By now Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin has appeared on a couple of dozen recordings and she always impresses. Aside from some Mozart, Britten, Barber, and another composer or two, her repertoire has been solidly based in the Baroque. We’ve come a long way from the HIP sounds of Emma Kirkby and Judith Nelson—not that I’m criticizing or denigrating them—and Gauvin’s rich sound has nothing of the boy treble in it; it is a full lyric soprano. It isn’t merely that she sings with vibrato—she simply has vibrato that she will occasionally eschew for effect; it is her echt womanliness that comes across so vividly.
Except for Meleagro in Handel’s Atalanta, a male role written for sopranoRead more castrato, all of the arias on this CD are women’s roles. And “Care selve” from that opera has been sung by everyone, from Leontyne Price to Pavarotti, with Kiri Te Kanawa in between. This CD pays homage to Anna Maria Strada del Po, who sang works by Vivaldi and Vinci before moving to London and performing in no less than 24 of Handel’s operas beginning in 1729 and until 1737. (The composer was relieved not to have the “dueling divas” Cuzzoni and Bordoni to referee anymore.)
Strada was one of three singers for whom Handel wrote a high C. Her dramatic range must have been great as well: he created Alcina for her. On this CD, Gauvin sings three of Alcina’s arias: the wandering, picturesque “Ombre pallide”; the sad, introspective “Si son quella”; and the emotionally complicated, self-pitying, angry “Ah! mio cor”. For these alone, with all their mood swings and varying vocal styles and dynamic ranges, this CD is worth buying.
“Scherza il mar” from Lotario dazzles to start the program, and Elmira’s “Dite pace” (from Sosarme), with a helpless character questioning the heavens, is marvelous as well. In fact, each interpretation here takes on the character of the person and situation, a feat even more remarkable when you consider that Gauvin’s voice is not a complex instrument: it is silky-smooth and luscious. Her innate musicality and perfect pitch create the thrills. “Care selve”, correctly accompanied by continuo alone, is a gorgeous, long-lined poem. And what a trill!
There are three well-spaced and brief orchestral interludes included, with the Adagio from Handel’s Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 1 being the most stunning. And throughout, the Arion Orchestre Baroque, playing on period instruments under Alexander Weidman, is never less than ideal. This is a stunner.
Orlando, HWV 31: No, non potra by George Frideric Handel Performer:
Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Arion Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque Written: by 1733; London, England
Flavio, Rè di Longobardi, HWV 16: Da te partoby George Frideric Handel Performer:
Karina Gauvin (Soprano)
Arion Baroque Orchestra
Period: Baroque Written: by 1723; London, England
Lotario, HWV 26: Act I: Aria: Scherza in mar la navicella mentre ride aura seconda
Orlando, HWV 31: Act II: Non potra dirmi ingrata
Orlando, HWV 31: Act II: Verdi piante, erbette liete
Astianatte: Tortorella se rimira
Concerto Grosso in B flat major, Op. 3, No. 1, HWV 312: II. Largo
Sosarme, re di Media, HWV 30: Act I: Aria: Dite pace, e fulminate, crudi Cieli!
La verita in cimento, RV 739: Act II: Aria: Addio caro. Tu ben sai
Flavio, re di Longobardi, HWV 16: Act III: Da te parto: ma concedi
Lotario, HWV 26: Overture
Alcina, HWV 34: Act II: Aria: Ah! Ruggiero crudel
Alcina, HWV 34: Act II: Aria: Ombre pallide, lo so, mi udite
Alcina, HWV 34: Act I: Si, son quella!
Concerto Grosso in C minor, Op. 6, No. 8, HWV 326: II. Grave
Alcina, HWV 34: Act III: Aria: Ah! mio cor
Atalanta, HWV 35: Act I: Arioso: Care selve, ombre beate
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Diva doesn't disappointAugust 28, 2013By Jim D. See All My Reviews"I have no idea if Karina Gauvin is a prima donna in real life, but she plays one here to good effect. Her previous Handel disc focused on the oratorios; this time she sings arias from the operatic roles created by a single performer, Anna Maria Strada. Naturally, there's a lot of variety in the program, which opens with one of two 'storm' arias and ends with the lyrical "Care selve." Also on offer are two numbers from roles Strada created for other composers, including a flirtatious "Addio caro" in which Vivaldi's jaunty melody gives the lie to the words. Gauvin's voice is warm and appealing, though she can lighten it to whiz through the divisions. With Alexander Weimann at the helm of the Arion Orchestre Baroque again, the three orchestral tracks are well-played, but I think most listeners would prefer to have more of the singer, especially when she's this good. Texts, translations, and notes provided, as well as some fun photos of the diva."Report Abuse