Opera

Monteverdi: L’Orfeo

This is a re-packaging of a popular staging of Orfeo which previously appeared as an opusArte DVD, and which I saw at the Edinburgh Festival (with a slightly different cast) a few years ago. Savall swept into the auditorium with a flowing black gown (looking for all the world like Professor Snape on a mission) and the music burst forth. [...]

Steffani: Niobe, Regina di Tebe

This is a recording of the recent Covent Garden production, directed by Lukas Hemleb. With an excellent team of soloists and the fine Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble, under Thomas Hengelbrock’s reliable baton, this ought to have been a winner. [...]

Rameau: Castor & Pollux

As with Mozart, so with Rameau. When you’ve heard several operas (or even the same one several times) it’s easy to forget how brilliant they are. However, this recording offers a stimulus for renewed admiration by using the 1754 re-working of the 1737 original [...]

Agrippina

Ann Hallenberg S, Il Pomo d’Oro, Riccardo Minasi 74:34 deutsche harmonia mundi 88875053982 Arias by K. [...]

Mozart: La finta giardiniera

For long regarded simply as a precursor of the great comic operas of Mozart’s maturity, La finta giardiniera has more recently shown increasing signs of being accepted into the repertoire. Last year’s first-ever staging at Glyndebourne was mirrored across the Channel by this co-production mounted in Lille and Dijon. [...]

Cavalli: L’Ormindo

There is a dearth of recordings of L’Ormindo, only this version recorded in 2006 and the old Raymond Leppard Glyndebourne arrangement dating from 1967. Perhaps the success of the staging of the Royal Opera’s English language version under Christian Curnyn at the Globe has encouraged the publishers? [...]

Weber: Silvana

An opera in which the heroine doesn’t sing? Well, I suppose many of us will have experienced performances that inspired the feeling that it might be an improvement, but this is the only example I know of where the part was written in such a way. The first of Weber’s operas to achieve some success, Silvana has its roots in the composer’s first operatic venture, Das Waldmädchen of 1800. [...]

Veracini: Adriano in Siria

Adriano in Siria was the first of three operas written by the virtuoso violinist Francesco Maria Veracini for Handel’s London rivals, the Opera of the Nobility. It was first performed at the King’s Theatre on 26 February 1735, subsequently running to an impressive 20 performances. [...]

Handel: Rodelinda

This DVD is hardly worth listening to, let alone seeing. The speeds are dull – to take for example the overture (where was the minuet?), the largo was andante-larghetto; the allegro was andante. The tempi continue in such fashion [...]

Il Pianto d’Orfeo or the Birth of Opera

This intriguing CD takes the Orpheus legend as a springboard to explore the world of early opera. To a surprising extent the legend dominated the early years of opera, providing in its story a powerful message about the power of music, but also a hero who conveniently performs monophonically to his own instrumental accompaniment. [...]
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