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Who sang it best/

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I just love “in grembo al drudo” it just sounds so wonderful. It actually means something akin to “lover’s lap.” Or it could be construed as “in your lover’s arms.”

I think Janet Baker’s version is too fast, but it fits the interpretation: she sounds angry, urgent, which might be the obvious emotion in context. Most other versions are slower, some much slower (Minkowski). There are no tempo or other markings in the scores I’ve seen, so I suppose it’s open to any interpretation in tempo or emotion. So Baker’s version might be as correct as anyone else’s. But I find it hurried, perhaps because it’s just the opposite of all of the others. I’m not sure I like it, as it seems that she’s shouting. The sudden change into the softer dynamic was surprising, more so because it was now delicately decorated.

David Daniel’s version is more in keeping with what I am used to and expected. As usual with him, it is beautifully sung and inflected and it’s modulated like an interior monologue. It’s just as valid as Baker’s version. However, Daniel’s foray into the bridge sounds placid and the emotion applied in contrast with Baker’s force.
 

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I'm quite taken with Baker's approach to this. I hadn't been very familiar with the opera or with this aria, and I've now heard varied approaches to tempo and expression. From the text it's clear that anger may be an important emotion here, and Baker is the only one to bring this out. Perhaps having no preconceptions about the aria allows me to find her quite persuasive. It isn't a minor consideration that she gives us a marvelous piece of pure vocalism as well as a fully conceived interpretation. From the slowest performance we've heard (Fagioli's) to this, the fastest, there's a mile of distance, and I think I like both of these extreme performances more than the two in the middle, nicely done as those are. Baroque music is adaptable that way, and it wouldn't surprise me if Handel fully expected singers to bring their individual expressive capacities and inclinations to the material.

Yes, Baker is wonderful. She's my girl.
 

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Oh gosh! I know both these versions very well. David Daniels and Janet Baker are two of my favourite singers, Singers Who Changed My Life as I wrote in my blog, and deciding between these two equally valid but contrasting interpretations is well nigh impossible.

Both singers have performed the opera on stage and I think the video of Daniels singing it in Peter Sellars' production is possibly more moving than he is here (the Handel arias recital was, I think, his second solo recital). Daniels sings with original instruments and Baker with modern ones. Daniels is regretful and desolate from the outset, but Baker is angry, scornful and bitter, allowing sadness and regret to creep into her voice for the final statement. She also uses a wider range of colour. Daniels singing is very beautiful, his legato well night perfect, his diction as always impeccable, but Baker I think finds more contrast in the aria. Taken out of context, I am quite happy with Daniels' performance, but, taking into consideration the dramatic situation, I think it has to be Baker, and her singing is suprassingly beautiful too.

I prefer both of these to the previous pair, but I'm voting for Baker here,
 

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One of important features of barocco is certain freedom of improvisation for singers and orchestra. In addition most operas were written without hope on their long stage life and for available soloists. So we have diversity provided by the author and by performers, and it's wonderful.
Two performances present here are good in their own fashion. Daniels is meditative, heartfelt, Baker is more expressive and active. The former sings with historic instruments, the latter with modern orchestra and faster (it's usually on the contrary). If I heard it in the theater, I would admire both versions, as decently performed good music. But if I have to choose, it's all about beauty of the voice and I prefer Baker.
 

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One of important features of barocco is certain freedom of improvisation for singers and orchestra. In addition most operas were written without hope on their long stage life and for available soloists. So we have diversity provided by the author and by performers, and it's wonderful.
Two performances present here are good in their own fashion. Daniels is meditative, heartfelt, Baker is more expressive and active. The former sings with historic instruments, the latter with modern orchestra and faster (it's usually on the contrary). If I heard it in the theater, I would admire both versions, as decently performed good music. But if I have to choose, it's all about beauty of the voice and I prefer Baker.
You don't think Daniels has a beautiful voice? I think both voices are very beautiful.
 

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Daniels has a nice voice for a countertenor but I don't find it that beautiful overall. As for the interpretation, I clearly prefer Baker although it is a bit fastish and I could imagine even better. I have heard the aria before but would not have remembered details. The combination of that violin figure and bassoon(or two?) is really an odd effect.
 
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