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Peter Loewen
American Record Guide, September 2012

Hasse’s music is absolutely gorgeous, and Valer Berna-Sabadus’s singing is astonishing! Of course his voice is high, but that seems beside the point when one considers the extreme subtlety of his voice. There is no reaching or screeching here, only pure beauty.

The program presents arias and recitatives from three kinds of works where 18th Century audiences would have encountered a voice like this, all by Hasse: his opera Didone Abbandonata of 1742, his cantata La Gelosia of 1762, and his pastichio Artaserse of 1734. Each of them will put you on the edge of your seat. Arias like ‘Chiama mi Pur Cosi’ from Didone Abbandonata and ‘Giura il Nocchier che al Mar’ from La Gelosia give you all the fireworks your heart could desire. But the slow melodic arias like ‘Cadra fra Poco in Cenere’ from Didone Abbandonata are the ones that will melt your heart. © 2012 American Record Guide

Bertil van Boer
Fanfare, July 2012

…the performance and music itself can demonstrate how important a figure [Johann Adolph Hasse] was for vocal music in the Classical period.

In the second part [of the four arias], the first notes begin in the upper register (which Barna-Sabadus performs eerily with almost a whistle tone), before devolving into the usual exquisite technical display. This sort of virtuosity forms the core of the third aria, “Chiama mi pur così,” with its tortuous leaps and runs…The vocal restraint is palpable throughout. When finally rejected by Dido, he launches into a warning that her kingdom will be ground into dust with an extremely effective menacing string accompaniment. One can practically feel the rage simmering underneath, and because he does not allow the singer to explode in vocal display, the passion and drama are maintained…the Porpora aria…is positively tame, beginning with a trippy little gigue and ending with the expected series of roulades to a passacaglia bass.

…the second and third movements…settle into a reasonable pace, with fine playing especially by the oboes and strings. Hofstetter keeps the pace throughout moving along, and the orchestra never overwhelms the singer, rather playing the appropriate supporting role, even when the lines become equal in difficulty with the vocal part. The real sensation, however, is Barna-Sabadus, whose clear and flexible voice gives to my mind a true sense of what castrati could accomplish. He is always on pitch, every nuance and articulation is precise and clear, and his range and interpretations are, in a word, brilliant…this disc should be in your collection. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert Levine, June 2012

The countertenor tree continues to blossom, and it has borne a new, versatile, high-placed voice in the person of a 26-year-old Romanian named Valer Barna-Sabadus. He flaunts his bright, brilliant tone, his fluency in very fast runs, and his exquisite legato.

All of the music presented here is worthy and radiantly performed, not only by our soloist, but by the 19-piece Hofkapelle München, sometimes stripped down to strings and at others with horns, bassoons, and oboes. Michael Hofstetter is the very able conductor. This is a superb disc for lovers of the high Baroque and beginnings of bel canto, not to mention countertenor singing. © 2012 Read complete review

Brian Wilson Download Roundup
MusicWeb International, June 2012

Hasse was due for a revival and that’s the leitmotiv behind the Oehms release and its rather quirky title, as countertenor soloist Valer Barna-Sabadus maintains in the booklet. All concerned make strong advocates for Hasse’s music. I hadn’t encountered the soloist before but I shall certainly be looking for further opportunities to hear his beautifully clear-toned voice.

Oehms and the Hofkapelle München have already done good service for Hasse… © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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