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Naïve – 3CD

Release 2014

TAMERLANO 1731 version

George Frederic Handel (1685 – 1759)


TAMERLANO    Xavier Sabata

ANDRONICO    Max Emanuel Cencic

BAJAZET             John Mark Ainsley

ASTERIA             Karina Gauvin

IRENE                  Ruxandra Donose

LEONE                 Pavel Kudinov


Riccardo Minasi – Il Pomo d’Oro

Riccardo Minasi leads the Il Pomo D'Oro and a fine singing cast in this recording of Handel's music drama Tamerlano. Mr. Minasis performing edition prepared for this recording is modeled after Handels 1731 version, but reinstates the Act II trio he omitted at the time. Booklet includes a David Vickers-penned essay on Tamerlano, a synopsis, a complete libretto in French and Italian, and artist photos.


This Tamerlano is the rare recording that plays out as a genuine performance of an opera rather than a concert presentation of arias. It is very much a team effort, but the accomplishment that makes this recording special not just as a performance of Handel's Tamerlano but as a milestone in recorded opera is that Karina Gauvin and Max Emanuel Cencic embody an Asteria and Andronico whose tribulations are as ravishing and redeeming as Aida's and Radamès's, Brünnhilde's and Siegfried's, or the Marschallin's and Octavian's. It is a performance of an opera composed 290 years ago that sounds bewilderingly new. --Voix des Arts, Joseph Newsome

In this recording, as in most if not all Naïve productions (the label is famous for recording all of the works by Vivaldi), the playing is meticulous and the voices...The voices are, to be frank, fantastic! If we only had such an ensemble in the recent COC production of Hercules! Karina Gauvin astounds with her ongoing vocal development, and Sabata and Cencic are both delightful discoveries for this reviewer. Bravi! --Wholenote, June 2014

Gramophone Editor's Choice: Bursting with an energetic, dramatic drive and great characterisation from the soloists. An all-round excellent Handel release. --Gramophone Editor's Choice, July 2014

In fact, many a modern Handel production, particularly on the other side of the Atlantic, could be charged with over-egging the drama. But the keen musicians on this new recording have only the composer's ax to grind, and the results are consistently compelling and often transfixing. The starkness of the music is felt in the unusually high number of arias sung by characters alone onstage...Karina Gauvin is her usual, vocally immaculate self. --Tim Pfaff, Bay Area Reporter

Spanish countertenor Xavier Sabata excels in capturing the psychopathic traits of the evil and dangerous Tamerlano. The recorded sound is warm, bright and close, allowing for clear hearing of the continuo and details. Highly recommended. --Rick Phillips, Opera Canada

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