Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Aci, Galatea E Polifemo, HWV72

Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Aci, Galatea E Polifemo, HWV72

Article excerpt

Handel Aci, Galatea e Polifemo, HWV72. Clori, Tirsi e Fileno, HWV96--Senza occhi e senza accenti  Roberta Invernizzi sop          Aci Blandine Staskiewicz mez    Galatea Lisandro Abadie bass       Polifemo 

La Risonanza / Fabio Bonizzoni hpd

Glossa (F) (2) GCD921515 (90' * DDD)

Bonizzoni directs Handel's Neapolitan Acis setting

While the English pastoral Acis and Galatea has long been a favourite, its Neapolitan counterpart of 1708 is still a Handelian rarity. Yet, as with so much of the music from his Italian sojourn, its colour, vitality and melodic allure confirm that the brilliant young Saxon had absorbed all that Italy had to offer him: in, say, the voluptuous melancholy of Galatea's opening solo, Aci's delicious 'birdsong' aria, or his dying lament, with its gende string dissonances (shades here of the 'De torrente' duet from Dixit Domimis). The Cyclops Polifemo is a more complex figure than his English equivalent, more grotesque, more tormented and inclined to bouts of solitary brooding. He inspired an extravagantly wide-ranging part full of monstrous leaps, above all in his aria about a bemused butterfly, 'Fra l'ombre e gli orrori' (later recycled in Sosarme), where at one point the voice plunges two and a half octaves from treble A flat to subterranean D--surely an all-time bass record!

Any new version of this enchanting Arcadian serenata has to compete with Emmanuelle Haim's superb Virgin recording with soloists Sandrine Piau, Sara Mingardo and Laurent Naouri. …

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