreesh, cond; Gabrieli Players (period instruments) DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 477 8057 (59:27 Text and Translation)


Ariodante: Scherza, infida; Dopo notte. La resurrezione: Così la tortorella; Caro figlio! Rodelinda: Fatto inferno . . . Pastorello d’un povero armento. Serse: Frondi tenere e belle . . . Ombra mai fu; Più che penso; Crude furie. Tamerlano: Ciel e terra; Oh, per me lieto . . . Figlia mia . . . Tu, spietato


& DVD: Villazón and McCreesh interviews; three arias; picture gallery; Villazón discography


I approached this release with several misgivings about Villazón’s ability to do justice to these works, especially the ones transposed down, and wondered if he had sufficiently recovered from the vocal problems he experienced in 2007. I am pleasantly surprised by what I hear on this disc.


Villazón’s best work, as one might expect, is in the arias Handel wrote for the tenor voice. The two arias from La resurrezione are gentle and less demanding than the rest of the recital, and Villazón sings them quite well. The same is true of Grimoaldo’s aria from Rodelinda . The music lies easily on Villazón’s voice and the florid music is performed cleanly and clearly. In the two selections from Tamerlano , Villazón makes the most of the opportunities Handel gives him. He is all defiance in Bajazet’s first-act aria “Ciel e terra,” and the florid music presents no difficulties to him. Even more impressive is Bajazet’s death scene from the end of act III. Villazón is very dramatic in the shifting moods of the scene, and we hear the effects of the poison Bajazet has taken as he nears death.


The arias from Serse and Ariodante were written for mezzo-soprano castrato and are transposed down. Here, the results are a little uneven. Most successful are “Ombra mai fu” and “Più che penso” from Serse and “Scherza, infida” from Ariodante . All three arias are moderate in tempo and not as elaborate in coloratura, and Villazón sings these very well. In “Crude furie” from Serse , Villazón’s singing is a bit choppy, the coloratura not as smoothly executed. He is surprisingly good in the elaborate music of “Dopo notte” from Ariodante , although the runs in the B section of the aria are not smoothly sung.


Villazón and McCreesh state that they decided to include the transposed arias because there are few outstanding tenor arias in Handel’s operas. However, they need not have limited themselves to the operas; the oratorios would have supplied a wealth of material. McCreesh justifies the transpositions by saying that this was done all the time in Handel’s day. But McCreesh surely knows that Handel never simply transposed an aria from a high to a low voice; he always rewrote the music to make it fit the new vocal range. Still, one cannot argue with success, and in this case the results mostly justify the attempt.


This recital is being sold in two forms: the traditional jewel box containing the CD, and a limited deluxe edition in a hardbound book with a bonus DVD. The material on the bonus DVD is not really worth the extra expense. We get very short interviews with Villazón and McCreesh, performances of three of the arias contained on the CD, a picture gallery containing all of the pictures in the hardbound book, and a Villazón discography.


Purchasers of this recording will be rewarded with some very good singing. Villazón has expressed an interest in starring in a staged production of Tamerlano . I hope he gets the opportunity.


FANFARE: Ron Salemi
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tamerlano, HWV 18: Ciel e terra armi di sdegno by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1724; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
2.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Fatto inferno by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
3.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Pastorello d'un povero armento by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
4.
Serse, HWV 40: Frondi tenere e belle by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 0 Minutes 42 Secs. 
5.
Serse, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu "Largo" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
6.
Serse, HWV 40: Più che penso alle fiamme del core by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 52 Secs. 
7.
Serse, HWV 40: Crude furie degl'orridi abissi by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1738; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
8.
Ariodante, HWV 33: Scherza infida, in grembo al drudo by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; London, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 43 Secs. 
9.
Ariodante, HWV 33: Dopo notte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1734-1735; London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 42 Secs. 
10.
Tamerlano, HWV 18: Oh per me lieto, avventuroso giorno! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jean Gadoullet (Countertenor), Rebecca Bottone (Soprano), Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1724; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
11.
Tamerlano, HWV 18: Figlia mia by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1724; London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
12.
Tamerlano, HWV 18: Tu, spietato, il vedrai by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1724; London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 24 Secs. 
13.
La resurrezione, HWV 47: Cosí la tortorella by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Christopher Suckling (Cello), Robert Howarth (Harpsichord)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 19 Secs. 
14.
La resurrezione, HWV 47: Caro figlio by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Robert Howarth (Harpsichord), Rolando Villazón (Tenor), Christopher Suckling (Cello)
Conductor:  Paul McCreesh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gabrieli Players
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 34 Secs. 

Featured Sound Samples

Rodelinda: "Pastorello d'un povero armento"
Ariodante: "Dopo notte"
Serse: "Più che penso alle fiamme del core"

Sound Samples

Tamerlano HWV 17 - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 1: Aria: Ciel e terra armi di sdegno
Rodelinda - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 3: Accompagnato: Fatto inferno
Rodelinda - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 3: Aria: Pastorello d'un povero armento
Serse - Performance Edtion by King's Music / Act 1: Accompagnato: Frondi tenere
Serse - Performance Edtion by King's Music / Act 1: Arioso: Ombra mai fù
Serse - Performance Edtion by King's Music / Act 1: Aria: Più che penso alle fiamme del core
Serse - Performance Edtion by King's Music / Act 3: Aria: Crude furie degl' orridi
Ariodante HWV 33 - Performance Edition by Matthias Spindler / Act 2: Aria: Scherza infida in grembo al drudo
Ariodante HWV 33 - Performance Edition by Matthias Spindler / Act 3: Aria: Dopo notte, atra e funesta
Tamerlano HWV 17 - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 3: Rec.: Oh, perme lieto - Accompagnato e Rec.: Fremi, minaccia
Tamerlano HWV 17 - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 3: Arioso: Figlia mia
Tamerlano HWV 17 - Performance Edition by Benjamin Bayl & Paul McCreesh / Act 3: Accompagnato: Tu, spietato, il vedrai
La Resurrezione (1708) / Parte Prima: Aria: "Così la tortorella" (S. Giovanni)
La Resurrezione (1708) / Parte Seconda: Aria: "Caro Figlio!" (S. Giovanni)

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