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Handel composed his 1708 serenata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo for a royal wedding in Naples. Though less accomplished than Acis and Galatea, the popular masque he composed on the same pastoral myth a decade later, his youthful Aci can still charm. Its range of musical delights includes Aci’s poignant lament ̀ Verso già l’alma’ and Polifemo’s tenebrous 'Fra l’ombre e gli orrori', with its thrilling vocal plunge through two-and- a-half octaves. This disc serves as a coda to Fabio Bonizzoni’s excellent recordings of Handel’s Italian cantatas. Sadly, it is less a final flourish than a fitful anti-climax. Roberta Invernizzi, star of the cantata series, is a brilliantly expressive Aci, but Blandine Staskiewicz’s Galatea is insipid, while Lisandro Abadie’s dry bass merely sketches Polifemo rather than providing the full horrific portrait. At least the bonus track, a duet Handel omitted from Clori, Tirsi e Filano, is a pleasant surprise.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing