Handel: Alcina Box set
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Top Customer Reviews
This is not the first complete recording of "Alcina." Two others, with Joan Sutherland and Arleen Auger in the title role, exist but are currently unavailable in the United States. However, this recording excels in making the characters human, the situations moving and valid, and the emotions palpable.
The first glory of the set is undoubtedly the singing of Renee Fleming in the title role. Her voice improves on her recorded predecessors by not only being exceptionally beautiful but irresistably sensuous as well. Her singing of Handel is a revelation, when her first aria is launched with a voice of fullness, warmth and creamy tone. This is no standard "period" soprano a la Emma Kirkby, but a real woman: Fleming believes in this character and her emotions, and makes her sympathetic to us. Her complete dramatic involvement make Alcina a living, breathing being, rather than a posturing cardboard nightingale.
Susan Graham is equally effective as Ruggiero, her voice as warm and beautiful as Fleming's. She may lack the full dramatic commitment to the character that Fleming has, but then Ruggiero is not as developed as Alcina. She does, however, contribute an exquisitely shaded and nuanced version of "Verdi prati.Read more ›
Also, accepting that emotional response varies with every listener, I don't quite see how someone couldn't be incredibly moved by moments in this performance. First and foremost would be Fleming's 12-minute aria in act II, which has to be one of the most sublime da capo aria performances on record. Christie's tempi here are perfect to boot, and the orchestral sound that wonderful mix of suavity and clarity which Les Arts Florissants virtually owns in the early music business.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As always, Renee Fleming was wonderful, especially in partnership with Susan Graham. Both complement each other.Published 8 months ago by Robin Hames
A beautiful recording, with fine performances from all the artists. Renee Fleming brings the right level of desperation and poignancy to the role of Alcina, and Dessay is a fine... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kiwimezzo
Excellent vocal. Can listen to it all day, all noght, or anytime Natalie likes to sing and provide an enjoyable background.Published on July 7, 2013 by A Lupien
Handel's "Alcina" is my all time favorite opera. There are not many recordings of it but this recording features the dream cast of Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Natalie Dessay. Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by Brent Trafton
I own two superficially very different recordings of this lovely opera and thought it might be helpful to compare them, as both star the reigning Handel diva of their day. Read morePublished on January 8, 2012 by Ralph Moore
Alcina, together with Orlando, have long become my favorite Handel's operas for their musical and dramatic values, and I tried to listen to every available recording of them, not... Read morePublished on December 17, 2011 by Anna Shlimovich
To me the most stunning operatic performance I have ever seen/heard recorded or in person was completely by accident. Read morePublished on August 17, 2011 by Henry B. Coons
Handel - Alcina / Fleming, Graham, Dessay, Kuhlmann, Robinson, Naouri, Lascarro, Les Arts Florissants, Christie is a recording under the direction of William Christie who leads Les... Read morePublished on May 21, 2010 by Bjorn Viberg
I'm not a purist.
If a performance is done with great respect for the music in general and more importantly if I like what I hear than it's obviously ok for me. Read more