Sunday, 3 February 2013

Baroque Opera

Handel's opera Alessandro makes enjoyable listening, and the new recording from a Greek-based outfit conducted by George Petrou is excellent. No weak points in the singing, that I noticed. Of the two female rivals, Julia Lezhneva (Rossane) struck me as exceptional, with a voice that is attractive, accurate and that appears to mean what she is singing. Karina Gauvin is the other female; entirely reliable, but without the involvement of Lezhneva. As was the custom of the period, the two male roles, including Alexander the Great himself, are sung by modern castrati, not a voice to which I am partial. Alexander the Great hoots away in a high register and sounds very unmanly to modern ears.

The recording struck me as being exceptionally good, with excellent balance and a warm sound for the baroque band. Well done the sound engineers of Universal. Would they had been around for Joyce DiDonato's latest recital with Alan Curtis and his band. Built round the theme of “Drama Queens” we hear DiDonato in 13 different pieces, lamenting or raging. The music is attractive; the singing is full of conviction. The sound recording is over-bright and sounds a bit like 1980s early digital, with rasping violins and an unfortunate edge to the higher notes of both the soprano and the orchestra. The EMI engineers are no longer what they used to be in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

No comments: