Ever the recycler, Handel cobbled together Oreste from parts of pre-existing scores for his 1734 season at Covent Garden. The work promptly disappeared from the repertory for the next 250 years – a fact that is both understandable, given that it's a less convincing result than his fully original operas, and a shame, since Handel's table scraps are still amongst the most entertaining morsels from the period. The present recording, by George Petrou, the Camerata Stuttgart, and a cast of mostly Greek singers, is its first complete performance on CD and an admirably realized production, characterized by polished, stylish singing and vivid orchestral playing. In style, sound, and dramatic pacing, Petrou's effort distinguishes itself as a fine entry in the Handelian opera catalog, and makes a compelling argument for the musical value of the piece itself.
In the winter of 1733-1734, the opera houses of London were abounding in Ariannas. In late December, Porpora's Arianna in Nasso was staged by the Opera of the Nobility. In late January, Handel's Arianna in Creta was staged by the composer's own opera company. Comparison, apparently, proved odious – and fatal: Porpora's Naxos Arianna has fallen from the repertoire while Handel's Cretan Arianna has barely hung on by her finger tips. This 2005 Greek performance with George Petrou leading the Orchestra of Patras is the work's first recording in decades – and, thankfully, it's quite fine. Most of the women soloists – and whether their characters are male or female, most of the parts here are sung by woman because most of the parts then were written for castratos – are terrific. Mata Katsuli is sweet but strong in the title role and Theodora Baka is especially effective and affecting as Alceste. The period instrument Orchestra of Patras is stylish, colorful, and lively, particularly the winds and brass playing in the finale. As captured in Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm characteristically crisp, deep, and detailed sound, this Arianna is well worth hearing by anyone who reveres the operas of the German-English composer.(James Leonard)
Decca presents a new recording of Handel's Ottone, re di Germania starring the finest countertenor voice of our day (Opernwelt) Max Emanuel Cencic and a superb cast under the baton of George Petrou with Il Pomo d'Oro. Premiered in London in 1723, Ottone was one of Handel's most successful operas during his lifetime. This rare recording breathes new life into one of the master's greatest works and features three bonus arias performed in the 1726 revival.
It could be argued that Händel’s Giulio Cesare is, in a sense, the La Bohème of Baroque opera: surely performed both more frequently and more widely afield than any of Händel’s other operas, Giulio Cesare is the most popular of Händel’s operas and the one that is most known even by audiences with limited exposure to Baroque opera. This familiarity led to the long-held assumption that Giulio Cesare was likewise the finest of Händel’s operatic scores, a supposition that has been challenged during the past two decades by more frequent – and more impressive – performances of Händel’s lesser-known operas…
Celebrate the 250th anniversary of Handel's death with this impressive box set. 30-CD box set of the composer's most celebrated works–including the Royal Fireworks and Water Music, The Messiah, concerti grossi and much more! Featuring conductors Sir Neville Marriner, Christopher Hogwood, Trevor Pinnock, Mark Minkowski and others. Performances by the Gabrielli Players, Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, English Baroque Soloists and others.