Reviewed on Mon 22 Feb, 2016
Elizabeth Watts here takes on some little-known repertoire by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725), whose vast output provides the soloist with ample occasion for some exuberant vocal acrobatics.
Much-lauded soprano Elizabeth Watts here takes on some little-known repertoire by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) – not the harpsichordist, but his dad – whose vast output of vocal works (he laid claim to over a hundred operas alone) provides the soloist with ample occasion for some exuberant vocal acrobatics. But the more florid moments (which, let’s be honest, can get a little wearing after a while) are nicely counterbalanced by, for example, the gorgeous and very Handelian pastoral 'Nacque, col Gran Messia' from the Christmas cantata Non so qual piu m’ingombra. Trumpeter Mark Bennett joins the singer occasionally, most effectively in the martial A battaglia, where soprano and brass battle it out for the virtuoso honours, while violinist Huw Daniel also vies for attention in an extended sequence from the serious opera Mitridate. But the album, of course, belongs to Watts, who receives nothing but the most sympathetic support from Laurence Cummings and The English Concert.