Kate Lindsey - Arianna - The Times

Kate Lindsey, the American mezzo, the glory of many opera houses, sits on the album cover splayed over black rocks, staring at a glowering sea and sky. She’s not a happy bunny. But who expects that of Ariadne, the Cretan princess in Greek mythology who saved Theseus from the sacrificial maze and fell in love, only for the rotter to dump her on the island of Naxos without even budget-label CDs to cheer her up?

Three variations of this story appear in the cantatas by Haydn, Handel and Alessandro Scarlatti featured on Arianna — a marvellous vehicle for Lindsey’s dramatic gifts and chameleon skill in changing colours as these emotional rollercoasters sweep on.

Ranging between melting tenderness and boiling rage, Scarlatti’s L’Ariannaparticularly impresses, with extra drama on hand from Jonathan Cohen’s instrumental ensemble Arcangelo. There’s greater musical poise in Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos, from the 18th century’s other end, though it’s the only work to leave the heroine on the brink of suicide. Whatever the music’s mood, Lindsey gives 100 per cent commitment to every word and note.

The Times
31 January 2020