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  • Handel: Giove in Argo
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Handel: Giove in Argo

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Audio CD, July 2, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Virgin Classics presents a new complete opera recording Handel's Giove in Argo conducted by Alan Curtis, a supreme Handelian conductor and scholar. The opera is one of Handel's three pasticcio works made up of music and arias from his previous operas. Even though the work premiered at the King's Theatre in London on 1739 to a full house, after one more performance the opera disappeared from the stage. Whether it was due to possible reconstruction or its unpopularity, Giove in Argo was never performed again.

Featured in this recording is an all-star cast including Ann Hallenberg, Theodora Baka, Karina Gauvin, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani, Johannes Weisser, and Ito Priante. The European ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, under the direction of its founder Curtis, is also heard in this recording.

Alan Curtis is one of the most acclaimed specialists in the interpretation of pre-romantic music. The New York Times' recently proclaimed him as one of the great scholar-musicians of recent times". In 2010, Virgin Classics released Curtis' recording of Handel's opera Berenice. Opera News welcomed it, saying: "At the helm of the superb period-instrument ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, with its smooth violin section and supple, energetic continuo, Alan Curtis paces a well-chosen cast with his customary precision and command ... Singers never seem musically constrained or theatrically hampered, and ... the cast exhibits a welcome sureness with Handel's style and rhetorical presentation, both individually and as an ensemble."

Gramophone has said that "Alan Curtis has done more than most to prove that many of Handel's 42 operas are first-rate music dramas", while the BBC Music Magazine has praised him as "a seasoned Handelian who has contributed, perhaps more than anyone now, to the composer's operas on disc."

Product Details

  • Performer: Ann Hallenberg, Karina Gauvin, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani, Vito Priante, Theodora Baka, et al.
  • Orchestra: Il Complesso Barocco
  • Conductor: Alan Curtis
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (July 2, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Erato Disques
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,840 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paul Van de Water on July 20, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Giove in Argo (Jupiter in Argos) is a pasticcio that Handel composed late in his opera-writing career. The libretto had been previously used by Antonio Lotti in an opera that Handel probably heard in Dresden decades earlier. For music, Handel recycled arias and choruses from a dozen of his own previous works, plus a couple of arias by Francesco Araja (likely selected by one of the leading ladies); he also composed several new arias. This recording is the first to employ a new critical edition by Handel scholar John H. Roberts of Berkeley. Because some of the original music has been lost, Roberts has had to reconstruct about two thirds of the recitatives, as well as a few of the other numbers.

Giove is a pastoral entertainment (like Acis and Galatea, Il Pastor Fido, and Parnasso in Festo), not a musical drama, and it succeeds admirably on these terms. It is a story of love between nymphs and shepherds, based on accounts of Jupiter's love for two mortal women, here named Calisto and Isis (Iside). Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco add to their acclaimed series of Handel operas with another sparkling performance. Ann Hallenberg (who starred in the Curtis DVD of Ariodante) and Karina Gauvin (who has sung Cleopatra and Ginevra with Curtis) shine as the two leading ladies. Recommended strongly for Handel enthusiasts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Abert TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 4, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Giove in Argo is a pasticcio by Handel, made up of certain ‘recycled’ materials of Handel’s other works and some from the Italian composer Francesco Araja. It tells of Jupiter, disguised as a shepherd, coming to Arcadia to flirt with two women, one of whom is seeking revenge for the murder of her father. The characters flop backwards and forward between fury, love and jealousy, and end up tangled into a knotty heap of amorous misunderstandings, disguises, and flirtation.
Alan Curtis lined up a team of terrific singers for this pasticcio – headed by Ann Hallenberg, Karina Gauvin, Johannes Weisser. These soloists also make up the small chorus and you can hear their voices in the choral pieces, some thing not so frequently found in operatic recordings.
As the furious goddess Diana, Baka’s mezzo-soprano is very light-weight and she sings with a seductively lyrical wine-dark timbre. Johannes Weisser is Lyacone, the tyrant of Arcadia. His opening aria ‘Affanno trianno’ is highly effective.
The luscious sounding Ann Hallenberg as Iside (Isis) is the betrothed of the King of Egypt Osiri. Her scene with Arete (Giove) sung by Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani is very effective. Iside’s aria ‘Taci, e spera’ is very vividly rendered. The Senesino role of Arete/Jupiter under Lotti’s namesake opera is tackled by a tenor, here the young Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani. This is probably the only opera of Handel that did not employ any castrato in the cast. The role of Iside also sings some arias written by the Italian composer Francesco Araja instead of Handel himself. The young tenor Giustiniani tackles the aria ‘Semplicetto! a donna credi?
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Format: Audio CD
What wonderful arias this opera has. Yes, I am very superficial, to me the amount of great arias and sweet melodies are more important than the libretto and the drama. After I have listened to a Baroque opera once or twice completely the following listening session only consist of my favorite aria's. I just love good songs, and this opera is packed with them!
The performance and recording both are excellent, although I think the sound is a bit too dry.
Alan Curtis has a straight, no frills way of conducting and it works well with this material, although I suspect William Christie would have been more lyrical and vocal.
I love Theodora Baka's voice. "Non ingannarmi, cara speranza" is one of Handel's most beautiful arias.
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