In the middle of the London Handel Festival, mostly filled with English/London performers, we had the visit of one of the French baroque groups that better play Handel music: Le Concert d’Astrée.
Major attraction of this concert at the Wigmore Hall was Sabine Devieilhe presence. Initially programmed Marianne Crebassa was replaced by the younger Lea Desandre. But the biggest surprise was Thomas Dunford playing a sublimely varied and rich continuo from his theorbo. Emmanuelle Haïm knows what treasure she has in her band and let him play freely.
The programme was comprised by 3 cantatas: Armida abbandonata, sung by Devieilhe with gorgeous expressiveness and her trademark uber-beautiful tone, La Lucrezia sung by Desandre in a very promising way: there are some minor issues to improve like the breathing and nuances over the words but in general she is a fine singer. And finally Aminta e Fillide a big pastoral cantata for two voices that last more than some short operas in which the two singers combined their voices quite well.
A very french take on Handel with a lot of attention to the colors and accents. Two delightful encores: the final duet from Ariodante and Pur ti miro