Amanda Forsythe's 2015 debut solo recording with the Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra of Handel Arias is called The Power of Love.
Celine Dion, Andrew Lloyd Weber, G.F. Handel
Granted, that "power of love" title may take you back to Celine Dion and the soul song of the early 90’s. Despite a span of centuries, the core of the human experience hasn’t change all that much. Sorrow, cheer, triumph, despair…and love…which is perhaps the most basic of all.
So I hope you won't mind Celine Dion sharing the stage with the eminent Handel on the podcast today—Handel, a composer who was once a pop star in his own day. And it's worth noting that the liner note of Apollo’s Fire’s recording refers to Handel as "the Andrew Lloyd Weber of the 18th century!" Celine Dion, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Master Handel…it seems the power of love really is one theme that never grows old.
Apollo's Fire and Amanda Forsythe
Apollo’s Fire and the stunning soprano Amanda Forsythe delve into Handel’s take on the “power of love” with aria excerpts taken from several operas including Orlando, Almira, Serse, Partenope, Ariodante, Rinaldo, Teseo, and Giulio Cesare. Interspersed are a few instrumental movements from Terpsichore.
A love-themed disc of Handel arias could have gone any number of ways, but this one flows together very well. There is a nice mix of well-known favorites as well as less familiar offerings. And the several little instrumental numbers peppered throughout this recital balance the vocal numbers and give the program an overarching cohesion.
In the the opening track, "Amor e qual vento," (Love is Like the Wind) from Orlando, a shepherdess named Dorinda is in love with the Prince Medoro, but folly of follies, can’t have him. Forsythe’s agile vocal prowess is on full display here in Handel’s depiction of love’s whirlwind, impressively navigating the wide ranging high and low notes with ease.
One of the less-familiar vocal offerings comes from Handel’s Teseo—the very beautiful continuo aria, "Amarti si vorrei" in which the princess must renounce her love for her prince lest the evil sorceress destroy him—a love’s quandary that in Forsythe’s rendering comes off with a tragically miserable intimacy.
Love is a timeless theme, both its pleasures and its pains. And both are fully realized throughout this recording with impressive technique and emotional persuasion from Amanda Forsythe and Apollo’s Fire.