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Handel: Rodelinda Box set, Import

3.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, December 23, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Rodelinda may be standard-issue opera seria--da capo (ABA-form) arias linked by a plain recitative dramatizing a convoluted plot--but it's among the most compelling works of its kind. Nicholas Kraemer's performance doesn't have all the energy or vocal opulence one might want, but it's certainly the most prettily-sung and stylish Rodelinda available. In the title role, Sophie Daneman's every note is beautiful; her light soprano can't convey fury, but her laments and love songs are exquisite. Both castrato roles are taken by falsettists: Robin Blaze does well as faithful friend Unulfo; Daniel Taylor sings the male lead--deposed king Bertarido--sensitively, but one misses (especially in the bravura aria "Vivi tiranno") the vocal substance a female mezzo using chest voice would provide. Tenor Adrian Thompson, as villain-with-a-conscience Grimoaldo, occasionally struggles with fast passages but makes the most of an emotionally complex role; mezzo Catherine Robbin and bass Chrstopher Purves sing and act their parts with ease and assurance. --Matthew Westphal

Review

In Rodelinda the orchestral sound is gentler on the ear, the emphasis in the playing is more on detail--a luscious harmonic shift, a vital motif.... -- The New York Times

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Atto Primo: Overture
  2. Atto Primo: Menut
  3. Atto Primo: Scena 1: Aria: Ho perduto il caro sposo
  4. Atto Primo: Recitativo: Regina!
  5. Atto Primo: Aria: L'empio rigor del fato
  6. Atto Primo: Scena 2 & 3: Recitativo: Duca, vedesti mai
  7. Atto Primo: Aria: Lo gia t'amai, rittosa
  8. Atto Primo: Scena 4: Recitativo: E tu dice d'amarmi?
  9. Atto Primo: Aria: Lo faro. Diro: Spietato
  10. Atto Primo: Scena 5: Recitativo: Eduige, t'inganni
  11. Atto Primo: Aria: Di Cupido impiego i vanni
  12. Atto Primo: Scena 6: Sinfonia e recitativo: Pompe vane di morte!
  13. Atto Primo: Aria: Dove sei, amato bene?
  14. Atto Primo: Recitative: Ma giunge Unulfo
  15. Atto Primo: Scena 7: Aria e recitativo: Ombre, piante, urne funeste!
  16. Atto Primo: Scena 8: Recitativo: Baci inutili e vani
  17. Atto Primo: Aria: Morrai, si, l'empia tua testa
  18. Atto Primo: Scena 9: Recitativo: Unulfo, o Dio!
  19. Atto Primo: Aria: Sono i colpi della sorte
  20. Atto Primo: Scena 10: Recitativo: Si, l'infida consorte
  21. Atto Primo: Aria: Confusa si miri

Disc: 2

  1. Atto Secondo: Scene 1 & 2: Recitativo: Gia perdesti, o signora
  2. Atto Secondo: Aria: De' miei scherni
  3. Atto Secondo: Scena 3: Recitativo: Rodelinda, e pur ver?
  4. Atto Secondo: Aria: Spietati, io vi giurai
  5. Atto Secondo: Scena 4: Recitativo: Unulfo, Garibaldo, in questo seno
  6. Atto Secondo: Aria: Prigioniera ho l'alma in pena
  7. Atto Secondo: Recitativo: Massime cosi indegne
  8. Atto Secondo: Aria: Tirannia gli diede il regno
  9. Atto Secondo: Recitativo: Si, si, fellon, t'intendo
  10. Atto Secondo: Aria: Fra tempeste funeste a quest'alma
  11. Atto Secondo: Scena 5: Aria: Con rauco mormorio
  12. Atto Secondo: Recitativo: Ah, no, che non m'inganna
  13. Atto Secondo: Scena 6: Recitativo: Vive il mio sposo?
  14. Atto Secondo: Aria: Ritorna, o caro e dolce mio tesoro
  15. Atto Secondo: Scena 7: Recitativo: Ah, si, ecco lo sposo
  16. Atto Secondo: Aria: Tuo drudo e mio rivale
  17. Atto Secondo: Recitativo: Non ti basto, consorte
  18. Atto Secondo: Duetto: le t'abbraccio

Disc: 3

  1. Rodelinda: Scena 1: Recitativo: Del german nel periglio
  2. Rodelinda: Aria: Un zelfiro spiro
  3. Rodelinda: Recitativo: Con opra giusta
  4. Rodelinda: Aria: Quanto piu fiera
  5. Rodelinda: Scena 2: Recitativo: O falso e Bertarido
  6. Rodelinda: Aria: Tra sospetti, affetti e timori
  7. Rodelinda: Scena 3: Aria: Chi di voi fu piu infedele
  8. Rodelinda: Recitativo: Ma non so she dal remoto balcon
  9. Rodelinda: Scena 4: Recitativo: Non temere, Signore!
  10. Rodelinda: Aria: Se 'l mio duol non e si forte
  11. Rodelinda: Scena 5: Recitativo: Fatto inferno e il mio petto
  12. Rodelinda: Aria: Pastorello d'un povero armento
  13. Rodelinda: Scene 6 & 7: Recitativo: Che miro?
  14. Rodelinda: Aria: Vivi, tiranno!
  15. Rodelinda: Scene ultima: Recitativo: Eccoti innanzi il reo
  16. Rodelinda: Aria: Mio caro bene!
  17. Rodelinda: Recitativo: Sposa, figlio, sorella, amiei, o Dio!
  18. Rodelinda: Coro: Dopo la notte oscura


