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Great Operatic Arias Volume 7 - DELLA JONES
BELLINI Norma ­ Deh! Con te, con te li prendi … Mira, o Normaa.
Clari ­ Home, sweet homeb.
La favorita ­ Ebben, così si narra! Leonora! Leonora! Deh tacic. Lucrezia Borgia ­ Il segreto per esser feliced.
GERMAN Merrie England ­ O peaceful Englandd.
HANDEL Rodelinda ­ Dove sei?e. Serse ­ Frondi tenere e belle … Ombra mai fue.
La clemenza di Tito ­ Ecco il punto, o Vitellia … Non più di fioria.
PONCHIELLI Voce di donnad.
ROSSINI Tancredi ­ Di tanti palpitia. L¹italiana in Algieri ­ Ai capricci della sortee; Per lui che adorof. Guglielmo Tell ­ Je rends à votre amourg.Il barbiere di Siviglia ­ Una voce poco fah (all items sung in English).
Della Jones (mezzo/bpiano); cHelen Miles, gMary Plazas (sopranos); bgAnne Mason (mezzo); fPeter Wedd (tenor); cGarry Magee, efAndrew Shore (baritones); fSimon Bailey (bass); dGeoffrey Mitchell Choir; acdefgLondon Philharmonic Orchestra/David Parry; hEnglish National Opera Chorus and Orchestra/Gabrielle Bellini.
Recorded with support from the Peter Moores Foundation.
CHANDOS Opera in English CHAN3049 [DDD] [80.00].
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Della Jones' career has been notably wide-ranging in its scope, from bel canto through to Wagner (Brangaene) and on to contemporary scores. Her discography reflects this versatility, from the role of Sextus in Handel's Giulio Cesare (CHAN3019) to Clementia in Hindemith's Sancta Susanna (CHAN9620) and Monique in Korngold's Die Kathrin (CPO 999 602-2).

The latest offering from Chandos' 'Opera in English' series ranges from the Baroque to Romantic. Once one makes the transition to the Rossinian English of the first aria (Tancredi's entrance Cavatina from Rossini's Tancredi), the musical results more than justify the effort. Pacing is carefully considered throughout so that all of the words are given their proper weight (Jones' diction is impeccable). This clarity of utterance is particularly arresting in the recitatives, which take on a new (and surprisingly interesting) life: try Vitellia's recitative (in English, 'Now is the moment, o Vitella') from Mozart's still cruelly underrated La clemenza di Tito. The ensuing aria demonstrates many of Jones' strengths: her smooth legato, her evenness of tone over her wide range and (not least) her facility.

Jones shows a clear affinity with Handel, giving an eloquent and stylish account of Bertarido's aria from Rodelinda and a full-toned 'Ombra mai fu' (here 'Under thy shade') from Xerxes. But when it comes to the core Italian repertoire, she really comes into her own. The excerpts from L'italiana in Algieri positively sparkle (in which she is joined by Peter Wedd, Andrew Shore and Simon Bailey) and encapsulate the main strength of much of this disc: they capture the essence of theatre. The excerpt from Bellini's Norma in particular (Mira, o Norma) is particularly beautiful because of the excellent balance between Jones and the mezzo Anne Mason.

The inclusion of a reissued excerpt from Rossini's Barber (Rosina's cabaletta) is a fitting end to this disc. Only the end of the 'recital proper' (Bishop's Home, sweet home) seems miscalculated. Jones accompanies herself on the piano, not a particularly happy idea, but not unhappy enough to dispel memories of the finer points of this issue.

Well worth the asking price.


Colin Clarke

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