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Handel: Rinaldo Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 10, 2000
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Product Details

  • Performer: Cecilia Bartoli, David Daniels, Bernarda Fink, Gerald Finley, Luba Orgonasova, et al.
  • Orchestra: The Academy of Ancient Music
  • Conductor: Christopher Hogwood
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (October 10, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B00006YYJ1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #154,238 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It is instructive to remember that when Handel went to Italy in 1707 to further his studies of composition and to study Italian Opera, that Opera was only a century old. It had begun in Italy in the early seventeenth century and was beginning to spread to other cities and courts in Europe. Opera was still sung in Italian and continued in that language simply because the great singers were Italian and preferred singing in their own language. When the popular arias were published, they were usually done in translation and sold by the ton making the publishers, and sometimes the composers, a great deal of money.

While it is not exactly clear how and why Handel was brought to London, he soon made a name for himself with the smash hit "Rinaldo". This opera is a fantasy or fairy tale based upon the notion of the Crusade to take Jerusalem around 1100 AD as a duty of Christian faith. As in most operas, the plot is quite convoluted in order to provide the maximum opportunity for the various kinds of singing the great singers could provide. One of the interesting features of opera at this time was the notion of two contrasting styles. There was the brilliant singing of great virtuosity and then there was the slower singing of great emotion. Many people were a fan of one style or the other, and many singers specialized in one or the other. It was dazzle them or make them weep. The greatest singers could do both. This opera provides every lead character with opportunities for both styles of singing and says a lot about the quality of singers Handel had at his disposal.

Handel's operas were not sung for a long time because of another feature of Italian opera at this time: the castrati.
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Comment 38 of 40 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
This is a magnificent recording with an absolute dream cast. Despite its historical context within the late 11th century battles between the Crusades and the Saracens, Handel's "Rinaldo", written in the early 18th century, is actually a fanciful tale of love, devotion and betrayal populated by kings and warriors, fair maidens and sorcerers. It has all the elements of a great period action movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

You need a real vocal swashbuckler in the title role, and countertenor David Daniels is ideally suited with a rarefied voice that is alternately heroic and romantic. With his stunning coloratura and dramatic intensity, it would be hard to imagine anyone better as the conflicted Christian hero Rinaldo, who can lead an entire army to take Jerusalem but still have trouble taking his true love Almirena away from the hands of evil magicians. Daniels is particularly convincing with the music that reflects his deep love for her, in particular, with Rinaldo's famous lament, "Cara sposa, amante cara, dove sei?". The beauty of his timbre really flows out of him in what seems like an effortless manner, and provides proof positive that his is a special talent. As great as he is here, Daniels actually surpassed this performance two years later in David Alden's audacious update of the opera, staged in Munich in 2001 and luckily captured on DVD two years later (also strongly recommended). While not the most ideal interpreter of Handel, superstar mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli displays her supreme technique as Almirena. Her style is famously full of dramatic fire, but one gets the sense that a more plaintive manner would be more appropriate for such a lovelorn character. I kept thinking she could have been better cast as the sorceress Armida were it as important a role.
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Format: Audio CD
This opera recording sounds grand. David Daniels sings the title role with both tenderness and a swagger. Bernarda Fink sings Goffredo, commander of the Christian forces. The incomparable Cecilia Bartoli sings the role of Rinaldo's betrothed -- an Almirena to die for. Daniel Taylor, Gerald Finley, Bejun Mehta, Mark Padmore -- this is a fabulous cast. I wasn't familiar with Luba Orgonasova who sings Armida, Queen of Damascus, but she's completely at home in here. The Academy of Ancient Music plays, Christopher Hogwood conducts.

Even the liner notes are a delight--a complete libretto along with the backgrounds and biography of all the performers. I love this music. I love these singers. I played this opera so much and so often that my dog, recognizing that I was immobile while this was playing, would just sack out. There are some nice "thunder effects" in one section of this. This dog was afraid of thunder but learned to sleep through the "opera thunder". This came in handy during real thunderstorms. I could slip this opera into the CD player and crank it up--my dog was instantly bored and would sleep through fireworks. I would listen to Mr. Handel's glorious music with nature's percussion overhead. Life could hardly get any better than this.
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Format: Audio CD
HIGHLY DRAMATIC PERFORMANCE OF 'RINALDO' ON THIS DISC.

Of George Frederick Handel of England, born Georg Friedrich Handel of Germany, an English critic wrote,"He did bestride our musical world like a Colossus." He was 18 when his Father died, thus allowing him to drop the Law mandated by his father, and turn to music which was his first love. After serving several apprenticeships in various places, including the Hamburg Opera, he went to Italy (1706), and for three years he absorbed Italian music, which powerfully influenced his own writing. It is not known for certain what prompted him to make London his home, but nevertheless, in 1720 he went there, and for 10 years contributed musically to England. And so the international German who wrote like an Italian became a naturalized Englishman in 1726, though he never lost his German accent.

The first opera Handel produced for London, and the first Italian opera specifically composed for London stage- was 'Rinaldo',which opened at the Queen's (later King's) Theatre in the Haymarket on Feb.24,1711. Giocomo Rossi wrote the libretto for 'Rinaldo' loosely based on episodes from Torquato's epic poem 'Gerusalemme liberta', a fantastically elaborated account of the First Crusade(1096-99) in which Tasso describes how Christian forces led by Godfrey of Bouillon captured the city of Jerusalem from Muslim rule. Handel partially ensured the success of the music by drawing much of it from the best works he had written earlier in Italy. There is , however, plenty of freshly composed music in the score as well. Handel, taking advantage of the many skilled instrumentalists available in London, used a wide variety of them to create a wonderful range of orchestral color.
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