Fabio Bonizzoni returns with his long-awaited new recording of Handel’s 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo'. Who better to team up with Bonizzoni, performing the role of the luckless shepherd Aci, than scintillating soprano Roberta Invernizzi. Her captivating contributions to Glossa's Handel series with La Risonanza as well as her 'I Viaggi di Faustina' have drawn powerful critical plaudits, including more than one disc of the Month. Handel’s virtuosic and ebullient score, written for a 1708 wedding whilst he was in Naples (Carlo Vitali sets the scene in his enjoyably discursive booklet essay) also summons Argentinean bass, Lisandro Abadie, to demonstrate an awe-inspiring range that well becomes the monstrous nature of Polifemo. He is joined by French mezzo Blandine Staskiewicz, admirably suited to portray Galatea’s plaintive charms.
Christopher Hogwood conducts the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a distinguished cast including Danielle de Niese and Charles Workman in Wayne McGregor's new production of Handel's opera in which The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet appear in a rare and beautifully crafted collaboration. Filmed with High Definition cameras and recorded in true surround sound.
This is not the English masque _Acis and Galathea_ but an earlier effort on the same story composed during the composer's youthful tour of Italy, described as a "serenade for three voices." It is deliciously scored, a perfect gem. All the parts work well–duets, ensembles, solos, and recitatives. It doesn't hold the stature of his later oratorio and operatic output, but it deserves equal renown for its pleasures are indisputable. With such refined yet expressive singing, you won't be disappointed to hear, in earlier guises, passages more familiar from Rinaldo and elsewhere.
“William Christie’s account on Erato is probably now a first recommendation… he has marshalled expert singers; Alan Ewing’s Polyphemus is particularly good, well characterized and spirited. Indeed, the whole performance is full of life and personality, and Christie holds everything together with finesse and grace.” (Penguin Guide) … “Christie has elected to give a ‘chamber version’ of the work, that is, with forces akin to those Handel used for his original Cannons performances: probably five singers and between seven and a dozen instrumentalists… it is a polished and strongly characterized performance, finely recorded, and is certainly the first we would urge anyone to try.”(Gramophone)
These are unquestionably some of the finest early violin sonatas (and what were at the time closely related forms), and this is an interpretation of magnificent stature. (Todd M. McComb, medieval.org, 2001)
Buonamente (1595-1642) is chiefly remembered for his string music, but according to Grove, he also wrote more than 160 sacred vocal works which are, for the most part, lost. Take heart, the string music is stunning and this recording does it a tremendous service. The sonate, canzoni and sinfonie are taken from two published editions, one from 1626 and the other from 1636. […] (Craig Zeichner, goldbergweb.com)