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Handel: Opera Arias / Piau, Bayo, Mingardo, Rousset, Sempe So


Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 30510   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sara MingardoGemma BertagnolliNicholas SearsDeborah York,   ... 
Conductor:  Rinaldo AlessandriniChristophe RoussetSkip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto ItalianoLes Talens LyriquesCapriccio Stravagante
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Included in this set:

Handel - Opera Seria / Sandrine Piau


This arguably is the best Handel aria recording ever made by a soprano, and that's acknowledging the fine efforts of singers such as Emma Kirkby and Renée Fleming, whose traversals of similar territory simply pale by comparison to the scintillating, virtuoso vocalism of Sandrine Piau. Beginning with the first of these 12 more-or-less rarely performed opera arias, Piau shows the difference between mortal accomplishment and
Read more super-human dominion over Handel's magnificent creations. The runs sparkle, the leaps land with pinpoint accuracy on every note, and the phrasing is executed with fiery dynamic impact, clear enunciation, and a forward drive that pulls us dancing along to a satisfying conclusion that we can only presume the composer would have relished. If you've heard Fleming's very solid, tonally full-bodied rendition of this "Scoglio d'immota fronte" (slower than Piau by nearly a half-minute), you're certainly impressed by her command of the music and its dramatic aspects, but next to Piau, her perfectly respectable performance is earthbound, abetted by a weighty orchestral accompaniment.


For Piau, Christope Rousset's Les Talens Lyriques is a spry, nimble, and very responsive orchestra that bends and breathes and bobs and weaves according to the soloist's every expressive utterance. And it's not only the fast and flashy singing that impresses--although there's enough of that here to satisfy everyone's appreciation for "show-off" material!; Piau also manages to convince us that she's a consummate interpreter by rendering the slower, more sensuous arias with equal aplomb and well-wrought characterization. The sound is ideal--and the orchestra's playing is every bit as exciting and vibrant as Piau's singing. Lovers of Handel opera must not miss these extraordinary, "disc of the year"-quality performances. C'est magnifique! [2/8/2005]

– David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com

Handel: Opera Arias and Cantatas / Maria Bayo

Maria Bayo’s 2000 recital of Handel arias and cantatas has now been re-issued as part of Naïve Baroque Voices. Bayo sings a selection of arias from Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo and Alcina along with the Italian cantata Tra le fiamme and the Spanish language cantata No se emendara jamas.

Bayo is accompanied by Skip Sempe and his Capriccio Stravagante, which guarantees lively and interesting accompaniment; though the size of the group is perhaps a little small for some of the operatic arias.

This singer has a rich, vivid voice and sings with liveliness, vivacity and accuracy; in many ways her singing on this disc is ideal. She comes over as a singer of great character who can bring drama through a fine musical performance.

In Cleopatra’s Da Tempeste, from Act 3 of Giulio Cesare, her performance is fast, crisp and very up front, her runs are fabulously clean and articulated. She gives the performance far more ‘welly’ than a singer like Valerie Masterson; her Cleopatra is obviously a creature to be reckoned with. That this can turn into a bit of a weakness is indicated by the second aria, Cleopatra’s V’adoro pupille from Act 2. Here Cleopatra is supposed to be seducing Cesar. Bayo’s singing is beautifully done but, for me, lacks the element of seduction; I have heard other singers bring a far greater element of soft allure to this aria. For all its musicality this performance lacks the necessary erotic element, though partial compensation is given by the lovely rich accompaniment.

Almirena’s Lascia ch’io pianga from Rinaldo is profoundly moving and Bayo sings the aria with a fabulous sense of line. This is followed by the popular Italian cantata, Tra le fiamme. There are many versions of this on disc, but I have no complaints from this bright, lively and vivid account; in fact it is almost ideal.

Cleopatra’s Se pieta, from Act 2 of Giulio Cesare is prefaced by its recitative which proves to be a strong decision. The singer’s approach to the recitative is beautifully characterised and full of drama; on this showing I wished that more recitative could have been included in the disc. The aria itself is presented with a lovely, very focused sound and bright, forward tone, with a few quieter moments. Her way with the aria is convincing and beautiful, but is rather more up-front than some accounts that I have heard.

