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This exhilarating recording stems from the academy for young singers founded some 15 years ago by William Christie and now run by him and Paul Agnew. In addition to the intensive training given in France to six young singers chosen from hundreds of applicants, Le Jardin goes on tour, this live recording of repertoire stretching over more than two centuries emanating from a concert given in Melbourne in 2015.

The singers involved have already moved well beyond student level. I’d already previously encountered the striking French mezzo Lea Desandre on a couple of occasions, while the highly talented countertenor Carlo Vistoli has made a fine CD of arias associated with the castrato Nicolino. Baritone Renato Dolcini’s portrayal of Vivaldi’s mad Orlando (the Orlando operas of Handel and Haydn are also featured) is notable for its arguably too powerful dramatic projection, while at the opposite end of the scale Spanish soprano Lucia Martín-Cartón gives us a sweetly vulnerable ‘Lascia la spina’ from Handel’s Il trionfo. English tenor Nicholas Scott and US bass John Taylor Ward prove they already have a mastery of buffo style in ensemble extracts by Cimarosa, Haydn and Domenico Sarro featuring – appropriately enough – singing lessons, the last named’s L’Impresario delle Canarie having a wickedly satirical libretto.

In sum, it is impossible to hear this CD without feeling immensely heartened about the future of early vocal music.

Brian Robins Read the full review on Agora Classica


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Early Music Today, 2017 - ©Rhinegold Publishing