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Musique vocale (profane et sacrée) - Verschenen op 2 maart 2018 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
Giulia Frasi is best known to posterity for having given the first performances of the principal soprano parts in Handel’s last oratorios – all of them containing vivid scenes of sentimental and spiritual drama that depict suffering women reacting to extremely distressing events with courage, dignity, and selflessness. This album explores her speciality: playing characters whose emotional journeys are charted with affecting pathos. However, the thirty-one-year career that Frasi enjoyed in London was broader, more complicated, and richer than being merely Handel’s last prima donna. Retracing her music making in different environments – not only operas and oratorio concerts in theatres but also music in numerous other contexts – reveals a perfect microcosm of the cultural and stylistic diversity of musical life in mid-eighteenth-century Britain. It is a story that has seldom been told, and has never before been presented through a cross-section of Frasi’s musical repertoire. Reputedly trained in Milan and having made her operatic debutin Italy, Frasi came to Britain to join Lord Middlesex’s Italian opera company in 1742 – not long after Handel had decided to stop composing and performing operas on the London stage. Initially allocated minor roles but gradually rising in importance to the company, Frasi participated in at least fourteen opera seasons at the King’s Theatre on the Haymarket between November 1742 and 1761. Her early London appearances in 1743 prompted this recollection by Charles Burney in his General History of Music: Giulia ‘Frasi was at this time young, and interesting in person, with a sweet and clear voice, and a smooth and chaste style of singing, which, though, cold and unimpassioned, pleased natural ears, and escaped the censure of critics.’ Burney praised the fact that, having come to this country at an early period of her life, ‘she pronounced our language in singing in a more articulate and intelligible manner than the natives.’ It seems that Handel’s attention was attracted by her determination to sing articulately in English – which coincided with her increasing usefulness to the topsy-turvy Italian opera company – and an emerging knack for conveying musical pathos. Soprano Ruby Hughes, who has chosen a large variety of works, not only by Haendel but also from all of Frasi’s London repertoire, from Arne to Smith, won first Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition, and is also a former BBC New Generation Artist. She made her debut at Theater an der Wien with René Jacobs, She has sung major roles at the Buxton International Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, London Handel Festival, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, and Schwetzinger Festspiele, as well as at English National Opera, Garsington Opera, Scottish Opera among so many others. © SM/Qobuz
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Classique - Verschenen op 6 oktober 2017 | Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason
For this performance, Philippe Jaroussky has picked a bouquet of pieces from lesser-known operas. Siroe, Riccardo primo, Flavio, Tolomeo and many others, written for the London stage between 1715 and 1740. With his Artaserse ensemble, which Jaroussky considers to have been the place where he has been able to fully mature, over several years of playing concerts all over the world,  the counter-tenor also presents a reflection on the repertoire of the castrato. Because, since this little procedure was discontinued, the singers tackling these roles have been performing airs which were not written for us, and have to be adapted to us. Bearing in mind that when Haendel put on an opera with a different troupe, he didn't hesitate to re-work entire roles to adapt them to new singers; Jaroussky has taken it upon himself to do the same for some of these airs, which he knows are not suited to his type of voice, and for which original versions with the correct tones are not always available. Regardless, this is an excellent exploration of Haendel's rarities, with some virtuoso turns, and material running from the introverted to the narrative, the lyrical to the explosive. Note that Artaserse are playing without a conductor, Jaroussky leading from the front, with his voice. © SM/Qobuz
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Classique - Verschenen op 9 juni 2017 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - Gramophone Editor's Choice - Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik
One should not think that at the time when Handel was around, an opera was a finished product, etched in stone, the score of which was some kind of Holy Grail that would not suffer any tampering with, be it so benign. From that point of view, Handel’s Ottone is a case in point. Some extensive adjustments probably arose from Handel’s collaboration with the famous prima donna Francesca Cuzzoni, who had arrived in London in December 1722, but a fortnight before the first performance, and immediately threw a tantrum. Several of her arias she rejected and had had Handel substitute with entirely different new music. According to Mainwaring’s Memoirs of the Life of the Late George Frederic Handel (1760), having one day some words with Cuzzoni on her refusing to sing the aria Falsa imagine, the composer had shouted, in French: “I know very well that you are a veritable she-devil: but I will show you that I am Beelzebub the Chief of the Devils ” and with this he took her up by the waist, and, if she uttered another word, swore that he would fling her out of the window. This being said, many of the modifications he made during the rehearsal period had nothing to do with Cuzzoni. All in all, eleven arias and one duet were finished but then discarded and replaced before the first performance, and several other arias were considerably revised . It is impossible to determine which changes were instigated by Handel himself on artistic grounds and which were compromises in order to satisfy his singers’ whims and overblown egos. In addition to rejections, redrafts of scenes and wholesale substitutions by Handel during the opera’s composition and preparation, further amendments were also made during its first run . Moreover, he replaced and also added several extra arias for the twelfth performance, which took place on 26 March 1723 after a break of several weeks because of Lent. So: what does “the real” Ottone look like? This recording presents a reconstruction of the complete first performance version, but it also incorporates Handel’s expansions to two scenes reworked especially for Cuzzoni. As an appendix, there are three bonus tracks of new arias composed for the title-role in Handel’s 1726 revival, making it an Ottone as complete as possible. All this extra music will allow the listener to enjoy even more the great voices of the recording, to begin with the countertenor Max Cencic, but also the soprano Lauren Snouffer – who sings the part initially held by the infamous Cuzzoni –, accompanied by the ensemble Il pomo d’oro playing on period instruments and conducted by George Petrou. © SM/Qobuz
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Classique - Verschenen op 11 maart 2016 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica
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Classique - Verschenen op 1 september 2015 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
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Musique vocale sacrée - Verschenen op 24 oktober 2014 | Erato - Warner Classics

Hi-Res Booklet Onderscheidingen 5 de Diapason - 4 étoiles Classica