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GRAMOPHONE (02/2020)
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Reviewer: Lindsay Kemp

Kate Lindsey’s second solo album, like her first (9/17), takes her away from the classic lyric repertoire with which she has been making her name on stage and into the Baroque – a field she has only really entered so far as Nerone in Monteverdi’s Poppea for Christie in Salzburg in 2018 and, this very month, the same character in Handel’s Agrippina in New York. It looks like the idea of a single character seen through different eyes appeals to her, for here she brings together three cantatas dealing with the abandonment of Ariadne by Thetis on the island of Naxos, the thanks she got for helping him slay the Minotaur and giving him all her loving. Perhaps Lindsey got the idea during her numerous appearances as the Composer in Strauss’s opera. Whatever the case, her strong and assured voice slips easily into this music. While she offers up a little more vibrato than some baroque singers might, beauty and clarity of line are certainly not affected, and throughout she shows impressive technical control and agility. More strikingly, though, she brings her stage experience to bear in dramatic readings whose intelligent responses to the differing nuances of these three pieces are what really make the project spark. For the Scarlatti – which, unusually, begins before Thetis has quit the scene and ends with Ariadne being assumed into the heavens – the mood is dreamy and erotic; Lindsey sings here with delicious intimacy, at times as if she were whispering into our ears. In Handel’s superb piece, which starts at the ‘crudel!’ stage, her voice hardens and darkens, before lightening up at the end when Ariadne decides that by continuing to love Thetis she will bring him back. Poor deluded thing. Then in the more fluidly emotional music of the Haydn Lindsey brings out the Mozartian mix of subtle emotion and musical poise – how love-drowsy she sounds at her first entry!

The playing of Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen is typically high-quality, and often heartbreakingly attendant to the drama. This is a lovely programme, expertly performed and full of touching feeling and imagination.

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