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Handel: Rinaldo Import, Box set

4.7 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Box set, May 13, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

The relatively recent recording of Rinaldo on Decca led by Christopher Hogwood and starring Cecilia Bartoli and David Daniels is so good you'd think another wouldn't be necessary. But along comes this one, thrillingly led by René Jacobs, with a spectacular cast of Handelians, and now it's somewhat hard to choose. Jacobs presents a vivid, exciting, very theatrical performance which leaps from the speakers. His Armida, Inga Kalna is a remarkable singer, with plenty of bite and embellished flights into the stratosphere; Viveca Genaux makes a fine hero, singing with beautiful tone, and, alternately, tenderness and heroism; Miah Persson is a lovely Almirena; James Rutherford excites as Argante; and the rest of the cast is top-notch. The Baroque orchestra pounces on the music's more dramatic moments with vigor but can spin out enchanting melodies when required. If you can't own both, stick with this one: It will make you understand just how exciting Handel opera can be. --Robert Levine

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Ouverture
  2. Recitativo & Aria: Delle Nostre Fatiche: Sovra Balze Scoscese
  3. Recitativo: Signor, Gia Dal Tuo Senno
  4. Aria: Combatti Da Forte
  5. Recitativo & Aria: Questi Saggi Consigli: Qgn'indugio
  6. Chiamata/Recitativo: Signor, Che Delle Stelle: Sulla Ruota Di Fortuna
  7. Aria: Sibilar Gli Angui
  8. Recitativo: Goffredo, Se T'arrise
  9. Aria: No, No, Che Quest'alma
  10. Recitativo & Aria: Infra Dubbi Di Marte Vieni, O Cara
  11. Aria: Furie Terribili
  12. Recitativo & Accompagnato: Come A Tempo Giungesti
  13. Aria: Molto Voglio
  14. Aria: Augelletti
  15. Recitativo: Adorato Mio Sposo
  16. Duetto: Scherzano Sul Tuo Volto
  17. Recitativo & Preludio: Al Valor Del Mio Brando
  18. Aria: Cara Sposa

Disc: 2

  1. Recitativo: Ch'insolito Stupore
  2. Aria: Cor Ingrato
  3. Recitativo: Io All'ora Impugno Il Brando
  4. Aria: Col Valor
  5. Recitativo & Aria: Di Speranza Un Bel Raggio Venti, Turbini
  6. Aria: Siam Prossimi Al Porto
  7. Recitativo: A Quel Sasso Bramato
  8. Aria A 2: Il Vostro Maggio
  9. Recitativo: Qual Incognita Forza
  10. Aria: Il Tricerbero Umiliato
  11. Recitativo & Aria: Signor, Strano Ardimento! Mio Cor, Che Mi Sai Dir?
  12. Sinfonia
  13. Recitativo: Armida Dispietata!
  14. Aria: Lascia Ch'io Pianga
  15. Recitativo: Tu, Del Mio Cor Reina
  16. Aria: Basta Che Sol Tu Chieda
  17. Recitativo: Cingetemi D'allori
  18. Duetto: Fermati
  19. Recitativo: Crudel, Tu Ch'involasti
  20. Aria: Abbrucio, Avvampo E Fremo
  21. Recitativo: Dunque I Lacci D'un Volto
  22. Aria: Ah, Crudel
  23. Recitativo: Riprendiam D'Almirena
  24. Aria: Vo'far Guerra

Disc: 3

  1. Recitativo: Quivi Par Che Rubelle
  2. Sinfonia
  3. Recitativo & Aria E Recitativo: Qui Vomita Cocito Andate, O Forti
  4. Preludio
  5. Aria: Sorge Nel Petto
  6. Recitativo: Al Trionfo S'affretti E' Un Incendio
  7. Recitativo: Chiuso Fra Quelle Mura
  8. March
  9. Recitativo & Duetto: In Quel Bosco: Al Trionfo Del Nostro Furore
  10. Recitativo & Aria: Di Quei Strani Accidenti: Bel Piacere
  11. Recitativo: Signor, L'oste Nemica
  12. Aria: Di Sion, Nell'alta Sede
  13. March & Recitativo: Se Cio Te In Grado
  14. Aria: Or La Tromba
  15. Recitativo: Miei Fidi
  16. Battaglia
  17. Recitativo: Goffredo, Ecco Il Superbo
  18. Coro: Vinto E Sol Dalla Virtu

