Arias for Guadagni

Arcangelo & Iestyn Davies (Counter-Tenor)

Following their first collaboration on the cantatas of Porpora, Iestyn Davies and Arcangelo return with a selection of arias written for Gaetano Guadagni. Italian-born Guadagni was the first ‘modern’ castrato, famed all over Europe for the lyric purity of his voice and his powerful, naturalistic acting style. Not only did he enjoy a close artistic relationship with Handel, who nurtured Guadagni’s voice to fit the alto roles in his English oratorios, but he effectively created the role of Orpheus in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, an opera he thoroughly made his own.

Featured works

  • Handel: ‘O Lord, whose mercies numberless’ from Saul HWV53
  • Handel: ‘The raptur’d soul’ from Theodora HWV68
  • Handel: ‘Yet, can I hear that dulcet lay’ from The Choice of Hercules HWV69
  • Handel: ‘Destructive war’ from Belshazzar HWV61
  • Hasse: ‘Ah che dissi!’ from Didone abbandonata
  • Hasse: ‘Se resto sul lido’ from Didone abbandonata
  • Hasse: ‘Odi colà la frigia tromba?’ from Didone abbandonata
  • Hasse: ‘A trionfar mi chiama’ from Didone abbandonata
  • Smith: ‘Say, lovely Dream!’ from The Fairies
  • Arne: ‘Vengeance, O come inspire me!’ from Alfred
  • C.P.E. Bach: Orchester-Sinfonie in D major H663 Wq183 / 1
  • Gluck: ‘Ah! non turbi il mio riposo’ from Telemaco, ossia L’isola di Circè
  • Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits
  • Gluck: ‘Che puro ciel!’ from Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Gluck: ‘Ahimè! Dove trascorsi?’ from Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Gluck: ‘Che faro’ senza Euridice?’ from Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Guadagni: ‘Pensa a serbarmi, o cara’

Press & Praise


Through his effortless line, countertenor Iestyn Davies revivifies Guadagni’s Orphic powers…Whether drawing out sustained notes or knitting together filigreed coloratura, he is a paragon of gallant taste: poised, cool, elegant…Jonathan Cohen and his ensemble Arcangelo capture the rapid, unexpected twists of the younger Bach’s radical imagination…this [is] a refreshingly ambitious and superbly realised recording.


“Davies includes some of the showstoppers written for [Guadagni] by Handel and Arne, delivering them with wonderful finesse and flawless tone. Orfeo itself, however, lies awkwardly for a counter-tenor, and Davies is occasionally forced to sacrifice intensity for the sake of integrity of line. The orchestral playing, from Arcangelo under Jonathan Cohen, is exquisite.


“The superb young countertenor Iestyn Davies … it’s a beautiful recital: 78 minutes of pure bliss for connoisseurs and beginners alike.”

Album Details

  • Released May 20212
  • Hyperion Records | CDA67924
  • Recorded August 2011


  • Iestyn Davies (Counter-Tenor)
  • Arcangelo
  • Jonathan Cohen (Direction)


Gramophone Awards

Winner 2012

Gramophone Magazine

Editor’s choice Aug 2012

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