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Contralto Nathalie Stutzmann made this recording just before she turned 30 and it was originally released on the Arkiv label in 1992. The young Dutch label Newton Classics has been repackaging notable recordings from the recent past, with improved liner notes and thoughtful design, building a series of limited-edition ‘modern collectibles’. Stutzmann’s singing is clean and clarion of tone and impressively virile in repertoire that, in the main, was conceived to be sung by virtuosic castrati. There is a touch of the ‘Clara Butt’ about the sound – vigorous and confident from the opening bravura of Orlando’s ‘Fammi combattere’ to the breathless pyrotechnics of ‘Furibondo spira il vento’ from Partenope. The colour of the voice is fulsome, and generous almost to a fault. More variety in Stutzmann’s tone might have given more interesting contours to the text: for instance, Julius Caesar’s ‘Va tacito’ has plenty of derring-do but is missing the huntsman’s stealth. Nevertheless, this is an accomplished disc and a welcome reminder of Stutzmann’s exceptional credentials as an outstanding Handelian.

Richard Fawkes Read the full review on Agora Classica

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