Product Details

  • Performer: Sophie Daneman, Daniel Taylor, Adrian Thompson, Catherine Robbin, Robin Blaze, et al.
  • Orchestra: Raglan Baroque Players
  • Conductor: Nicholas Kraemer
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (December 23, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • 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: Virgin Veritas (EMI)
  • ASIN: B000007TKL
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,488 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By R. H. Fitzsimmons on October 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
After the star-studded, and romantic, accounts of Rodelinda of the past, including Joan Sutherland as the heroine, and Janet Baker as Eduige, this is the first British historically informed account of Handel's psychological and passionate drama.

One of the triumvirate of 'great' operas of the mid-1720s (alongside Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare), Rodelinda is possibly the deepest of Handel's creations. On the one hand, the 'baddies' Grimoaldo (Adrian Thompson) and Garibaldo (Christopher Purves), on the other the Lombard king Bertarido (Daniel Taylor) and his queen Rodelinda (Sophie Daneman), with the king's sister Eduige (Catherine Robbin) and his henchman Unulfo (Robin Blaze) in the middle of the action.

This is a slightly disappointing reading of this dramatic work, precisely because it came not out of a staging of the work, but a number of concert performances, and one gets the sense of a 'concert in dress' here, with 'safe' tempi being struck and everything played 'nicely'. The playing is stylish and understated, but a little boring as a result and the dramatic scenes lack enough bite.

The singing is uniformly good throughout. Sophie Daneman uses very little vibrato and produces a clear bell-like sound, though a few more colours might have conveyed Rodelinda's character more effectively (see the Glyndebourne account of Maria Antonacci on video). Adrian Thompson is a convincing tyrant Grimoaldo, and Chris Purves a blustering Garibaldo who seeks at the end to betray his master and marry Bertarido's sister Eduige, though foiled at the end by Bertarido himself. Catherine Robbin copes well with Eduige's rather limited part, and Robin Blaze skips through some very awkward passage work in Unulfo's rather trickier castrato part.
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Very "prettily" sung, but this opera needs much more than that. This whole performance has a limp quality to it with the soloists and conductor dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's but losing the drama as well. I went back to the 0ld Sutherland from 1959 - wrong language and wrong voice types but everyone means what they sing and the same goes for the old Westminster recording which has a lot more impact than this. Very disappointing overall. Jay
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After hearing Daniels, for the first time in my life, as Bertarido at the Met, I can't think much of this CD's Bertarido (too) sweet voice. The rest is ok.
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This is surely the worst recording of a Handel opera. And Handel, of course, is not to be blamed! The performers are. The conductor employs a technique that has no historical support: the lack of vibrato in the voice. The result sounds dull and blank. Emotions, which are so common in Hadel's works, disappear all together. It sounds like a Victorian performance! The Curtis version is far more interesting, a real Handelian performance!
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This is a top-notch recording. The three high voices (Daneman, Taylor & Blaze) are absolutely magnificent. They sing with lightness and elegance that, to me, only add to, rather than detract from, the dramatic import of their roles. Amazon's in-house review, incomprehensibly, wishes for a female mezzo in the role of Bertarido, presumably for the sake of some hypothetical benefits the female chest register may provide. It is especially surprising to see a comment like that coming from a self-described baroque "purist" Matthew Westphal. I am firmly convinced that baroque castrato roles should always be taken by countertenors. And when the countertenors are as good as Taylor and Blaze, who can, in good conscience, complain? Daniel Taylor was a real discovery for me. I knew he existed, but I never before heard him sing. I was really thrilled to hear that he sounds like a new David Cordier, only better because Taylor's voice is not only divinely pure but is also more smooth and supple than Cordier's. Robin Blaze as Unulfo only confirmed my impression of him as the finest countertenor of his generation. I would compare him to Dominique Visse, but without Visse's distinctive "snarl" that puts off many people. Sophie Daneman is my kind of soprano, her voice is airy and focused like a piccolo. All three of these soloists show mastery of Handel's music, delivering well-measured emphases in place of bravado which is apparently expected by people like Westphal. In addition to these three soloists, mezzo Catherine Robbin and bass Christopher Purves do a good job as Eduige and Garibaldo respectively. In such a fine company, only the Grimoaldo of Adrian Thompson (who is, however, a perfectly good tenor) is a bit under par. This is definitely one of the most memorable recordings I've heard in a long time. You must hear it for yourself!
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