Alice Coote has chosen arias from four of Handel's greatest operas, and from Hercules, one of his most dramatic oratorios. Her warmly textured voice, especially in the middle range lends itself alluringly to Handel's portrayal of tenderness, intimacy and melancholy. Thus it is that Ruggiero's 'Mi lusinga il dolce affetto' (Alcina) and Ariodante's 'Scherza infida!' steal the show. Handel, of course, has a lot to do with it, for these are among his finer arias.
The wealth of virtues in Coote's recital include her intuitive sense of apposite, well-proportioned ornamentation and a sure feeling for just tempo. She is not afraid to take her time where text and music require it, as you will discover in 'Scherza infida!' which comes in at almost three minutes longer than some. Coote sustains it effectively and is sympathetically accompanied by bassoonist Peter Whelan with other members of The English Concert. Occasionally I found her vibrato and vocal portamento a little intrusive. But expressive singing with eloquent instrumental partnership make for a rewarding encounter.