The Spanish cantata No se emendara jamas is something of a Handel rarity, but the chamber cantatas from his time in Italy do reflect something of the polyglot nature of the salons of the Italian counts and cardinals who were the young Handel’s patrons. That the piece was deliberately Spanish in style is indicated by the delicate guitar accompaniment. Bayo and Capriccio Stravagante play this as real chamber music, which of course it is.

The CD booklet repeats the story about the cantata being a result of romance between Handel and a Spanish lady, but this is not born out by the facts. The cantata was written in Rome in 1707 and was probably written for Count Ruspoli, Handel’s Roman patron. Morgana’s Tornami a vagheggiar from Act 1 of Alcina is both brilliant and uplifting. Bayo follows this with 2 of Alcina’s arias from the same opera. These are beautifully done, but I get the sneaking suspicion that she is temperamentally more inclined towards the bad girls of Handelian opera seria.

In all these items, the singer is beautifully accompanied by the crisp, up-front playing of Skip Sempe and Capriccio Stravagante. It is a shame the space could not have been made for the group to play an item on their own.

This is a lovely recital and displays Bayo’s talents in this tricky repertoire. Her vocalisation in the Italian opera arias is nearly ideal, though temperamentally I think she might have been better off if rather more badly behaved sorceresses had been included on the disc.

– Robert Hugill, MusicWeb International

Handel: Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno / Alessandrini [2 CDs]

Il trionfo was Handel’s first oratorio. Composing the music in Rome in 1707, the young Saxon visitor took the chance to dazzle his Italian hosts. Despite a stodgy libretto (a debate between the allegorical figures Beauty, Pleasure, Time and Disillusion), Handel’s score fizzes with exuberance, imagination and a flamboyant embrace of Italian taste. All four singers have opportunities to display their bravura virtuosity, as do several of the instrumentalists – no small bonus when the first performance featured Corelli on violin and Handel himself on organ. But the real stars are the numerous exquisite arias, such as ‘Io sperai’, ‘Lascia la spina’ (which later became ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’ in Rinaldo) and the breathtaking ‘Tu del ciel ministro eletto.’

– Graham Lock, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1. Il trionfo del tempo e del disinganno, HWV 46a by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sara Mingardo (Alto), Gemma Bertagnolli (Soprano), Nicholas Sears (Baritone),
Deborah York (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707 
2. Scipione, HWV 20: Scoglio d'immota fronte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1726; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
3. Orlando, HWV 31: Verdi piante, erbette liete by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Claire Michon (Recorder), Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Michel Quagliozzi (Recorder)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Che sento? oh Dio! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 1 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Se pietà di me non senti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6. Partenope, HWV 27: L'amor ed il destin by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1730; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7. Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Ah! spietato by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Patrick Beaugiraud (Oboe)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1715; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8. Alessandro, HWV 21: Brilla nell' alma un non inteso ancor by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
9. Rodelinda, HWV 19: Ombre, piante, urne funeste by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jocelyn Daubigney (Flute), Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
10. Faramondo, HWV 39: Combattuta da due venti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 5 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
11. Tamerlano, HWV 18: Cor di padre, e cor d'amante by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 8 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
12. Deidamia, HWV 42: M'hai resa infelice by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1741; London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
13. Arianna in Creta, HWV 32: Son qual stanco by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Atsushi Sakai (Cello)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: London, England 
Date of Recording: 02/2004 
Venue:  Poissy Theater, France 
Length: 9 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
14. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Da tempeste il legno infranto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
15. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: V'adoro pupille by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
16. Rinaldo, HWV 7: Lascia ch'io pianga by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1711; London, England 
17. Tra le fiamme, HWV 170 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
18. Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Che sento? oh Dio! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
19. No se emenderá jamás, HWV 140 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707 
20. Alcina, HWV 34: Tornami a vagheggiar by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
21. Alcina, HWV 34: Si son quella! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 
22. Alcina, HWV 34: Mi restano le lagrime by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Maria Bayo (Soprano)
Conductor:  Skip Sempé
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Capriccio Stravagante
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1735; London, England 

Featured Sound Samples

Scipione: Act II: Scene 8: "Scoglia d'immota fronte" (Sandrine Piau)
Alessandro: Act III: Scene 3: "Brilla nell' alma un non inteso ancor" (Sandrine Piau)
Faramondo: Act II: Scene 8: "Combattuta da due venti" (Sandrine Piau)

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