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About the Album

Ren‚ée Fleming ventures with supreme artistry into the virtuosic realm of Baroque repertoire. Handel is filled with arias from opera & oratorio that showcase the strength & suppleness of Fleming's voice as well as the depth of her musical gifts. This new recording features repertoire in Italian & in English including selections from Rodelinda. The conductor for the album is English baroque specialist Harry Bicket. The album was recorded with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Those who may have feared that Renée Fleming might approach Handel with a too-Romantic vocal attitude need not have; whether it's the leadership of the sympathetic, historically informed Harry Bicket, the sound of the spare but warm Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, plain good sense and musicianship, or any combination of these, here she offers sixteen arias in almost-impeccable Baroque fashion. I doubt whether sopranos of Handel's age had voices as plush as Ms Fleming's but she manages to keep her tone as light and as airy as possible in these selections, never leaning or swooping into an accompanying note in an "un-Baroque" manner, and the result is simply ravishing. The voice, of course, is almost unbelievably beautiful and agile, the technique impeccable, complete with a trill unmatchable in any soprano singing today. From the long-breathed lines of "O sleep why dost thou leave me" from Semele to the fireworks in Cleopatra's "Da tempeste…," with stops along the way at the famous "Ombra mai fu" and a complete rarity from the composer's Lotario, this CD is just breathtaking. Brava Fleming--and bravo Harry Bicket! Oh, yes--bravo Handel!

Robert Levine

Track List

  1. Oh Sleep, Why Dost Thou Leave Me? 3:18
  2. Endless Pleasure 3:17
  3. Scoglio D'Immota Fronte 5:29
  4. Quando Spieghi I Tuoi Tormenti 3:29
  5. Ombra Mai Fu 3:07
  6. To Fleeting Pleasures Make Your Court 1:36
  7. Lascia Ch'io Pianga 4:26
  8. Dunque, I Lacci D'un Volto...Ah! Crudel 7:46
  9. Let The Bright Seraphim 5:40
  10. V'adoro, Pupille 4:55
  11. Da Tempeste Il Legno Infranto 6:11
  12. Ritorna, Oh Caro E Dolce Mio Tesoro 5:10
  13. Sommo Rettor Del Cielo...D'una Torbida Sorgente 5:08
  14. Pensieri, Voi Mi Tormentate 5:16
  15. Bel Piacere E Godera Fido Amor! 1:45
  16. Calm Thou Soul...Convey Me To Some Peaceful Shore 3:40

Recording info

Release Date: September 14, 2004
Label: Decca
CD / Download: 1