This is the best recording so far of Partenope. Krisztina Laki is splendid in the lead role as is Helga Muller-Molinari as Rosmira and John York Skinner as Armindo. Rene Jacobs in the counter-tenor role of Arsace does a fine job considering the date of this recording. The orchestra plays with great vitality. This is the recommended recording of this opera.
This recording is the first official release in any format of this once-in-a-lifetime concert performance featuring Dame Joan Sutherland and Fritz Wunderlich. In 1959 performances of Handel were just beginning to embrace the original instrument movement making this recording an invaluable historic record of performance practice. In addition to musicological interest, the CDs present Joan Sutherland at the beginning of her illustrious career in the full bloom of youth. She was flown in as a last minute replacement for the scheduled soprano and proceeded to give a virtuoso performance of the demanding title role. Full of Handel's gorgeous melodies and with vocal fireworks in bountiful supply, it is no wonder that Sutherland completely awed the German public. She is joined by Fritz Wunderlich, the acclaimed German tenor, in their one-and-only collaboration. He as well was a last minute replacement and rises to the exacting demands of Handel. His rich and pliant tone is perfectly suited to the technical and dramatic demands of the opera.
Following in their series of Gramophone Award and BBC Music Magazine Award winning recordings, Gabrieli’s first Handel recording in over a decade is particularly special – recreating in painstaking detail the very first performance of L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, given in 1740, with additional instrumental repertoire including a Handel organ concerto and two concerti grossi. With a reputation as peerless Handelians, Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort & players bring meticulous research to every performance and recording project, and are joined on this disc by a stunning selection of soloists.
A warm welcome back for this 1977 recording of Handel’s most successful opera, which ran, in 1727, for an unprecedented 19 performances. Curtis and his team were visionary 20 years ago. Recitative is lively, declaimed rather than fully sung; vocal decorations sound spontaneous, period instruments are played with zest and polish – barely a sour note from the handful of strings; colours include a trio of oboes and bassoon and, accompanying Bowman in fine voice, a pair of horns for what Dr Burney described as ‘one of the best and most agreeable hunting songs that was ever composed’. Jacobs reflects the volatile title role, impassioned in his death-bed scene which opens the opera, virtuosic elsewhere, though his affected swoops become rather predictably mannered. Yakar and Gomez sing Alceste and Antigone, roles which Handel wrote for Faustina and Cuzzoni, whose jealous rivalry led them, on stage, to ‘call Bitch and Whore’ and ‘pull each other’s coiffs’! Here, Faustina could not more beautifully have ‘sung adagios with great passion and expression’ than Yakar, while Gomez surely matches Cuzzoni’s ability to ‘conceal every appearance of difficulty’ – contemporary descriptions of their outstanding powers. You may want to tweak tone controls to moderate the bright, remastered sound. (George Pratt BBC Music Magazine)
Raymond Leppard's recording . . . has remained for me the benchmark against which other recordings are measured . . . Janet Baker sings brilliantly as Ariodante. She flies through the coloratura with ease and presents a complete portrayal of the title character . . . Edith Mathis is a strong Ginevra, beautifully sung. We easily believe that she has the strength to resist Polinesso but is vulnerable enough to despair at the unjust accusations leveled against her . . . And with Samuel Ramey in his prime we have an excellent King of Scotland. (Ron Salemi, Fanfare)
For the 1727 season – the waning days of opera's popularity in London – transplanted German composer George Frederick Handel wrote no less than three operas for the English capital's stage. Tolomeo, rè d'Egitto was the last and least enthusiastically received of them. Unsuccessfully revived in 1730 and then again in 1733, Tolomeo was unperformed for the next 200 years, and even now, it remains one of Handel's least performed and recorded operas. Prior to this Archiv set, only a 1995 Vox recording of the work with Richard Auldon Clark leading the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra had been released in the digital era.
Such stalwarts as Christopher Hogwood, Marc Minkowski, John Eliot Gardiner, and Nicholas McGegan tackled Handel's early oratorio La Resurrezione before Emmanuelle Haïm, but hers may well be the most passionate performance of the once-rare work yet recorded. Part of the reason is Haïm's own fiery nature. Nothing here is merely filler: every aria, recitative, and interlude is played for maximum musical and emotional value. Part of her success is due to Haïm's choice of soloists. While some listeners might wish soprano Camilla Tilling brought more strength to her part, she and the other four soloists bring plenty of intensity to their singing.
Led by Christopher Hogwood, the Academy of Ancient Music has made many renowned recordings of Handel's music-particularly the oratorios. The beloved Messiah heads up this 8-CD set, followed by Esther; La Resurezzione , and, making its return to the international catalog after an absence of several years, the 1985 recording of Athalia -with none other than Joan Sutherland in the title role! Recorded in London, 1979-85.