Emma Bell - Handel - Scotland on Sunday

Emma Bell's first operatic recital CD focuses on the composer who brought her instant renown in 1998 when she took over the title role in Rodelinda at almost no notice, in a production for Glyndebourne Touring Opera.

If the opening aria, "Desterò dall empia dite" from Amadigi, sees a vengeful Melissa (one of Handel's many sorceresses) seeking defiant retribution, other selections allow Bell to demonstrate a softer side, including laments from Rodelinda and, as Cleopatra, from Giulio Cesare.

Indeed, since the chosen works tend to be either "attack" arias or lamentations, as a composer, Handel doesn't really give the singer much chance to broaden her emotional base. Here, though, the singing is first-rate, the talent undeniable.

Scotland on Sunday