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Track review of "Poro, re dell'Indie: Overture/Duet "Caro! Dolce" Amico amplesso""
Poro, re dell'Indie (Porus, King of the Indians) is an opera seria composed by George Frideric Handel in 1719 for the Royal Academy of Music. Handel's 1731 premiere was conducted by the composer, and cast the great castrato Senesino (Francesco Bernardi) in the roll of Porus, and Anna Maria Strada as Cleofide. In this recording, Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano host contralto Sara Mingardo and soprano Sandrine Pia in these respective roles, on the duet collection, Handel.
The alto and contralto voices were popular for male roles in the Baroque Period. Mingardo's true contralto (as opposed to mezzosoprano) is broad, rich and bold as Italian dark roast coffee. Sandrine Piau's splendidly luscious soprano plays the cream in that coffee, increasing the sonic richness tenfold. When Porus and Cleofide profess their love ("Teco voglis vite e morte, Spera o caro, e non temerSpera o bella, e non temer"), the that love is sumptuously tactile.
Maestro Alessandrini's command of the Concerto Italiano in the Overture is certain, making his recording of Handel's Messiah that much more important.