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Handel: Oninto Pastore / Bonizzoni, Invernizzi, Fernandez, Basso

Handel / Invernizzi / Basso / Risonanza
Release Date: 12/08/2009 
Label:  Glossa   Catalog #: 921526  
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Yetzabel Arias FernandezRoberta InvernizziRomina Basso
Conductor:  Fabio Bonizzoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Risonanza
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

How do you turn emblematic poetry into riveting drama? Get Handel to set the words to music. This was the inspiration of Cardinal Ruspoli, who was Handel’s main host during the composer’s Rome residency. With Handel under his roof, Ruspoli could mount a cantata that was spellbinding, even as he flattered Pope Clement XI with sycophantic allegory.

In his treatment of Olinto pastore and its two companion cantatas, Handel seems to revel in the challenge their often creaking verses posed to his genius for distilling poetry’s emotional essence into music. No wonder he re-used so many of these arias in his operas.

To astonish his peers, Ruspoli would have needed fabulous performers, and this disc offers us the first
Read more modern equivalent of the glittering talent he hired – Denys Darlow’s earlier recording of this music (on Helios) sounds stuffy by comparison. Passionate as well as poetic, Fabio Bonizzoni’s interpretation draws us irresistibly into Handel’s affective states.

The vocalists and the band are of the same high standard. Among the former, Roberta Invernizzi commands a dazzling upper range and tosses off demanding coloratura passages with careless ease, Romina Basso’s rich range of colours reminds us why Baroque audiences preferred the castrato alto over the tenor voice, and the warmth of mezzo-soprano’s Yetzabel Arias Fernández’s delivery brings depth to her lyric passages.

Solo instrumentalists stand out as much as do solo vocalists, and their ensemble is flawless. The slightly dry acoustic and superb engineering allows players to dominate in turn, in keeping with Handel’s conception. This is music as it should be for the chamber, where subtlety can be the most powerful expressive means.

Performance: 5 (out of 5), Sound: 5 (out of 5)

-- Berta Joncus, BBC Music Magazine
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Works on This Recording

1. O! come chiare e belle, HWV 143 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Yetzabel Arias Fernandez (Soprano), Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano), Romina Basso (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Fabio Bonizzoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Risonanza
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1708; Italy 
2. Amarilli vezzosa, HWV 82 "Il duello amoroso" by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Yetzabel Arias Fernandez (Soprano), Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano), Romina Basso (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Fabio Bonizzoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Risonanza
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1708; Italy 
3. Alpestre monte, HWV 81 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Yetzabel Arias Fernandez (Soprano), Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano), Romina Basso (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Fabio Bonizzoni
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Risonanza
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

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