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Opera & Vocal album by George Friedrich Handel, Harry Bicket, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Renee Fleming

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Renee Fleming...somewhat out of her depth

  • Oct 20, 2006
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 recording studio might not have been exactly right...a million things might have happened to dull this album's power. I have listened to this album a couple of times now, and I'll keep it in my collection, but this one is for the die-hard Renee Fleming fans.

[Decca /Universal 475 547-2]

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review by . September 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 …
About the reviewer
Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #33
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … 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
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Label: Decca
Genre: Opera & Vocal
Release Date: September 14, 2004
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