BBC Music Magazine Awards 2020 Finalist - Vocal
Gramophone Magazine December 2018 Recording of the Month
BBC Music Magazine February 2019 Choral & Song Choice
Surprisingly, the cantatas that Handel wrote in the earlier years of his career remain relatively little known. The thrilling theatricality of three works composed in Italy – Armida abbandonata, La Lucrezia and Aminta e Fillide is savoured to the full by conductor
Emmanuelle Haïm, soprano Sabine Devieilhe, mezzo-soprano Léa Desandre and the instrumentalists of Le Concert d’Astrée.
This production is a delight throughout…Haïm retains control by preparing both the scores and the sopranos’ ornaments, her vision giving this carefully wrought performance a fiery intensity, as if recorded live in concert…Desandre, a superb vocal actress, delivers bold musical rhetoric…You might think you know these cantatas, but this is a performance to make you think again. BBC *****
Both singers have unblemished voices of beautiful quality: Sabine Devieilhe, as Aminta, pellucid and free-soaring, Lea Desandre with a dark flare in her high mezzo…Le Concert d’Astrée, under Emmanuelle Haïm’s animating direction, are far more than mere accompanists…Playing with words as well as tones, the crucial cello continuo is always acutely alive to singers and text…A disc that even amid fierce competition is a Handelian winner. Gramophone