A disc of Handel opera arias from Roberta Invernizzi is remarkable in its own right because it breaks new ground for the Milanese soprano. True, she has taken part in complete operas on disc as on stage, and has recorded plenty of arias by other composers of the time such as Vivaldi, Leo, Porpora, Feo or Mancini (Arias for Domenico Gizzi and I Viaggi di Faustina being two recent albums). This new release from Glossa, however, sees Invernizzi reflecting Handel’s special brand of emotional investigation and making her selection from the many regal characters which pepper Handel’s operas – Cleopatra, Berenice, Arianna and Alcina, among them – and their ardent, affecting, distraught and stately feelings.
These are choppy waters through which Roberta Invernizzi sails with unquestionable skill: complete control of her native language and dominance of Handel’s stylistic demands in canto espressivo and canto d’agilità – all being allied to her lustrous vocaltones. She finds responsive and sympathetic accompaniment from Fabio Ciofini and his Accademia Hermans, which works extensively in the Perugian Teatro Cucinelli in Solomeo.
Invernizzi’s majestic sweep of Handelian queens also takes us through a chequered period in the composer’s career, when he led the two Royal Academies of Music in the 1720s and 1730s. At this time, he was writing for magnificent and tempestuous divas such as Francesca Cuzzoni and Anna Maria Strada del Pò – a selection of their roles is to be heard on this recording.