Karina Gauvin

Handel: Arias

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Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin has assembled a generous selection of Handel's oratorio arias and dramatic scenes. She includes a healthy mix of the very familiar, such as arias from Messiah, "Where'er you walk" from Semele, "Let the bright seraphim" from Samson, and "Lascia chi'o pianga" from the opera Rinaldo, as well as a number of more obscure excerpts from the English oratorios. The music runs a range of emotions, from the deepest sorrow to fury to inward confidence and joy to triumphant effusion, and Gauvin's colorful voice and the subtlety of her dramatic gifts bring each of the selections fully to life. Gauvin is remarkable for her ability to spin out long, velvety lines, especially effective in the deeply felt laments. Her voice is focused and pure and can ring with clarion brilliance without losing its patina of warmth. Technically, she is above reproach, and she is fully in control in the most extravagant coloratura as well as the moments where her voice emerges almost imperceptibly out of silence. Her command of late Baroque ornamentation is sure and unmannered and seems to spring from her spontaneously. Alexander Weimann leads the nimble ensemble Tempo Rubato in a nuanced accompaniment. Atma's sound is pure and clear and beautifully balanced. An altogether lovely album.

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