Arion Baroque Orchestra
Suzie LeBlanc : Soprano
Daniel Taylor : Alto / Countertenor
Stephen Stubbs : Direction, Luth, Baroque Guitare
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
For most of his life, Handel was primarily an opera composer. Although he is mostly remembered today for his oratorios, which as a dramatic stage form occupied him exclusively from 1741 till the end of his life, he composed over 40 operas, starting in Hamburg in 1705, then in Italy, and finally in London. Within the restricted forms of the Baroque aria, the music of these operas often attain the pinnacle of dramatic expression, and this is particularly true of the love duets, the main focus of this recording. These duets, most of which were originally sung by the celebrated soprano Cuzzoni and alto castrato Senesino, are brought to passionate life here by the contemporary fiery pair of Suzie LeBlanc and Daniel Taylor.
|RINALDO HWV 7a|
|1. Scherzano sul tuo volto Almirena, Rinaldo||3 :34|
|2. Prélude (Presto)||0 :56|
|3. Cara sposa Rinaldo||8 :32|
|4. Lascia ch’io pianga Almirena||4 :30|
|GIULIO CESARE HWV 17|
|5. Caro! Bella! Cleopatra, Cesare||4 :47|
|OUVERTURE HWV 337|
|6. Largo||1 :16|
|7. Adagio *||2 :08|
|8. Allegro||1 :48|
|TOLOMEO HWV 25|
|9. Se il cor ti perde Seleuce, Tolomeo||5 :40|
|RODELINDA HWV 19|
|10. Ombre, piante * Rodelinda||5 :31|
|11. Io t’abbraccio Rodelinda, Bertarido||6 :21|
|GIULIO CESARE HWV 17|
|12. Ouverture||2 :51|
|13. Da tempeste Cleopatra||6 :15|
|SERSE HWV 40|
|14. Ombra mai fù||2 :53|
* also featuring Claire Guimond , flute.
Arion is a Montreal-based baroque orchestra performing on period instruments. The ensemble was founded in 1981 by flautist Claire Guimond, violinist Chantal Rémillard, gambist Betsy MacMillan and harpsichordist Hank Knox. Claire Guimond has been Arion’s artistic director ever since its first concerts.
From the outset, Arion’s concerts were unanimously hailed for their clarity and gusto as well as their refined and expressive performances, chosen from a vast array of early music works. A meticulous attention to detail has placed Arion’s artistic achievements amongst those of the greatest current early music ensembles.
The orchestra calls upon world-renowned guest conductors to perform vocal and instrumental works in its high-profile series of concerts in Montreal. They include Barthold Kuijken, Monica Huggett, Jaap ter Linden, Daniel Cuiller and Elizabeth Wallfisch.
A recipient of numerous awards and grants, Arion has toured extensively throughout Canada, Europe, Mexico, the United States and Japan.
Arion’s discography features 25 CDs, distributed internationally both as a quartet and in a larger setting with the collaboration of such fine artists as sopranos Agnès Mellon and Suzie LeBlanc, mezzo Kimberly Barber, countertenors Matthew White and Daniel Taylor, baritone Max van Egmond, violinist and conductor Monica Huggett, Barthold Kuijken and Jaap ter Linden, as well as several talented baroque soloists.
Arion is a member of early-music.com, a site committed to the promotion of some of the world’s finest early music artists.