Vivica Genaux is an Alaskan born mezzo soprano. And she has some talent. I have previously listened to other of her CDs, my favorite being her work in which she sings the repertoire of the great castrato, Farinelli. Enchanting. This work focuses on her styling of two German composers--George Frederic Handel and Johann Adolf Hasse (whose music, to the best of my knowledge, I've never been exposed to). She is backed by Les Violins du Roy, led by Bernard Labadie.
To illustrate, I'll summarize what I heard from several of the cuts on this CD.
From Handel's "Orlando." First, "Fammi combattere mostri e tifei." Genaux demonstrates absolutely glorious coloratura technique here. She reveals a smooth, creamy mezzo voice, very agile. Her florid singing is solid and more than that in this fast paced aria. This is great fun if you enjoy florid singing. She demonstrates nice trill technique, too. She does not have a huge voice, but it is rich and nimble.
Another piece from "Orlando" is "Ah! Stigie larve. . .Vaghe pupille." There is an interesting instrumental opening. Then, Genaux's voice. The opening is rather slow in tempo, but serves as a vehicle to demonstrate her rich voice in non-florid singing technique. And she shows some dramatic presence, as far as I can tell.
With "Vaghe pupille," she begins to deploy embellishments, thought the pace remains somewhat mannered. Trills are fine (I regret that so few contemporary singers who take on the coloratura repertoire are unable to trill, but that's just me). The final segment picks up the pace. More florid singing., attractively done.
Hasse's "Arminio." One work from this opera, "Ti lascio in ceppi avvinto." Genaux starts off with a well executed trill. She shows considerable vocal range, from dusky lower notes to smoothly sung higher notes. Much of the opening segment is at a rather slow pace, but it is nonetheless captivatingly sung. Genaux's voice is extremely nimble, able to negotiate well the challenges of this work. Another aria from this opera is "Se mia speranza sola." The latter half of this piece is quite animated in pace. Genaux deploys her coloratura technique very ably, with trills galore, runs, appoggiaturas, and other embellishments. Just terrific singing. She ranges from darker lower notes to shimmering higher notes toward the close. Very satisfying to listen to.
This is the third CD of Genaux's that I have had the opportunity to listen to. I find her art absolutely compelling, and look forward listening to more of her work in the future. Highly recommended for those interested in mezzo sopranos attempting bel canto works.