Fabio Bonizzoni returns with his long-awaited new recording of Handel’s 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo'. Who better to team up with Bonizzoni, performing the role of the luckless shepherd Aci, than scintillating soprano Roberta Invernizzi. Her captivating contributions to Glossa's Handel series with La Risonanza as well as her 'I Viaggi di Faustina' have drawn powerful critical plaudits, including more than one disc of the Month. Handel’s virtuosic and ebullient score, written for a 1708 wedding whilst he was in Naples (Carlo Vitali sets the scene in his enjoyably discursive booklet essay) also summons Argentinean bass, Lisandro Abadie, to demonstrate an awe-inspiring range that well becomes the monstrous nature of Polifemo. He is joined by French mezzo Blandine Staskiewicz, admirably suited to portray Galatea’s plaintive charms.
This is not the English masque _Acis and Galathea_ but an earlier effort on the same story composed during the composer's youthful tour of Italy, described as a "serenade for three voices." It is deliciously scored, a perfect gem. All the parts work well–duets, ensembles, solos, and recitatives. It doesn't hold the stature of his later oratorio and operatic output, but it deserves equal renown for its pleasures are indisputable. With such refined yet expressive singing, you won't be disappointed to hear, in earlier guises, passages more familiar from Rinaldo and elsewhere.
Acis and Galatea (HWV 49) was originally a masque composed by George Frideric Händel. He first composed this piece while he was living at Cannons (the seat of James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos) during the summer of 1718. It is set to a libretto by John Gay, Alexander Pope, and John Hughes, who borrowed freely from John Dryden's English translation of Ovid published in 1717, The Story of Acis, Polyphemus and Galatea...
Nathalie Stutzmann made her debut in 1985, aged 20, so what we hear on this disc is a still very young singer. Her distinctive dark timbre and fluent technique were already her hallmarks. Best known, perhaps, as a concert singer, not least in French mélodies and German Lieder, she has also appeared in opera, including several Handel roles.
The magnificent Christopher Purves performs a recital of Handel’s bass arias. This unique collection demonstrates the range and brilliance of Handel’s writing for this voice, featuring a selection from Italian and English operas, English classical drama, Biblical oratorios, literary odes and a masque. Handel’s endlessly imaginative gift for characterization is fully explored here, with Purves commanding an extraordinary emotional and technical range from the buffo blustering of Polyphemus in Acis and Gatalea to the loving musings of Abinoam in ‘Tears, such as tender fathers shed’ from the oratorio Deborah.
Brilliant Classics continues its famous Composer Edition series with one of the giants of the Baroque, George Frideric Handel, the celebrated German who settled in London. Having absorbed the German and Italian styles of his time he formed his own distinctive musical language, which, while following the current fashions and audience preferences, retained his own deep humanity and inner power.