Alice Coote Handel recital (3 September, Proms 2015)

Thadieu and I had a lot of fun listening (each on our side of the Atlantic) to Coote’s Handel recital (with the English Concert) at the Royal Albert Hall via Radio 3. I don’t know if you can find it on the i-player (I couldn’t) but it would be a shame if it wasn’t stored.

She started with a few teasing bars from Myself I shall adore then broke into a playful Sta nell’Ircana. A rather balanced Scherza, infida and a very slow He was despised were also there, as was the entire Myself I shall adore, with the orchestra sounding particularly buoyant, but I think the star of the night was Dopo notte.

Since it’s my favourite Ariodante aria I’ve heard a good number of renditions, with many making an impact – from fierce (Fagioli) and muscular (VK) to gently joyous (Hallenberg), bubbly (JDD) or quietly resonant (Blythe). Coote’s is closest to Hallenberg’s, more introverted than hers yet luminous – very much in keeping with (how I see) the character. Needless to say, I loved it, as I enjoyed the just right tempo.

There were also several times during the recital when I was reminded why I like the mezzo voice: intimate, warm (of course), soft yet intense. Something that I’ve long thought specific to Coote’s voice is a darkness not so much of timbre as of feeling. She can convey searing hurt just by adding pressure to a syllable.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on September 5, 2015, in audio only, baroque, mezzos & contraltos and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Not to worry, it’s here.

    Liked by 2 people

    • i already sat through a 2nd round yesterday and plan on 3rd round today 🙂 . then i was searching for her “alcina” but i guess there isn’t any more except the stuttgart’s one…
      Some more notes on my side too: (notes! haha! better not get caught)
      – that messiah piece is way too slow
      – it’s the first time i really get to know her voice! i think it takes a live performance for me to gauge. was such a pleasant sound and i was impressed how high she goes and the ease with it!
      – dopo notte: introverted Ariodante who opened her (his) joy to the whole universe by the 2nd verse, you can’t help but happily joining in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • you should try to catch her live, it’s indeed such a beautiful sound. I keep being stubborn about wanting to hear a Baroque recital from her and she keeps being stubborn by singing other stuff here 😉 I thought about attending this one but the Royal Albert Hall has iffy acoustics especially if you’re not at the front.

        btw, have you heard her Sesto? There is a recording from the Barbican a few years back. She’s doing a good job there as well and you get a good feel for her voice and dramatic strengths (that thing I wrote about at the end of the post).

        I think she sang Ruggiero a lot yet that is the only live recording (save for the Pamplona from last year which is a technically terrible recording that I didn’t manage to sit through).


        • i saw her live once! as der Komposer! everything was going ok until Bacchus showed up, i threw in my towel and demanded a refund 😀 . actually that was also my first time hearing the role so was very unfamiliar. really need to hear her in Händel it seems. (was also the same for me w/ S. Connolly, the live Händel recital she gave in Frankfurt, always stick in my mind.)
          That link i gave in DC after this recital, i finally caught on also how descriptive her singing is. that’s really the thing that separates a singer who will stick and those who’s just passing by (the mind).


          • well, but Bacchus is only in at the very end (thank you, Strauss). That’s when you make out with your date or take a well deserved nap 😉

            yea, a singer has to make an impact somehow otherwise it’s just a pretty voice (that’s how I feel about Anna Stephany right now).

            I heard AC in some Britten and was not particularly impressed but it might be I didn’t care about Britten’s stuff too much.


      • I sat through the whole thing last night in the office. I didn’t mind how slow He was despised went, it seemed very contemplative. Predictibly Myself I shall adore got stuck in my head. Once again I thought the selection was excellent. So to praphrase that tune, if I persist in listening, Handel I shall adore 😉 as opposed to up to now…


        • -ps meanwhile, it’s Strauss i shall adore ;), i’m amazed again how beautiful his music is.. but it does require certain singers.. he’s got this very particular way of having trailing violin with melancholy tunes after sopranos..


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