Handel's Last Prima Donna: Giulia Frasi in London Ruby Hughes, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Laurence Cummings

Cover Handel's Last Prima Donna: Giulia Frasi in London

Album info



Label: Chandos

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Vocal

Artist: Ruby Hughes, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment & Laurence Cummings

Composer: Philip Hayes (1738-1797), John Christopher Smith (1712-1795), Thomas Arne (1710-1778), Vincenzo Ciampi (1719-1762), Georg Friedrich Händel (1685-1759)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759): Susanna, HWV 66:
  • 1Susanna, HWV 66: Crystal Streams in Murmurs Flowing08:14
  • Vincenzo Ciampi (1719 - 1762): L'Adriano:
  • 2L'Adriano: O Dio! Mancar mi sento08:35
  • Il trionfo di Camilla:
  • 3Il trionfo di Camilla: Là per l'ombrosa sponda04:39
  • Thomas Augustine Arne (1710 - 1778): Artaxerxes:
  • 4Artaxerxes: Why Is Death for Ever Late02:21
  • John Christopher Smith (1712 - 1795): Paradise Lost:
  • 5Paradise Lost: Oh! Do Not, Adam, Exercise on Me Thy Hatred01:02
  • 6Paradise Lost: It Comes! It Comes! It Must Be Death!05:45
  • Rebecca:
  • 7Rebecca: But See, the Night with Silent Pace Steals On01:32
  • 8Rebecca: O Balmy Sleep!04:51
  • Thomas Augustine Arne: Alfred:
  • 9Alfred: Gracious Heav'n, O Hear Me! (Revised Version, 1753)06:45
  • George Frideric Handel: Theodora, HWV 68:
  • 10Theodora, HWV 68: Symphony00:56
  • 11Theodora, HWV 68: O Thou Bright Sun!00:33
  • 12Theodora, HWV 68: With Darkness Deep as Is My Woe04:05
  • 13Theodora, HWV 68: Symphony of Soft Musick01:35
  • 14Theodora, HWV 68: But Why Art Thou Disquieted, My Soul?00:31
  • 15Theodora, HWV 68: Oh That I on Wings Could Rise03:18
  • Philip Hayes (1738 - 1797): Telemachus:
  • 16Telemachus: Soon Arrives Thy Fatal Hour08:02
  • George Frideric Handel: The Choice of Hercules, HWV 69:
  • 17The Choice of Hercules, HWV 69: There the Brisk Sparkling Nectar Drain02:43
  • Jephtha, HWV 70:
  • 18Jephtha, HWV 70: Ye Sacred Priests00:41
  • 19Jephtha, HWV 70: Farewell, Ye Limpid Springs05:36
  • Solomon, HWV 67:
  • 20Solomon, HWV 67: Will the Sun Forget to Streak05:49
  • Total Runtime01:17:33

Info for Handel's Last Prima Donna: Giulia Frasi in London

Excelling in Renaissance and baroque repertoire, the young British soprano Ruby Hughes pays tribute to Handel’s last prima donna, the Italian soprano Giulia Frasi.

For her debut recording on Chandos she has chosen a selection of celebrated arias composed for Frasi by Handel, in his late oratorios Susanna, Solomon, Theodora, and Jephtha, and other composers of the era, whose works are now much less familiar, offering several modern premieres.

Performed on period instruments by the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Laurence Cummings, and recorded in surround-sound, this programme is unique of its kind.

“… Perfect casting for Hughes, who possesses a pellucid soprano that caresses the gentler phrases of Handel and his contemporaries. The opening arias, from the oratorio Susanna, showcases her charms to perfection. A later number, from Ciampi’s Camilla, also gives Hughes the opportunity to showcase her technical facility in showier music… Laurence Cummings’ conducting ably supports his soloist, whose voice is treated as part of the music texture rather than dominating it.” (Francis Muzzu, Classical Music magazine)

“… With her limpid purity of tone, immaculately even coloratura and graceful sense of style, Hughes is in many ways ideal in this repertoire… the OAE provide sensitively coloured accompaniments… The gentle beauty of Hughes’s voice, deployed with unfailing taste, can hardly fail to give pleasure, the music – not least the Queen of Sheba’s valedictory ‘Will the sun forget to streak’ – often touches the sublime, while the non-Handel items will come as delightful discoveries to many.” (Richard Wigmore, Gramophone magazine)

Ruby Hughes, soprano
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment
Laurence Cummings, conductor

Ruby Hughes
began her musical studies as a cellist graduating from the Guildhall School of Music in London. She went on to study voice at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater, Munich and the Royal College of Music, London, graduating in 2009.

