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American Record Guide: (07/2017) 
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Reviewer: John W. Barker

Here we have another album of Baroque opera arias assembled as a display vehicle for a relatively new singer. Most often it is from Handel’s operas that selections are taken, but here the works of Vivaldi are also represented.The selections by Handel come from the operas Ariodante, Rinaldo, Imeneo, Giulio Cesare, and Arianna in Creta. There is also a brief orchestral excerpt from his Lotario. On the Vivaldi side, there are arias from two serenatas, his La Fida Ninfa and Andromeda Liberata, plus three-movement orchestral sinfonias from the operas Armida al Campo d’Egitto and L’incoronazione di Dario.

Boulianne is a French-Canadian mezzosoprano who makes a very strong impression here. Her voice has a wide and evenly-defined spread. She is fully equal to virtuosic demands, but I find particularly appealing her warm and expressive treatment of slow arias. That is demonstrated handsomely in the familiar ‘Lascia ch’io Panga’ of Handel and ‘Alma Oppressa’ of Vivaldi—in fact, the album’s title. The accompaniments are supplied by Beausejour’s ensemble, whose name is deceptive. It consists, in fact, of ten string players, plus oboe and bassoon, with archlute and harpsichord (Beausejour himself). They acquit themselves handsomely in the nonvocal items.

I did find it interesting to have the theatrical work of these composers set side by side. It points up vividly the very different dramatic styles of the two composers—Vivaldi’s intense emotionalism against Handel’s more varied and probing characterization. The one fault here is that the booklet gives NO TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS, only tiny synopses of the individual arias—a shortcoming that hinders appreciation of Boulianne’s careful characterizations.


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