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Welsh soprano Ruby Hughes celebrates the career of baroque prima donna Giulia Frasi, selecting arias that represent that singer’s career, which blossomed in the 1740’s before fizzling out. A comeback 30 years later proved unwise and the singer faded from the scene and from history. Dr Burney described Frasi’s voice as ‘sweet and clear…smooth and chaste’. Perfect casting for Hughes, who possesses a pellucid soprano that caresses the gentler phrases of Handel and his contemporaries. The opening aria, from the oratorio Susanna, showcases her charms to perfection. A later number, from Ciampi’s Camilla, also give Hughes the opportunity to showcase her technical facility in far showier music. Though the voice has a radiant top it does tend to disappear against vivid instrumentation in its lower reaches. Laurence Cummings’ conducting ably supports his soloist, whose voice is treated as part of the musical texture rather than dominating it.

FRANCIS MUZZU Read the full review on Agora Classica


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