Jørgen Leth can squeeze poetry from a stone and wit from dust, and he can find love where the milk of human kindness runs dry. In a series of tableaux of Life in Denmark, he carries absurdism to a happy extreme. To act out his minuscule non-dramas, he uses a motley crew of professional actors like Ghita Nørby and Claus Nissen, writer Dan Turéll plus a snake charmer, a bicycle racer and a circus queen.
Leo was born in San Vito degli Schiavoni (current San Vito dei Normanni, province of Brindisi), then part of the Kingdom of Naples.
He became a student at the Conservatorio della Pietà dei Turchini at Naples in 1703, and was a pupil first of Francesco Provenzale and later of Nicola Fago. It has been supposed that he was a pupil of Pitoni and Alessandro Scarlatti, but he could not possibly have studied with either of these composers, although he was undoubtedly influenced by their compositions. His earliest known work was a sacred drama, L'infedelta abbattuta, performed by his fellow-students in 1712…
Fernando is the abandoned first draft of Handel’s opera Sosarme (performed at the King’s Theatre in February 1732)… Curtis’s pacing and shaping of Handel’s music is consistently subtle, astutely rhetorical and firmly connected to the libretto text. Although it might be possible to explore firmer muscularity and create a more vivid sense of surprise in the quicker music, there is something to be said for Curtis’s shrewd reservation of such effects for when it is truly vital for the drama. For instance, Marianna Pizzolato’s powerful arias “Vado al campo” and “Cuor di madre e cuor di moglie” are potently delivered moments of severe agitated passion that are all the more effective for the sweeter elegance that pervades much of this lovely score. The sublime duet “Per le porte” is sung with poetic intimacy by Lawrence Zazzo and Veronica Cangemi. Zazzo sings his elegantly heroic aria “Alle sfere della gloria” with supple clarity. Max Emanuel Cencic is impressive as the reticent Sancio, unwilling to be used as a pawn in his ruthless grandfather Altomaro’s Machiavellian plans to tear the royal family apart. Antonio Abete gives an ideal account of the villain’s arias… Fernando is one of Curtis’s most consistent and pleasing Handel opera recordings. (David Vickers, Gramophone)
Baroque conductor Johannes Somary directs a distinguished cast led by John Aler, Julianne Baird, countertenor Drew Minter, D’Anna Fortunata, Jennifer Lane, Nathaniel Watson, Raymond Pellerin and the Armor Artis Orchestra. A tale of violent court intrigue civil strife, frustrated love, ambition and suicide.
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.