Stefanie Irányi / Michael Hofstetter / Hofkapelle München

Lamenti

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AllMusic Review by

Stefanie Irányi is an artist of the highest caliber, and her star is only likely to burn brighter. Accompanied by the Hofkapelle München under the baton of Michael Hofstetter, she is sure to delight Hasse, Haydn, and Handel fans alike, as well as introduce new listeners to this new album by a wonderful mezzo-soprano. One can hear from the first track that her voice, with a clean, pure, creamy sound, is capable of shaping phrases perfectly, as she sighs, speaks the text with crystal clear diction, and brings the music alive with great passion. The aria "Ah che dissi, infelice" by Hasse ends oddly, with a feeling of not being quite finished. Yet there is more good stuff to come: three more arias from Didone abbandonata. "Ah, non lasciarmi" is unbelievably graceful. The ensemble is elegant, sprightly, and light in "Son regina." The finale of this set is stunning: Irányi is so deeply into the emotion of the piece, sighing appealingly, throbbing with feeling. The music is so rich yet light; the chord changes are soul-soothing and they will move the listener. A selection from Haydn's cantata Arianna a Naxos follows, and it further shows off Irányi's talents. The rough-hewn, early music sound of the strings is appealing, as is the interplay between the ensemble and the voice. Irányi's dynamics are nuanced, such as when she sings, "Dove sei tu?" in "Teseo mio ben." The through-composed "Ah, che morir vorrei" begins with a graceful string introduction, but make no mistake: Irányi once again will make the listener ache and feel every emotion from the depths of her being. The Handel cantata Lucrezia is possibly the least interesting of the three sets, for it tends to sound a bit similar after a while, but that is not to say it is unappealing. Recitatives alternate with arias, some of which feature incredible melismas, such as "Il suol che preme" and "Questi la disperata anima mia." One can hear the rapid urgency and lilt to the ensemble in Il suol preme, and it is in this aria where one could dare to make a small criticism that Irányi's diction is a touch unclear. Overall, the experience of this album is absolutely engaging. Irányi carries the listener with her every feeling in a way that only the best artists do. Given the lack of a biography in the liner notes and (at the time of this 2011 release) no personal website, Irányi seems extremely modest. But that modesty belies prodigious gifts.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Didone Abbandonata
1 3:04
2 7:34
3 5:32
4 8:48
Ariana a Naxos
5 5:56
6 5:20
7 4:28
8 3:56
Lucrezia
9 0:57
10 5:00
11 1:03
12 3:21
13 0:43
14 0:39
15 3:05
16 1:06
17 0:51
18 1:07
blue highlight denotes track pick