The beautiful and technically demanding arias by Scarlatti constitute, surprisingly, the first recital disc by Italian mezzo Daniela Barcellona. If the record companies don't offer you a contract when you're fresh out of college it seems you need to sit back and be patient. Her début at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, which launched her career, was back in 1999.
Well for Barcellona the wait was worth it. This excellent disc is a perfect showcase for her voice and technique. While the fiendish coloratura passages leave this Rossini expert unfazed, the beauty of her voice really comes through in the lyrical passages which give it time to open and bloom. The timbre is true mezzo, truly beautiful – nothing forced or artificially coloured – and her range is impressive.
Marcello Di Lisa conducts the Concerto de' Cavalieri with verve, and the Deutsche Harmonia Mundi technicians have given the disc an exciting sound -broad and distinct.
This cd is a must for fans of Ms Barcellona, but it also contains gems for lovers of baroque music. Or better, lovers of good music.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.