Mitologia: Scenes and Arias from Handel Operas

Reviewed on Fri 17 Feb, 2017

From Partenope comes 'Voglio Amare Insin Ch'Io Moro', her strong and possessive defence of the man she loves. No gentle love song, this, and Christiane Karg sings it with virtuoso coloratura glory.

DHM have assembled here a pleasingly varied collection of Handel arias. Track 4 is Semele's forceful – and, to her, fatal – aria 'No, I'll take no less'. This is very melismatic and sung with great skill by Christiane Karg, who later on (track 10) sings Cupid's light, lilting song from the same opera. The CD starts with the richly resonant tones of Romina Basso singing Calliope, followed by two tracks from Karg sung with great delicacy – all these three from Parnasso in festa. Very different is Dejanira's mad scene from Hercules, convincingly sung by Basso, with its many tempo changes and full of horror that she has unintentionally killed her husband. The beautiful oboe obligato emphasises the purity of Karg's tone when singing Dafne (track 6) from Apollo e Dafne. The enchanting love duet from Atalanta, 'Cara, Nel Tuo Bel Volto' (track 7), is quite different from the quarrelsome duet between Ariadne and Theseus (track 11) from Arianna in Creta, as is the amazingly complex and beautiful 'Non Più Barbaro Furore' (track 14) from Echeggiate. From Partenope comes 'Voglio Amare Insin Ch'Io Moro', her strong and possessive defence of the man she loves. No gentle love song, this, and Karg sings it with virtuoso coloratura glory. Many people think that coloratura is only for sopranos but Basso's deep voice gives a highly skilful display of this in track 13 from Echeggiate. Tracks 8 and 9 are instrumental music from Semele, giving one a further opportunity to appreciate the musicianship of (the late) Alan Curtis and his group, Il Complesso Barocco. A splendid anthology.
–Ruth Piatkus