Holder of a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award, Shortlisted for a 2014 Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award, Winner of both First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition and a former BBC New Generation Artist, Ruby Hughes is the daughter of the celebrated Welsh ceramicist Elizabeth Fritsch.

She made her debut at Theater an der Wein in 2009 as Roggiero in Rossini's Tancredi, returning as Fortuna in L’Incoronazione di Poppea. She has performed Euridice in L'Orfeo at Aix-en-Provence Festival, Sandrina L’infedelta delusa and Narcissa Philemon und Baucis at the Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, The Indian Queen at the Schwetzinger Festival, and Rose Maurrant Street Scene at the Opéra de Toulon.

In the UK she has performed major roles with English National Opera, Garsington Opera, The Opera Group, Music Theatre Wales and Scottish Opera. She also appeared in Sir Jonathan Miller’s acclaimed production of the St Matthew Passion at the National Theatre.

In concert, she has sung under conductors including Rinaldo Allesandrini, Ivor Bolton, Laurence Cummings, Thierry Fischer, HK Gruber, Pablo Heras Casado, Philippe Herreweghe, Rene Jacobs, Juanjo Mena, Gianandrea Noseda, Marc Minkowski, Hervé Niquet, Thomas Søndergård, John Storgårds, and Osmo Vanska to name a few, and with ensembles such as Les Arts Florissants, all the BBC Orchestras, Britten Sinfonia, Le Concert Spirituel, Concerto Koln, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Zurich Chamber Orchestra.

Festival appearances have included the Bach Fest Leipzig, BBC Proms, Cheltenham, Edinburgh International, La Folle Journée, Gent Festival OdeGand, Göttingen, Marlboro, Lockenhaus, Manchester International, Spitalfields, and West Cork.

She has broadcast & recorded extensively covering a wide range of repertoire including works by Bach, Barber, Berg, Britten, Crumb, Handel, Haydn, Mahler, Maxwell Davies, Macmillan, Mozart, Schubert & Schumann.

Ruby is a passionate recitalist & works closely with the pianists Julius Drake & Joseph Middleton. In 2016 she released her first solo recital disc 'Nocturnal variations', songs by Schubert, Mahler, Britten and Berg with pianist Joseph Middleton for the Champs Hill label, named BBC Music Magazine’s choice of the month. In the same month she appeared on the critically acclaimed disc ‘Purcell Songs Realised by Britten’ for the same label. A champion of women composers, she recently recorded ‘Heroines of Love and Loss’: a disc dedicated to 17th century women composers for the BIS label, with long-term collaborator Jonas Nordberg, which was Editor's Choice in Gramophone Magazine, and was awarded a Diapason d'or. In 2018 she releases a disc for Chandos Records with the OAE and Laurence Cummings dedicated to Giulia Frasi, Handel’s lyric muse.

She made her US recital debut in 2015 with Julius Drake at The Frick Collection in New York and in 2017 made her Carnegie Hall recital debut with a commissioned song cycle by Huw Watkins. She recently performed and recorded Mahler Symphony No.2 with the Minnesota Symphony under Osmo Vanska for BIS Records.

Recent and future highlights include recitals at Wigmore Hall (including a new commission by Helen Grime), Newbury Spring, International Handel Festispiele Gottingen, Presteigne, West Cork, and 3 Choirs Festivals. In the UK concerts include those with the OAE, BBC Phil, BBC NOW and RLPO and further afield a return to the RIAS Kammerkoor for performances of Purcell’s Fairy Queen, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder with Garry Walker and Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and a tour with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century.

Booklet for Handel's Last Prima Donna: Giulia Frasi in London

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