by Paula Citron
A baroque opera in the Queen St. West Gladstone Hotel? In fact, Aradia Ensemble’s concert version of Handel’s cantata Apollo & Dafne worked very well. The live acoustics of the brick walls carried the sound beautifully.
Aradia under Kevin Mallon is a crack outfit and the 10-member period ensemble played superbly. Mallon has a real flair for tempi. The adagio passages shimmered with beauty while his allegro tempi never diminished the melody at the expense of speed.
Baritone Neil Aronoff as Apollo and soprano Deanna Hendriks as Dafne were very expressive and played off each other well. Aronoff sings with passion but has to be careful not produce a woofy voice that mars his articulation of pitch, particularly in rapid passages. Hendriks sound is pure with bite. She has a lovely coloratura and beautiful phrasing.
Mallon also wrote an original quartet called Always to a Yeats’ poem that was an intriguing soundscape for period instruments.
From the Gladstone Hotel, I’m Paula Citron, arts reviewer for CLASSICAL 96.3 FM.