Texte paru dans: / Appeared in:

GRAMOPHONE (09/2020)
Pour s'abonner / Subscription information

Philarmonia Baroque Orchestra

 Code-barres / Barcode : 852188003171


Outil de traduction (Très approximatif)
Translator tool (Very approximate)

Reviewer: Richard Wigmore

Call me insular, but I’d not previously heard of Florida contralto Avery Amereau. I’m glad I have now. Her burnt umber tones – smoothly produced, never forced – are a pleasure in themselves. Beyond this, she brings to each of these Handel arias, mostly written for castrato, abundant musical intelligence and a specific sense of character.

Galatea’s ‘Benché tuoni’ from the early serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo gets this chronologically arranged recital off to a rollicking start. Egged on by Nicholas McGegan’s ever-responsive band, Amereau defies the raging Polifemo in a terrific show of vocal bravado, biting into the Italian consonants and careering effortlessly above the stave in the da capo. Her care for words pays dividends, too, in Rinaldo’s showpiece ‘Venti, turbini’, voice vying in furious agility with solo violin and bassoon, and in a swaggering ‘Con tromba guerriera’ from Silla, where singer and trumpet spur each other on to ever more extravagant coloratura flights. Another highlight is Zenobia’s invocation to the furies from Radamisto, the tone darkly glittering, the spitting double consonants (‘abisso’, ‘tiranno’) duly relished.

In grieving mode, Amereau spins an intense legato line in Ottone’s ‘Voi che udite’ from Agrippina – sung with musing inwardness – and Rinaldo’s ‘Cara sposa’, its webs of chromatic counterpoint beautifully realised by the Philharmonia’s strings. Subtly varying her vibrato, she can sometimes sound uncannily like a countertenor, as in Ceasar’s melancholy recitative ‘Dall’ondoso periglio’. Amereau then opens the following aria to the breezes with a perfect display of messa di voce – the finely controlled swelling and ebbing of tone essential to every self-respecting castrato’s armoury.

Both Silla arias here are welcome Handelian rarities, as are three contrasting solos for the hero of the magic opera Amadigi. Amereau precisely catches the mood and sense of each: the amorous teasing of ‘È si dolce’, playful without coyness; the mingled longing and resolve of ‘O rendetemi il mio bene’; and the hushed intimacy of ‘Sussurrate, onde vezzose’, softly coloured by recorders. Amereau sets the seal on a more than promising debut recital with a true and tender performance of Ruggiero’s ‘Verdi prati’ (Alcina), subtly shading the vocal line and delicately ornamenting the refrain on repeats. After griping at the inadequate documentation of so many Baroque recital discs, I can happily report that Philharmonia’s presentation is a model, with texts, clear translations and excellent notes by Bruce Lamott that tell you exactly what you need to know about each aria and its context.

Sélectionnez votre pays et votre devise en accédant au site de
Presto Classical
(Bouton en haut à droite)
Livraison mondiale

Pour acheter l'album
ou le télécharger

To purchase the CD
or to download it

Choose your country and curency
when reaching
Presto Classical
(Upper right corner of the page)
Worldwide delivery


Cliquez l'un ou l'autre bouton pour découvrir bien d'autres critiques de CD
 Click either button for many other reviews