Handel’s finest arias for base voice ij

Christopher Purves, Arcangelo, Jonathan Cohen
77:11
hyperion CDA68152

Such was the success of the first volume of Handel arias made by this line-up that they have released a second, exploring both opera and oratorio and portraying virtually every human emotion. Purves’s wide-ranging baritone voice has a real presence to it, and – as Handel requires – he pulls off some seemingly effortless wide leaps, and navigates the coloratura without a hint of the bluster that typically accompanies this repertoire. Arcangelo go from strength to strength – their performance of op. 3 no. 4 bustles with energy and the solos (including the bassoon in an aria by Porpora that featured in Handel’s London pasticcio, Catone) are all neatly done. The star of the show, though, is that voice; be it angry or sad, happy or regretful, there is a range of colours and an evenness of quality that must be the envy of many singers.

Brian Clark

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