Author Topic: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios  (Read 170681 times)

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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #820 on: May 23, 2013, 12:00:14 PM »
AGRIPPINA

You will receive differing opinions about the recording to get...there was some discussion a few pages or so back in this thread, in fact.  I have the Gardiner and have only sampled a couple others; but the Gardiner has already given me great pleasure.

 ;D  Ya, ya, definitely that one (who knew I'd agree!).

But after Agrippina things get tougher. As far as oratorios there's Israel in Egypt and Solomon (both Gardiner), and Saul (Neumann).

Back to operas, probably Orlando (Hogwood), Imeneo (Spering), and Hercules (Minkowski).

Bottom line is so many of Handel's stage works are great. Just budget in copious $$ and go for, er...broke.






« Last Edit: May 23, 2013, 12:04:56 PM by Dancing Divertimentian »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline knight66

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #821 on: May 23, 2013, 09:32:36 PM »
Perhaps ot really makes no difference, but we seem increasingly to mix the vocal works around. Saul is not an opera. But if you are listening rather than viewing, i guess it does not matter. Theodora is not an opera, though has been produced as one and frankly i would put it at the top of Handle's output and not to be missed on any account.


But if restricted to the question, i would suggest:
Julius Caesar
Ariodante
Xerses

Mike
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Offline Octave

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #822 on: May 23, 2013, 09:39:08 PM »
Mike-Knight, would you mind recommending your favorite recordings for those you cited?  Just for my own benefit.  I don't know XERSES at all.  Um, no, I know SERSE!   :-[   By McGegan.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 03:03:00 AM by Octave »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #823 on: May 23, 2013, 11:23:08 PM »
My 3 (and staying within opera):

Ariodante: Mc Gegan and Minkowsky both very good.
Tamerlano: Petrou/MDG
Alcina: Curtis/ DG

of course you need Giulio Cesare as well.... :-)

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #824 on: May 24, 2013, 12:34:41 AM »
Perhaps ot really makes no difference, but we seem increasingly to mix the vocal works around. Saul is not an opera. But if you are listening rather than viewing, i guess it does not matter. Theodora is not an opera, though has been produced as one and frankly i would put it at the top of Handle's output and not to be missed on any account.


But if restricted to the question, i would suggest:
Julius Caesar
Ariodante
Xerses

Mike


And, incidentally, Hercules isn't an opera either, though I did see a superb staging of it at the Barbican (from the Aix-en-Provence festival), with Joyce DiDonato as Dejanira. It is available on DVD, so worth looking out.

I'd probably add Rinaldo to Mike's three above (the Hogwood recording).

Small point. Though Semele is usually staged these days, it too is officially an orotorio.



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Offline Octave

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #825 on: May 24, 2013, 01:40:06 AM »
Small point. Though Semele is usually staged these days, it too is officially an orotorio.

Thank you for that correction; I was a little confused by this statement from Wikipedia's Handel operas page:
Quote
Though almost all of his English language works are technically oratorios and not operas, several of them, such as Semele (1743), have become an important part of the opera repertoire.

Of course, WikiP says you are correct; but what is it for an oratorio to become a staple of the "opera repertoire"?  Does it just mean that it's adapted for dramatic action and acting more than usual examples of the genre (other oratorios), including Regietheater liberties etc?  Can anyone give me some other examples of oratorios that have enjoyed (suffered?) this treatment over time?
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 01:49:48 AM by Octave »
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kishnevi

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #826 on: May 24, 2013, 07:33:15 AM »
Thank you for that correction; I was a little confused by this statement from Wikipedia's Handel operas page:
Of course, WikiP says you are correct; but what is it for an oratorio to become a staple of the "opera repertoire"?  Does it just mean that it's adapted for dramatic action and acting more than usual examples of the genre (other oratorios), including Regietheater liberties etc?  Can anyone give me some other examples of oratorios that have enjoyed (suffered?) this treatment over time?

Rene Jacobs (I think it's him) led an opera production of Belshazzar that's available on DVD. 

Add me to the people who like that McGegan recording of Ariodante.
I'd add Curtis's recording of Alcina with Joyce DiDonata.
For the rest I'm not familiar enough with the works to suggest a third.  For instance, I don't have a single performance of Guilio Cesare.  Any suggestions as to what recording(s) are favored would be appreciated.

Offline knight66

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #827 on: May 24, 2013, 08:13:05 AM »
Mike-Knight, would you mind recommending your favorite recordings for those you cited?  Just for my own benefit.  I don't know XERSES at all.

The Xerses I would choose is a DVD version condcted by Charles Mackerras.
Julius Caesar, again a DVD with Sarah Connolly, comducted by William Christie
Ariodante, Minkowski on CDs with von Otter.

I would add that Theodora, whether on DVD or CD, it would be Christie with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels.

Mike

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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #828 on: May 24, 2013, 08:20:14 AM »
The semantics of it all gets a little fuzzy at this stage of Handel's career (1740's). That's why I prefer the term "stage works" to anything else.

As far as I can ascertain, neither Hercules nor Semele are oratorios in the strictest sense, at least as Handel would define it. Neither are based on biblical themes. Semele was based on a stage drama from earlier that century and was actually described by one of Handel's librettists/friends as "baudy opera". Hercules was advertised by Handel as a "Musical Drama" and it's described as such on the original printed libretto.

Both these works were written in London and both were accompanied by true sister oratorios (biblical-themed works) written concurrently.

The purpose of these two almost-oratorios was to outwit a rival Italian opera company, also operating in London. Both works were to be performed "in the style of an oratorio", however, in keeping with Handel's preferences at the time.

Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Octave

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #829 on: May 24, 2013, 08:27:00 AM »
I would add that Theodora, whether on DVD or CD, it would be Christie with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels.

