In truth, though, Petibon is in a far more sensible mode since her signing to Deutsche Grammophon than in the heady days of her Virgin Classics contract. While fans of her kookier ventures might miss the hilarity of those recordings, it is heartening to see her artistry mature without losing its individuality. Petibon’s vocal idiosyncrasies, albeit toned down here, remain an acquired taste. She’s happy to whisper, shout, wail or giggle on (or off) pitch, and her gamine mannerisms can be a touch excessive, but this is all underpinned by rigorous musicianship and a vivid, spectacularly agile soprano.
Not surprisingly, she assails Handelian hits with panache, gaily tossing off fioritura and inventive, often stratospheric, ornaments in showpieces like Tornami a vagheggiar, while bringing pathos to Alcina’s lengthy lament, Ah, mio cor. Yet it is in the more obscure selections that Petibon really excels, whether sustaining the soft, languid lines of Scarlatti’s Caldo sangue or tripping her way through Sartorio’s Quando voglio, the jaunty jewel of an aria which opens the disc. Aided and abetted by the bright playing of the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon, Petibon has produced in Rosso further testament to her inimitable artistry. Devotees will delight in this selection, and fence-sitters may just find themselves being ever so slightly seduced.