A heartfelt Handel

Leading Handelian singers Rosemary Joshua and Sarah Connolly inject life and emotion into a selection of Handel's oases

Composer: Handel
Repertoire: Duets 
Artists: Rosemary Joshua (soprano), Sarah Connolly (mz), The English Concert/Harry Bicket
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Opera
Label: Chandos CHAN 0767

Heretical though this may seem, the fact is that Handel operas can be tedious, with their endless succession of recitatives and da capo arias. Duets and other ensembles are rare, but when they occur, usually at the end of an act, they are like an oasis in the desert. This is an excellent selection of such oases – eight from the operas, four from the oratorios – performed by two leading Handelian singers. The excerpt from Giulio Cesare could perhaps do with more bounce, but in the slower numbers from Rodelinda and Tamerlano the suspensions – where the ‘resolution’ of a discord is delayed – tug at the heartstrings.