Ha, yes, I just mentioned this performance two minutes ago in the Purchases thread...it is also high up on my "to buy" list, though I want to live with the recordings of THEODORA that I already have (Christie/Erato and McCreesh/Archiv, both full-moon luminous and quite distinct from one another) a bit longer before adding a third.  Oh, THEODORA!  What a marvel.
I am keen to hear this Mackerras XERSES.

Thanks Jeffrey and DD for the discussion.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 08:31:34 AM by Octave »
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Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #830 on: May 24, 2013, 08:34:05 AM »
Ariodante, Minkowski on CDs with von Otter.

Fine choice there.

Quote
I would add that Theodora, whether on DVD or CD, it would be Christie with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and David Daniels.

Theodora is another fine choice, although I have Neumann on MD&G (haven't heard Christie's).


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline knight66

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #831 on: May 24, 2013, 09:08:10 AM »
There are lots of really fine recordings of most of the main works and by choosing mine i am not suggesting the others are defective. I very much enjoy the Leppard Ariodante with Janet Baker, but it is a long way from HIP so many would rule it out. There is also the issue of whether you want a male or female in the trousers roles and perhaps prefer cds as against dvds. I also endorse the Minkowsky Hercules.

Mike
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Elgarian

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #832 on: May 24, 2013, 10:54:33 AM »
I very much enjoy the Leppard Ariodante with Janet Baker, but it is a long way from HIP so many would rule it out.

Oh yes. It's emphatically non-HIP but still it's fabulous. Beyond fabulous, even. I don't know a more rock&roll, air-punchin' Dopo Notte than Janet Baker's.

My choices (but on a different day they'd be different):
Giulio Cesare: the unforgettable, unmatchable and justly famous Glyndebourne production (DVD)
Ariodante: McGegan, with the incomparable Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (CD)
Theodora: Christie, with the wonderful heart-rendingly lovely singing of Sophie Daneman (CD)


Offline Geo Dude

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #833 on: May 24, 2013, 12:43:25 PM »
Thanks for all the suggestions.  It seems I have made an oversight in leaving oratorios off the request list and would happily accept advice on a few oratorios to look into. :)

Offline knight66

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #834 on: May 24, 2013, 09:24:49 PM »
Like Alan, on a different day my choices might change.

Solomon: I have the Gardiner version. There may be other excellent ones, but this is a piece where the one version satisfied me. There is some very beautiful music here and no week links in the performance.

Have a listen to, 'May no rash intruder' on Youtube and there is the 'Arrival of the Queen of Sheba'. If those don't prompt you to click on Buy! then you are missing out.

Enjoy,

Mike
« Last Edit: May 24, 2013, 09:29:18 PM by knight66 »
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Offline mc ukrneal

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #835 on: September 11, 2013, 12:14:29 AM »
What is the general opinion of Malgiore Agrippina? I've seen comments about the DVD being the one to get, but does this also mean that the CD version would be a better choice over Gardiner or McGegan?
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Offline Octave

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #836 on: September 22, 2013, 09:31:38 PM »
I'd like to ask about this recording:


Handel: OTTONE [James Bowman, Dominique Visse, et al w/King's Consort dir. Robert King - Hyperion]

This still seems to be readily available in its old edition, but Hyperion will be reissuing it in a lower-priced reissue in about a week.  (The ASIN link above is for the 2013 reissue.)
Curious if anyone knows if there are differences in the editions/packaging.

More curious how Handelians here feel about the piece itself compared to his other large-scale vocal works.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2013, 01:18:11 PM by Octave »
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Offline knight66

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #837 on: September 28, 2013, 07:17:20 AM »
Not sure of the date, but if you don't know Bowman's voice, I would listen on YouTube. It dried out and his singing was highly musical, but latterly afforded me no pleasure. That apart, it looks like a good cast.

Mike
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Offline Octave

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #838 on: December 15, 2013, 01:49:38 AM »
Overlong question, pardon. 
I'd like to ask about these two editions of Handel's ACIS AND GALATEA (both by Boult/Sutherland/Pears/Brannigan et al with St. Anthony Singers and Philomusica of London), which seem to be the same recording from 1959:

The Chandos, from 2008 (apparently a rather nice edition with printed libretto and good remastered sound):



The Decca/Eloquence, from 2011 (in a box set with Boult's MESSIAH):



Presto listing for the Eloquence, not much info beyond personnel.

1. Does anyone know how the sound of these two compares?

2. The cover of the 4-disc Eloquence does not say 'highlights' (the Chandos says 'Scenes From'), so now I am wondering if the Decca/Eloquence edition is the same recording, but uncut.
Lance Hill's review settles some of this by indicating that the recordings are the same, but that the Eloquence includes a couple of extra arias; yet the four discs are 257 minutes.  Depending on the length of the MESSIAH, I wondered how much of A&G might have been restored, in addition (?) to those few solos?  The Chandos disc is apparently ~80 minutes.

Jonathan Woolf's Musicweb review of the Chandos is reproduced here:
http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=179699

Robert Levine's Classics Today review of the Chandos here:
http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-13991
« Last Edit: December 15, 2013, 02:37:59 AM by Octave »
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kishnevi

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Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
« Reply #839 on: December 15, 2013, 07:46:47 PM »
Octave, I just looked through the liner notes for the Chandos,  but they give no hint of what was cut; comparison of the track listings of the Chandos CD with the track listing on Presto's listen tab shows exactly one "air" that is on the Eloquence and not on the Chandos recording (Consider, fond shepherd).

The Chandos sonics were reasonably good for a recording of that vintage, but I don't remember being all that much impressed by the recording.

If you want vintage Sutherland in Handel, try this one

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/DG/4778017
It is an abridged version, and the sonics may not be too outstanding,  but the performance is very good.