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Julia Lezhneva’s Handel disc also provides a blend of technical challenges, ranging from some extremes of vocal knitting to the spacious phrasing required of the aria from Rodrigo, a veritable gem. The young soprano has a fascinating voice and it would be easy for her to rely on her pretty, blanched tone, ping out multitudinous notes, smile for the camera and watch the money roll in. But she is such a talented and committed artist that she pushes herself much further, plus her joy of singing is palpable. Lezhneva employs a range of colours and tones to contrast her material, and can summon a richer vibrato when she needs it. She articulates her texts with clarity, has fearless vocal attack, some surprising reserves of sound and an astounding fluency, not to mention a killer trill. Lezhneva and conductor Giovanni Antonini really work with, and off, each other, and consequently the recoding becomes something thrilling. This is one of the best releases of 2015 and thoroughly recommended.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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