Magazine article Opera Canada

Love Duets. (CDs)

Magazine article Opera Canada

Love Duets. (CDs)

Article excerpt

Handel

LeBlanc, Taylor. Arion, Stephen Stubbs, conductor. ATMA ACD2 2260. *****

We often think of the love duet as a 19th-century operatic device, but of course it is not. Nevertheless, I can't recall coining across another recording such as this one, devoted exclusively to romantic pairings from the Baroque. The music is delicious, and a lovelier pair of voices would be hard to imagine. Soprano Suzie LeBlanc and countertenor Daniel Taylor may well be the two finest singers of this type of repertoire in Canada. Their voices have a sameness of tone that helps them blend impeccably, they sing in sync in a rhythmic sense (with a minimum of flowery ornamentation) and they both exhibit a rare flexibility and transparency.

Cecilia Bartoli and American countertenor David Daniels have also recorded two of the Rinaldo extracts featured here ("Scherzano sul tuo volto" and "Lascia ch'io pianga"), in their complete recording of the opera with the Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood (Decca). While it is always difficult to fault Bartoli, who exhibits an amazing range and suppleness in her seemingly breathless lines, she is a more mainstream soprano than LeBlanc and is much heavier with the vibrato, more precious and diva-like. …

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