Fabio Bonizzoni returns with his long-awaited new recording of Handel’s 'Aci, Galatea e Polifemo'. Who better to team up with Bonizzoni, performing the role of the luckless shepherd Aci, than scintillating soprano Roberta Invernizzi. Her captivating contributions to Glossa's Handel series with La Risonanza as well as her 'I Viaggi di Faustina' have drawn powerful critical plaudits, including more than one disc of the Month. Handel’s virtuosic and ebullient score, written for a 1708 wedding whilst he was in Naples (Carlo Vitali sets the scene in his enjoyably discursive booklet essay) also summons Argentinean bass, Lisandro Abadie, to demonstrate an awe-inspiring range that well becomes the monstrous nature of Polifemo. He is joined by French mezzo Blandine Staskiewicz, admirably suited to portray Galatea’s plaintive charms.
This is not the English masque _Acis and Galathea_ but an earlier effort on the same story composed during the composer's youthful tour of Italy, described as a "serenade for three voices." It is deliciously scored, a perfect gem. All the parts work well–duets, ensembles, solos, and recitatives. It doesn't hold the stature of his later oratorio and operatic output, but it deserves equal renown for its pleasures are indisputable. With such refined yet expressive singing, you won't be disappointed to hear, in earlier guises, passages more familiar from Rinaldo and elsewhere.