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Handel: Opera Arias Vol 1 / Drew Minter


Release Date: 03/13/2001 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 3955183   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lowell GreerDrew Minter
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Senesino, or Francesco Bernardi (to give the man from Siena his true name), must have been a remarkable singer and a remarkable personality; no other of the singers for whom Handel wrote drew from him so much splendid music over so long a time. All the major heroic roles in Handel's operas from 1723 to 1733 were composed for Senesino, tailored to his voice and his manner. The present selection represents this repertory happily, with arias fiery and amorous, conspiratorial and deeply expressive. It is hard for us to know what Senesino's castrato voice actually sounded like, of course; the descriptions tell us something, but their terms assume standards and a base of experience to which it is not easy to relate. So if I say that Drew Minter's Read more voice does not seem to me quite right for some aspects of this music, I need to be a little guarded.

In the slow, expressive music he is quite convincing: the graceful Riccardo Primo aria, "Nube, che ii sole adombra", draws from him a sweetly lyrical vein of much eloquence, and the big Tolomeo scena, with its great accompanied recitative, is movingly done. Very fine, too, is the beautiful Sleep song from Orlando (with some graceful playing of the violette marine—violas d'amore, I imagine: this is not made clear). What I find lacking in Minter's voice is a really firm focus. The tone is sweet and smooth, but a little soft-centred. A stronger, harder core to the sound would animate the passagework and give the big heroic phrases the masculine strength they surely call for (and seem to have received from the evirati). I should like to hear this in the Giulio Cesare arias (the second, regrettably, is done without its prefatory accompanied recitative, one of the great moments in the opera), in the lively Rodelinda aria and certainly in Orlando's mad scene. His expressive range is accordingly limited. Well, one can't have everything, and I am grateful for Minter's musicality, his feeling for the style, his generally tasteful ornamentation—though sometimes, when in a da capo he shapes a phrase differently, he makes an orchestral echo a false one or offers a line that implies a harmony different from the one Handel provided.

Nicholas McGegan's baroque orchestra accompanies promptly and lightly—more lightly, I would guess, than Handel's much larger one— and with excellent style and ensemble. The recording is true and well balanced.

-- Stanley Sadie, Gramophone
reviewing the original release of this title

-------

Endowed with a beautiful voice, a fine technique, and sensitive musicality, Minter demonstrates the full scope of Handel's writing in the Italian style, from the brilliantly dramatic to the lyrically tender.

-- Stereo Review
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Works on This Recording

1.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Va tacito e nascosto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Lowell Greer (French Horn), Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
2.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Non è si vago e bello by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
3.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Vivi, Tiranno! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
Language: Italian 
4.
Tolomeo, HWV 25: Stille amare by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1728; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection shares the same track and timing with "Che più si tarda omai." 
5.
Riccardo Primo, HWV 23: Nube, che il sole adora by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Language: Italian 
6.
Flavio, Rè di Longobardi, HWV 16: Amor, nel mio penar by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1723; London, England 
Language: Italian 
7.
Orlando, HWV 31: Ah! Stigie larve!...Vaghe pupille by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Language: Italian 
8.
Orlando, HWV 31: Gia l'ebro mio ciglio by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with a recitative, "Già pre la man d'Orlando." 
9.
Orlando, HWV 31: Fammi combattere by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with a recitative, "T'ubbidirò, crudele." 
10.
Orlando, HWV 31: Cielo! Se il tuo consenti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1733; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with a recitative, "E'questa la mercede." 
11.
Tolomeo, HWV 25: Che piu si tarda omai by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1728; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection shares the same track and timing with "Stille amare." 
12.
Riccardo Primo, HWV 23: Agitato dal fiere tempeste by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Drew Minter (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas McGegan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Language: Italian 

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