"An extraordinary voice, very clear diction, rich and inimitable sound" – Monica Huggett
"Ms. Gould brought to these Rossi selections a timbre alternately opulent and translucent as called upon by the character, her dramatic impulses sensitively absorbed and enhanced by the able and elegant playing of violinists Diego Castelli and Dario Palmisano. Castelli and Palmisano shined in several overtures and dance movements from Orfeo and elsewhere, while harpsichordist Davide Pozzi performed a selection from the Manuscrit Bauyn with rhythmic momentum and stylistic verve...
Giacomo Carissimi’s "Apritevi Inferni" was the show stopper, literally and figuratively. This monologue for a penitent sinner opens with two-octave leaps and finishes off with hair-raising runs of coloratura passagework that go in every direction imaginable, including several repeated high C’s. Clearly a product of the Counter-Reformation propaganda machine, it expresses the church’s goal of restoring order to a world threatened by chaos-producing rebellion.
I’ve never heard this specific piece sung before by anyone, probably because so few can, but in my experience with something like this, a singer either executes this kind of passagework with consummate ease or undermines the whole thing with even the slightest hint of technical struggle. Gould is master of it.
The apocalyptic dramatic expression she and her colleagues brought to the performance was as shocking and delightful as the precision and command of possibly the most demanding melismas I have ever heard in a baroque vocal work ever. Kudos to the superb basso continuo team Cantalupi and Pozzi for opening up the very gates of hell itself with a muscular earthquake of an introduction on instruments that are often (mis)perceived as precious and delicate.
"The opening number, Gelosia by Luigi Rossi, features Gould delivering spiraling and shivering intensity around an elegantly propulsive baroque backdrop supplied by chitarrone player Diego Cantalupi and harpsichordist Davide Pozzi. Gould’s voice is very distinctive, with a starkly cutting edge: she is clearly here to leave a mark rather than to trill off in any kind of generically balmy way.
Violinists Diego Castelli and Dario Palmisano pulse in with an almost otherworldly swoop in a hauntingly waltzing passage from Pietro Francesco Cavalli’s Calisto, Gould echoing that magic with Restino Imbalsamate, her achingly incisive aria afterward. The rest of the album’s nineteen tracks comprise an eclectic mix. There’s a lilting folk dance along with more stately themes by Giovanni Battista Lulli (birth name of the Florentine-turned-Parisian Jean Baptiste Lully); Gould’s dexterous take of Sdegno, campion audace, a rapid-fire Virgilio Mazocchi miniature; the bravura final movement from Giacomo Carissimi’sApritevi Inferni glistening with melismatic sparkle; and considerable material from Rossi’s 1647 operaOrfeo.
Counter-Reformation conspiracies, hubris and tragedy sit side by side with a dynamically shifting sweep and Gould’s electrifying voice. The production quality, rich with natural reverb, amplifies this talented ensemble beyond the sum of its parts."
"The delicacy of Diego Cantalupi's playing and Jessica’s melancholy singing create alternating waves of shimmer and shadow, to haunting effect. It’s a lovely album." – Billevesées
"...arriva la cristallina voce del soprano newyorkese Jessica Gould" – Modenanoi
Jessica Gould has a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and verve. You might even say that she "belts" this music out. The ensemble is a sweet one. They and Ms. Gould take us swiftly and readily to another time and place. A few listens and I was very well disposed to this program. I like the rough and tumble local edge to it all and the timbre of the music reminds us that there was a special sound to it that has much to offer us – Gapplegate Classical Modern Music Review
"This album acts much like an aural wine tasting, suggesting that some of Caravaggio’s paintings pair well, in subject and style, with musical works composed in the same general time and place...Jessica Gould's voice is lovely...Diego Cantalupi plays with command."
– Early Music America
"Diego Cantalupi displays a consistent mastery of the music, and Gould herself has a fine sense of drama." – Early Music Review
"Jessica Gould, un soprano dalla potenza eccezionale...Diego Cantalupi, un virtuoso liutista con grande finezza e competenza esecutiva" – La Notiziah24
"A dramatic intensity that honored the texts." – The New York Times