Under baroque-pioneer conductor Alan Curtis, the sorceress Alcina bewitches as never before for Handel year 2009
Alan Curtis, lauded by Opera as “one of our finest conductors of Baroque opera,” illumines Handel’s masterpiece, Alcina, by casting, as heroine, the brilliant Joyce DiDonato
Since Alcina is historically dared by virtuosic sopranos like Sutherland and Battle, this innovative recording with a mezzo is a must-have not just for Alcina freaks but all who adore sensational vocalism
As Handel did in his time, Curtis arrays our era’s finest Baroque singers – such as Maite Beaumont and Karina Gauvin – in supporting roles around his star
With this electrifying Alcina, first ever studio recording of the rarely heard Ezio and Rolando Villazón’s new album, Handel Year 2009 is being exceptionally well feted by Deutsche Grammophon.
Alan Curtis continues his exemplary series of Handel operas for Archiv with Ezio, a 1732 work that has received few modern productions. Its initial limited success and failure to generate much interest until the late twentieth century may have to do with its length (over three hours), its preponderance of recitatives, and the composer's reluctance to use the voices together in ensembles, so that the entire opera, until the final chorus, consists of solo singing. Handel's gift for astute psychological insight and distinctive musical characterization is evident throughout the score, and the recitatives, which are necessary for explicating Metastasio's convoluted plot, are not a problem when they are performed with as much vivid dramatic realism as they are here.