Seems there's no general Händel operas thread here, right? So allow me to cross-post this (from the listening thread) here - reference is made to the Christie recording (from 1999) which I had played just before:
Compared to Christie, I guess Joyce DiDonato is even more brilliant in the title role than Renée Fleming, the Ruggerios both sound very good (Maite Beaumont, Susan Graham), both Morganas are great (I love Natalie Dessay who sings the part with Christie - she's quite different from Karina Gauvin, who's another favourite and sings with Curtis ... Dessay being more on-the-edge, nervous, livelier), while Christie clearly has the edge on Bradamante, sung wonderfully by Kathleen Kuhlmann (who already sang the part with Hickox in what many still seem to consider the best recording of "Alcina"), while Sonia Prina applies way too much vibrato to my taste ... I guess the men are fine in both, and so are the Obertos, but Laurent Naouri (Melisso w/Christie) is maybe somewhat finer than the others ... in general, the Curtis sound amazing, warm and full (though the orchestra is pretty small, all names are given in the booklet of the full edition, same for chorus which is just the soloists plus six extras). But then, regardless, the Christie performance is more animated, more varied, more lively, I find. Hard to pick, really ... which goes for the Hickox as well, which has Arleen Augér in the title role, Della Jones as Ruggiero, and as mentioned, Kuhlmann as Bradamante. If I had to pick one today, I'd tend to go with the Christie, though the extra aria for Ruggiero that Curtis adds is a clear plus ("Bramo di trionfar", inserted as Scene 7 in Act 1).
Either way, it shall be amazing to hear Bartoli and Jaroussky (and Antonini conducting), I'm sure!
What are people's thoughts on "Alcina" here, what recording(s) do you prefer and why? And is the DVD from Aix with Petibon, Jaroussky, Prohaska et al. (Marcon, Erato) as enticing as it looks? (If it's only half as enticing, I'll have to get it.)