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HANDEL Arias: Ombra Cara (countertenor: Bejun Mehta; Freiburg Baroque/Jacobs)

Cd/Dvd Reviews - Classical Music | Opera

handel


Bejun Mehta, aria, Rene Jacobs, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra
Harmonia Mundi HMC902077

by Sarah Noble on March 29, 2011 (March 29, 2011) filed under Classical Music Opera | Comment Now
As good as it gets: Bejun Mehta is a countertenor to cherish.

Countertenor Bejun Mehta enters the increasingly crowded field of Handel recitals and triumphs with this engaging and exquisitely sung selection of arias and duets, many of them composed for the great castrato Senesino. 

Dark yet delicate in timbre, Mehta’s voice defies the common criticisms (or myths) surrounding the countertenor voice, displaying not only spectacular agility but a wealth of colour, superb dynamic control, and a steely strength which underpins the sheer loveliness of sound. 

But it is Mehta’s vocal acting which lifts this recital to another level. Be it in the exultant coloratura of Sento la gioia, the long, hushed lines of Stille amare or the militant staccati of Fammi combatere, Mehta teams technical brilliance with sensitive expressivity, capturing even the most broadly drawn Baroque emotions with touching sincerity. 

Collections of Handel arias are hardly thin on the ground these days – barely a month seems to pass without a few new additions to the discography – but Mehta’s rare combination of virtuosity and expressive acuity makes this recital one of the finest such releases in recent years.