Handel’s Unsung Heroes

In the PENTATONE CD Handel’s Unsung Heroes, the instrumentalists of La Nuova Musica are placed on the same plane as the singers.

Three marvelous players – violinist Thomas Gould, oboist Leo Duarte and bassoonist Joe Qiu stand shoulder to shoulder with soprano Lucy Crowe, mezzo-soprano Christine Rice and countertenor Iestyn Davies in an array of nine arias, and shine in a variety of instrumental turns.

The three singers – countertenor Iestyn Davies, soprano Lucy Crowe, and mezzo-soprano Christine Rice are nothing short of spectacular: Iestyn Davies sets the bar high for peer countertenors, delivering two show-stopping arie di bravura from Rinaldo: Or la tromba in suon festante and Venti, turbini, prestate le vostre ali a questo pie.  

Mezzo-soprano Christine Rice’s lyric sound is perfect for Pena tiranna io sento al core from Amadigi di Gaula, ideal for Ariodante’s Scherza, Infida, and incomparable in Sta nell’Ircana pietrosa tana from Alcina.

Lucy Crowe’s dispenses warp-speed runs with aplomb and rides the high tessitura of Cleopatra’s arias from Giulio Cesare with ease, later producing a flute-like dulcet sound for Galatea’s Qui l’augel da pianta in pianta from Aci, Galatea e Polifemo.

Leading unobtrusively, accompanying the singers, and dominating the proceedings in the various instrumental passages David Bates is the ideal Handel conductor.

Rafael de Acha    ALL ABOUT THE ARTS