Arias for Guadagni – Music by Handel, Hasse, John Christopher Smith, Arne, CPE Bach, Gluck and Gaetano Guadagni

Reviewed on Wed 30 Oct, 2013

The most famous castrato singers were rockstars of their era, and among the biggest names was Gaetano Guadagni (1728-1792). This recording gathers arias written or adapted for him by several composers including Handel and Gluck, showing how different composers utilized his particular strengths. Iestyn Davies sings with great nuance and attention to detail, elegant and effortless in style. The only slight weakness is that he does not always feel involved in the characters and emotions he is portraying, which means that some of the dramatic aspects are lost. But the musicality and technical performance are quite flawless, refined and controlled without ever feeling forced. This was only the second recording by Arcangelo, directed by Jonathan Cohen, and they are surely very much worth following. They communicate beautifully with the singer and also make an excellent showing of their own in CPE Bach’s imaginative symphony in D major.
–Stine Frimann