Rewritten with enhanced regal bravado for the coronation of George II, Handel's 1727 opera of Richard the Lionheart is a rarely heard but rewarding enterprise. Goodwin conducts a fervent Basel Chamber Orchestra in this new scholarly version, fully exploiting the dramatic twists of the King's quest to reclaim his abducted fiancée, Constanza. Amid much nice character-building from the decent cast, Nuria Rial enjoys Constanza's luxuriant lines, while Lawrence Zazzo revels as the Lionheart. Riccardo's Act III revenge aria is truly ominous, furiously driven by Goodwin and some innovative brass writing. (The Times)
"Rescue operas are not what one is used to associating with Handel, yet that, in a sense, is what this is. Costanza, a princess of Navarre, has been shipwrecked on Cyprus, where she now awaits the arrival of her betrothed, Richard the Lionheart (yes, the same). The island's tyrannical ruler, Isacio, fancies her for himself, however, and spends the entire opera trying to prevent the intended union from going ahead, first by sending Riccardo his daughter Pulcheria instead, and, when that has failed thanks to Pulcheria's brave entreaties, by imprisoning Costanza and declaring war. Only with his final defeat by Riccardo's army, aided by Pulcheria's own fiancé Oronte, do things finally turn out happily.
Co-chief conductors Riccardo Minasi and Maxim Emelyanychev take turns on the podium leading this period-instrument band in a rousing collection of concertos by Haydn. Il Pomo d'Oro has been hailed "a wonderful ensemble, and Minasi an outstanding musician" capable of "bringing the house down with his virtuosity" (The Guardian). Emelyaychev's award-winning harpsichord joins Minasi's violin in the soloists' spotlight, along with the distinguished natural horn of Johannes Hinterholzer. The concertos are complemented by Haydn's Symphony No 83 (known as The Hen, because of the ‘clucking’ figures on the strings in its second movement) and his Keyboard Fantasia Hob.XVII:4.
Born in Forlì (Italy) in 1951, Riccardo Zappa is widely recognized as the greatest Italian acoustic guitarist. For five consecutive years he was voted the best in the poll promoted by the famous monthly magazine "Guitar Club". After that, he was declared to be no longer eligible for nomination. His music is in fact quite unique in the whole Italian prog scene; not can many other comparisons be found outside Italy, except perhaps Mike Oldfield, for his long, acoustic-based instrumental compositions…