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Who sang it best/

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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.
You don't think Daniels has a beautiful voice? I think both voices are very beautiful.
 
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