Product Details

  • Performer: Vivica Genaux, Miah Persson, Lawrence Zazzo, Inga Kalna, James Rutherford, et al.
  • Orchestra: Freibruger Baroqueorchester
  • Conductor: Rene Jacobs
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (May 13, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Import, 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: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00008N6IW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #394,008 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It is indeed a luxury to have 3 decent recordings of Rinaldo on period instruments when so many of Handel's operas are still to be recorded, but if the name of René Jacobs appears on the last one, well, that's as good a reason to buy it as you are going to get.
Jacobs is the star of the show, he does many splendid things and some rather weird ones, but: 1.he is never boring, 2.he knows what he is doing and why, and...3.he does it very well.
Christopher Hogwood on the rival DECCA recording is quite simply no competition, he is bland, unimaginative and boring. Pity that DECCA didn't use Christophe Roussett instead.
Jacob's cast is generally excellent but DECCA has 4 trump cards: Luba Orgonasova, Bernarda Fink, Gerald Finley and Cecilia Bartoli (of course). For sheer voice quality they are better than Jacobs' singers, but Jacobs sees that his cast make an even more vivid impression. More problematic in both recordings is the title role. Rinaldo is a bravura role, and demands a considerable voice. In a perfect world a young Marilyn Horne would have been ideal. David Daniels certainly has a lovely voice, but it's insufficient for this kind of roles, a coloratura mezzo is a much wiser solution. Vivica Genaux should have been ideal, but her voice seems too high for the role, more contralto generosity would had been appreciated in "Cara sposa". All in all I would still prefer Carolyn Watkinson in the old Malgoire recording (but the orchestral playing in that set leaves something to be desired), but if the choice is between Daniels and Geneaux, I would opt for her.
The fabulous Freiburger Barockorchester quite outclasses Hogwood's band, their playing is nothing short of spectacular.
Jacobs makes Rinaldo a very theatrical experience on audio, it is very enjoyable and I don't think we will get another one in decades.
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Format: Audio CD
There is always room for a new recording of any opera and if not for the crisis in music industry, we would be still getting a couple of new Figaros, Traviatas, Aidas etc. per year. Handel, however, is not Mozart or Verdi (in terms of popularity) and it takes a particularly huge dose of courage in this time of crisis to do what Harmonia Mundi did by releasing this new "Rinaldo" only two years after a successful recording under Christopher Hogwood appeared on the market. This is exactly what we expect of HM - courage in undertaking musical projects, regardless their 'bankability' and the highest standards of execution (also applied to the packaging) that put "Universal" to shame. I was eagerly looking forward to this new set, hoping that it would help me discover the beauty of an opera I wasn't able to appreciate in Hogwood's recording. It had its merits, to be sure, but the limp and antiheroic David Daniels made it impossible to listen to, at least for me. Bartoli was a great Almirena, but - with her partner so effeminate - she sounded too heroic, almost like "Freedom Guiding the People" in the famous painting by Delacroix. Well, that's at least what I thought before I heard the present recording.
Rene Jacobs is one of my favorite conductors of Baroque music. His passion for the music he performs is never in doubt and this always makes his recordings rather special, as does his experimenting with the scores which always adds to the music's flavour. Those were the qualities I expected to find in this set and I found them in abundance - Jacob's conducting is certainly a great asset of this new "Rinaldo".
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Format: Audio CD
This recording shows exactly what Handel and Baroque Opera in general are able to do, when handled by the right conductor/singers/musicians. This music is never boring, never "reserved, emotionally cool, etc." or any other adjectives sometimes used to describe (bad) performances from the genre. It's more music than drama, YES, but that's to be expected from this period, and with music and an approach this good, who needs "dramatic cohesion" anyway?
Handels' music here is full of surprises, in terms of the sequence of arias presented here. Colorful orchestration, interesting vocal melodies and turns of phrase, plenty of room for both technical and expressive virtuoso singing, all combine into a springboard for conductor Jacobs and the Frieburg Baroque Orchestra to make the music become personal and really become something more than what's written on the page.
Immediately recognizable is the sound of Jacob's orchestra: it's crisp but never metallic, intense and full of emotion (compare to the sounds of the strings on recordings by Manze of other Handel works), and lets Handel's voicings, harmonies, orchestrations, etc. really shine through. I'm not a music theorist, but Jacobs alllows anyone to hear what Handel is doing within the orchestral parts, and not just through them i.e. why he voices the strings and/or winds one way versus another at different points in the piece. Jacobs also allows the musicians considerable improvistory freedom: there's too many to mention, but a good example is the 4(!) harpsichord solos in Armida's showy aria "Vo Far a Guerra." These and other ad-lib parts show off the players' chops in an effort to make the music sound alive and not like a museum piece that is being dusted off for historical interest.
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