The Power of Love: Arias from Handel Operas. Amanda Forsythe, soprano, with Apollo’s Fire, Jeannette Sorrell, conducting (Avie).
Start with the second track of this excellent survey of George Frideric Handel’s expertise in writing for the soprano voice and its realization through the supple vocal chords of Amanda Forsythe. “Geloso tormento,” from Almira, the 19-year-old composer’s first opera, shows how ravishingly Handel and Forsythe can depict both rage and lament in the course of a single aria. (The soprano stunned audiences with such vocal prowess in the role of Edilia in the same opera during the 2013 Boston Early Music Festival.)
Arias from nine operas are featured in this collection, plus four wildly contrasting orchestral movements from Terpsichore (Il Pastor fido) — a graceful chaconne, a skittering entrée depicting jealousy, a delightful air, and a ballo for recorders and violins. Those interludes give Forsythe a virtual breather between her exhausting representations of the many emotions of a soprano in love (now she’s like a butterfly hovering around a lamp, now she’s a calculating temptress, now she’s a cruel traitor, finally, she’s a shattered ship reaching safe harbor). [Read more…]