Max Cencic: Handel: Mezzo-Soprano Opera Arias (2010)

Max Handel Mezzo Soprano Arias

Listen to this for: unsurprisingly, rather a lot of Handel

When I was buying my first countertenor CDs, even though I’d been slightly sidetracked by Jaroussky, I hadn’t renounced Cencic, and kept being drawn back to his rounder, fuller voice. I bought this album at about the same time as Artaserse and it really shows off his talent, playing to his broad range and the richly sensuous burr of his lower notes. It’s hard to choose favourites because every track’s gorgeous, alternating between lively and introspective. Plunging straight into the action, the album kicks off with Imeneo’s aria Sorge nell’alma mia, which is nothing if not a showpiece. It’s accompanied with some frantic strings, which is all rather fun, and even as a listener you scarcely get to draw breath all the way through. I also do love Pena tiranna, which Cencic performs with exquisite poise and richness, and turns into a feast for the ears. The album is pretty close to perfect. His control is practically faultless to my unpractised ears and, if Jaroussky’s voice is like clear spring water, Cencic’s is like sumptuous honey.

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