Anna Prohaska / Jonathan Cohen / Arcangelo

Enchanted Forest

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The Baroque period covered 150 years, give or take a few, and programs covering much of the span are risky: few are the artists who can cover the multiplicity of styles with equal facility in each. German soprano Anna Prohaska comes to this release on the revived Archiv imprint with a very strong program: the enchanted forest is a realm of the supernatural that underlies many Baroque opera plots drawn from myth; it is an effective device for connecting arias across time, and it presents a refreshing change of pace from the usual heroic, romantic, or tragic fare. The orchestral accompaniment from the adequately sized historical-performance group Arcangelo is lively and clean. And in the lighter material from Italy and England in the 17th century, Prohaska succeeds in creating a charmed mood with a variety of vocal textures and timbres; the final Lamento della ninfa of Monteverdi is quiet and bewitching, and she is also an effective Purcell soprano. What stops one from recommending the release wholeheartedly is the group of arias by Handel (and one by Vivaldi), where Prohaska's agile but slender voice is forced into more muscular territory. The results are not unpleasant, but any number of other singers have more command over this material. Still, there's much to like here, and Prohaska has a combination of boldness and charisma that will attract many to this release.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
La Fida ninfa, RV 714
1 4:58
Giove in Argo, HWV A 14
2 6:20
The Fairy Queen, Z 629
3 1:02
Raise, raise the voice, Z 334
4 3:40
Apollo e Dafne (La Terra è Liberata), HWV 122
5 5:39
6 3:33
Timon of Athens, Z 632
7 2:39
Rinaldo, HWV 7
8 1:48
Alcina, HWV 34
9 4:41
The Fairy Queen, Z 629
10 0:59
11 7:45
12 4:50
13 3:43
Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne
14 10:39
Lamento della ninfa (Madrigali, Libro 8)
15 7:51
blue highlight denotes track pick