Furore: Handel Opera Arias

The past few years have been a boom time for fans of Handel?s glorious vocal music. The energetic Handel revival continues this year (the 250th anniversary of the composer?s death) with Furore, a new release on Virgin Classics by the superb mezzo soprano Joyce DiDonato. She is accompanied on her tumultuous journey through the travails of vengeful Handelian heroes and heroines by Les Talens Lyriques -- an excellent baroque orchestra conducted by Christophe Rousset -- whose fiery, impeccable playing compliments DiDonato?s rich, voluptuous voice, rapid-fire coloratura and expressive use of messa di voce. DiDonato?s anguish in these arias of heartbreak and betrayal is so palpable that you might wonder if she needed a therapist after such an outpouring of grief. The fourteen selections include a passionate rendition of "Ira, sdegni, et furore?O stringeró nel sen," Medea?s jealous lament from Teseo. DiDonato also illuminates Alceste?s bitter envy in "Gelosia, spietata Aletto" from Admeto. Her voice -- with its bright and powerful high notes and dark lower range -- cascades effortlessly through runs of coloratura flourishes. Other selections include "Hence, Iris hence away" and "Scherza infida" from Ariodante. DiDonato poignantly expresses a muted grief in Dejanira?s "There in myrtle shades reclined," one of several arias from Hercules on the disc. The shelves of Handel lovers might already be crammed with recent discs by Vivica Genaux, Danielle de Niese, and the remarkable mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson but DiDonato?s contribution deserves a place of honor.

July 26: On this day in 1602 "A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett Prince Denmarke" was entered in the Stationers' Register by printer James Robertes.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

advertisement
Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.

Pastoral

When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).