Brava! Bravo! Bravo! Fleming and Handel and Bicket
Sep 28, 2004
Renee Fleming steps into this well-conceived recital of Handel arias in collaboration with Henry Bicket and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment with all the intelligence, sensitivity to text, and thoughtful re-enactment of the period sound of Handel that we have grown to expect of Fleming the recitalist. Her voice is in radiant bloom, pliable, supple, precise in the filigree, used with integrity to match the exemplary style and sound of the orchestra, and she has fulfilled the promise of her previous outings with Handel, proving that she is a vocal stylist in rarefied company. To list special passages in a review would entail mentioning every aria on the CD! Suffice it to say that this is singing of the highest order and no matter what previous concepts you might have as to how Baroque music should be performed, listening to this 10 Star CD will make you a believer of the Renee Fleming/Henry Bicket approach here exquisitely offered.
While it's not the most thrilling Renee Fleming album in the catalogue, her interpretations of Handel pieces is quite an accomplished feat, but when compared to her earlier efforts, rings hollow with it's lack of emotion. As other reviewers have noted, Ms Fleming does not sound like she is in complete grasp of the material, and her performance lacks any real depth or dramatic weight. Perhaps the pieces of Handel aren't completely flattering to her style, or the mood in the … more
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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Those who may have feared that Renée Fleming might approach Handel with a too-Romantic vocal attitude need not have; whether it's the leadership of the sympathetic, historically informed Harry Bicket, the sound of the spare but warm Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, plain good sense and musicianship, or any combination of these, here she offers sixteen arias in almost-impeccable Baroque fashion. I doubt whether sopranos of Handel's age had voices as plush as Ms Fleming's but she manages to keep her tone as light and as airy as possible in these selections, never leaning or swooping into an accompanying note in an "un-Baroque" manner, and the result is simply ravishing. The voice, of course, is almost unbelievably beautiful and agile, the technique impeccable, complete with a trill unmatchable in any soprano singing today. From the long-breathed lines of "O sleep why dost thou leave me" fromSemeleto the fireworks in Cleopatra's "Da tempeste ," with stops along the way at the famous "Ombra mai fu" and a complete rarity from the composer'sLotario, this CD is just breathtaking. Brava Fleming--and bravo Harry Bicket! Oh, yes--bravo Handel!--Robert Levine