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Handel: Operatic Arias

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Audio CD, December 1, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

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David Daniels seems to be the current leader of the opera world's March of the Falsettos--and with good reason: he's one of the first countertenors with enough beef in his voice to sound convincing in the heroic castrato roles of Handel's operas. His first solo disc is a collection of arias from just those roles--and an impressive debut it is. Daniels has the solid coloratura technique a Handel singer needs and a quick, narrow vibrato that can blend with Baroque instruments without alienating traditional opera buffs. (In fact, he sometimes sounds surprisingly like Marilyn Horne, one of his coaches.) Best of all, he has a musicality and dramatic sense that save the laments and slow serenades from dullness and the bravura showpieces from empty virtuoso display. The performances aren't flawless: Norrington's tempos are occasionally too quick for comfort (Daniels's and the listener's), and Daniels's vibrato sometimes spreads unattractively at the top of his range. He's at his best in the low alto roles that Handel wrote for the great castrato Il Senesino, such as the title roles in Giulio Cesare and Orlando. Let's hope we get to hear him in complete recordings of these operas soon. --Matthew Westphal
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Product Details

  • Performer: David Daniels
  • Orchestra: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
  • Conductor: Roger Norrington
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (December 1, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Erato Disques
  • ASIN: B00000FDND
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,858 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Bowman has much too much of the flat English edge to his voice & Scholl is good, if not memorable. Asawa is, indeed, very good, but David Daniels is a truly great singer. His musicianship, technical mastery of the genre & sheer beauty of tone leaves one wanting more. I can only say further, that I look forward, with great anticipation, to his pairing with the exquisite soprano of Bejun Mehta in Giulio Cesare in Los Angeles in February of 2001 & to the release of his newly recorded Rinaldo.
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It is hard to imagine that there could be a finer recital disc of Handel's arias than this one reflecting the exquisite taste and powerful talent of David Daniels...unless of course, you count his splendid follow-up disc of Handel's lesser known oratorio arias released in 2002 (also strongly recommended). But the focus in this 1998 release is the rich music within six of Handel's best-known operas. Now nearly six years after its release, this recording not only holds up beautifully as an introduction to his prodigious talent, but also demonstrates his keen sense of adventure when his voice was at its most pure and unfettered.

Daniels' coloratura technique is amazingly seasoned even at this point of his career, and he approaches each aria in a singular fashion with that incredibly flexible legato that is literally breathtaking. Compare the impressive runs he employs on his rendition of "A dispitto" from "Tamerlano" to his seductive and sonorous tones on "Aure, deh, per pietà" from "Giulio Cesare in Egritto", and you get an idea of the range of emotion and technique of which Daniels is capable. Listening to the two arias from "Rodelinda" will make you recognize how over the course of twelve minutes, he has shown the two distinct sides of Bertarido - the mournful, dejected husband who goes unrecognized in "Pompe van di morte...Dove Sei?" and his enemy's savior at the end with "Vivi, tiranno".

The two arias from "Rinaldo", are also beautifully performed. Six years later, one can appreciate these versions within the context of Daniels' career, as he later recorded the title role in the famous 2000 recital recording of the opera with Cecilia Bartoli and yet again in the 2001 David Alden staging of the opera captured recently on DVD.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard Daniels at a performance of Messiah in DC. I ran backstage afterwards to meet this truly exceptional alto who had brought tears to my eyes with his performance. I was also fortunate enough to hear his DC recital and see him in Giulio Cesare at the Met, so I am comfortable in saying that he sounds as good in person as he does on this recording. It is rare for a male alto to be able to bring such expressiveness to his performances. His technique is secure and his singing of, for example, "scherza infida" is simply exceptional. I hope that we get an opportunity to hear him on some full-length operas very soon.
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Format: Audio CD
WOW! This CD is absolutely great. I heard of David Daniels performance of Handel arias, I had also heard it from friends that had already bought it for themselves. When I first heard the first few bars of "Frondi Tenere", I had already knew from that point on, this man would be our "Modern Senesino". Although Senesino never sang "Serse" , I knew it was right. On the Famous "Largo" of Serse, he sang each bar with graceness. On the "Gulio Cesare" he really sounded like Juluis Ceaser talking of his different emotions. His voice is as if he were actually performing the opera live. In the "Tamerlano" aria, he handled the short but very difficult aria, and the "Ariodante". I swear to god, that he is our "Modern Senesino". He sang the "Scherza Infida" beautifully and with such grace. The "Rodelinda" arias, were beautiful, and well sung, he really brings out the betrayed Bertarido, and sings the "Vivi Tiranno" well. And the "Rinaldo" arias, which he has a complete recording of the opera, is sublime, he lays out each note in the "Cara Sposa" carefully and does it with almost a "parlando" kind of singing, but still maintaing his the "dolce" marks in the "Cara Sposa". The only regret is that Daniels sounds weird in the "Venti Turbini" he sounds maybe too "cupo". Overall a great recording, the orchestra is also good, Sir Roger Norrington is good at conducting the orchestra. Great recording. I hope that "Senesino" records another Handel opera. Buy this!!!!!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
I happened to run across this page to listen to samples and was so impressed I had to purchase the CD immediately. David truly sings with energy, feeling and conviction for his art. Truly an amazing instrument. Here he displays all the many colors one must have to impart such beautiful music that only Handel could compose. I have almost all of his CD's and find more enjoyment listening to him sing these handel arias than hearing the great voices of Patti, Ponselle, Steber, Sutherland, Fleming, etc.!!! I recommend this CD to any "Handelian" (or novice of this great music) for exquisite singing that no countertenor has been able to achieve until now.
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