Elisabeth Rethberg

Elisabeth Rethberg : Elisabeth Rethberg - Rend'il sereno al ciglio [Handel] - 1928

This isn't the anaesthetized mid-20th century Handel everyone is used to nowadays but rather one in the old tradition, with blood and limbs and a mind and a soul—Handel sung by a human and not by a woodland færie.

Rethberg left us enough documents to show us how the true bel canto allows both range of repertoire and depth of expression. Among her vast output in Verdi, Wagner, Mozart, French mélodie, and lieder stands this little gem, one that I treasure above nearly all her other recordings for her total command of the voice in dynamics, evenness and steadiness of emission, the balanced registration throughout the entire scale, and especially her exquisitely tender portamenti.