Today is the Palio here in Siena. Your prayers for my survival of it are appreciated.
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A. Scholl, Il duello amoroso (Handel), Hélène Guilmette, Accademia Bizantina, Ottavio Dantone (released April 10, 2007)
Other Handel Discs Reviewed at Ionarts:
Cecilia Bartoli | Sarah Connolly
Natalie Dessay | Renée Fleming
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson
Sandrine Piau | Andreas Scholl
Angelika Kirchschlager | Vivica Genaux
The best piece on this recording is the little-known Nel dolce tempo, HWV 135b, from Handel's stay in Naples for the wedding celebrations of the Duke of Alvito in 1708. The Duke is cast here as a shepherd who falls in love with a beautiful nymph and is loved by her, which is not always the case in pastoral poetry. The first of two arias in this cantata, "Pastorella, coi bei lumi," is a fatally charming triple-meter love song, with exquisite ornamentation. Scholl is less attractive as the shepherd Daliso in the title work, Amarilli vezzosa (also known as Il duello amoroso, HWV 82), where the generally larger ensemble sound occasionally causes his voice to sound slightly forced. The violins of the Accademia Bizantina (Stefano Montanari and Fiorenza de Donatis) shine, as does the sharp, clear voice of the Canadian soprano Hélène Guilmette as the lover, Amarilli (particularly "Piacer che non si dona"). A melancholy trio sonata (op. 2, no. 1, in B minor), uniting Marcello Gatti's sweet flauto traverso and violin in the archetypal Baroque combination, rounds out this pleasing recording.
Harmonia Mundi HMC 901957