Saul may not be Handel's most dramatically coherent oratorio, but it is full of moments of high drama, and this recording with Harry Christophers, leading the Sixteen and an outstanding group of soloists, does a terrific job of making those moments throb with vitality. The singers bring an operatic intensity to their roles. Baritone Christopher Purves is a grippingly anguished protagonist, and his voice has plenty of power and authority. Mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly's David is vocally exceptional, a model of dignity and warmth, and her dramatic performance is subtly modulated. As Saul's daughters Merab and Michal, Elizabeth Atherton and Joélle Harvey have clearly differentiated voices and each brings a focused, vibrant soprano to her character. Among the principals, only tenor Robert Murray as Jonathan is disappointing for the unevenness of his vocal production. The chorus of the Sixteen sings with great warmth and energy, and with their characteristic polish and euphonious blend. Christophers draws wonderfully colorful performances from the orchestra, which plays with elegance and style. Frances Kelly's harp solo is especially lovely, and in its dramatic context, deeply moving. The sound of the Coro CD is clean and realistically present.