V2320. VIVICA GENAUX, w. Bernard Labadie Cond.Les Violons du Roy: Handel & Hasse Opera Arias. (E.U.) Virgin 45737, recorded Montréal, 2005. Final, ever-so-slightly used copy is accompanied by an elaborate 31pp. brochure w.full texts. - 724354573729
“The rich-voiced Alaskan mezzo Viovica Genaux sings music of Hasse and Handel, two German composers who wrote in what, for the sake of creating an umbrella, can be called perfect pre-Italian bel canto style. Genaux sings two selections from Handel's ORLANDO - one wild with coloratura and the other the eponymous hero's moody, difficult mad scene - one from ALCINA, and a cantata dating from 1711 that features fine writing for recorders. The lesser-known Hasse is represented by three arias from his opera ARMINIO and a cantata. Genaux leaps every hurdle the composers put in her way - seemingly endless runs, two-octave leaps, trills. Indeed, one is reminded more than once of Marilyn Horne, although Genaux's voice is prettier and not as grand. She can spin a long, quiet line with grace and breath to spare as well. Genaux's sound, like that of all great singers, is unique - in her case, her tone has a milky smoothness that sets her apart. This CD is for all admirers of truly great singing, and the rarities in the program give it extra value. Bernard Labadie leads the French-Canadian group Les Violons du Roy in performances that are rhythmically razor-sharp and thoroughly alive.”
- Robert Levine
“The music on this CD originally was performed by castratos, so an ‘authentic’ performance is impossible, except under extraordinary circumstances. Today, one can perform such repertoire in two different ways. One would be to assign it to biologically intact males – Baroque specialists, certainly – comfortable with the music's range. Visually and dramatically, this has validity: a man can sing a man's roles.
Vivica Genaux, a native of Alaska, makes a handsome hero, but there's no disputing that she's also an attractive woman. She is a specialist in the Baroque and bel canto repertoires…and yes, sometimes she even gets to play the role of a woman. (Her BARBIERE DI SIVIGLIA Rosina is one of her calling-card roles.) After receiving her undergraduate degree from Indiana University, she studied with Claudia Pinza, the daughter of the late basso Ezio Pinza.
Genaux's voice is fabulous. It is evenly produced throughout its range, and it never loses its character. Some listeners will be reminded of a young Marilyn Horne as they hear Genaux's singing….One could argue that Handel's and Hasse's heroines [heros]are stock figures anyway, and that it is less important to act with the voice in the Baroque repertoire than in bel canto….For the time being, we can enjoy the sound of the voice itself, and the technical skill with which Genaux uses it.
There is good support from Labadie and Les Violons du Roy, and Virgin's booklet contains texts and translations.”
- Raymond Tuttle, classical.net