Norman Lebrecht on Handel Alcina & Orlando
William Christie and Les Arts Florissants
Norman Lebrecht writing in:
Wednesday 21 May 2008
Handel: Alcina, Orlando -- Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
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"Name me a hotter cast for any Handel opera in a century of recording than Renée Fleming, Susan Graham and Natalie Dessay – and that’s just the women. This Alcina, first released in 1999 and reboxed here with an attractive account of Orlando, is quite irresistible. The voices come at you in Alcina like a burst of fireworks, one aria after another. Fleming is more flexible than her present diva image permits, Graham is luxuriant and Dessay steals the show time after time with eruptive vivacity and breath-stopping risks. Orlando has mezzo Patricia Bardon in the male title role, opposite love-interest Rosemary Joshua, nicely matched. Conductor Christie shapes both narratives with deft discretion and smiling tempi. Emmanuelle Haïm plays the continuo. Who could ask for anything more?"