GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Opera and Vocal => Topic started by: Tancata on July 10, 2007, 12:25:37 PM

Title: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tancata on July 10, 2007, 12:25:37 PM
or getting a Handel on the deluge...

...

So, I'm really getting into Handel's operas and oratorios (I'm considering them largely as one and the same body of work). When I'm getting into a new composer, I really like to steep myself single-mindedly in their stuff. But the problem with Handel is that there are so many of these bloody things and, unlike the Bach cantatas, it costs a serious amount of time and money to buy and properly get to know any one of them. I have bought and got into several of them already over the past six months, but I keep having a nagging feeling that I'm missing out on the best stuff  ::).

What I'm really looking for are value judgements about the relative merits of Handel's compositions in this field. Which are the major ones to look into, which are less essential? I want to experience the best of Handel's output in this field without shovel-feeding myself dozens of 3-hour works! Most commentary on them makes them out as all being superb. I can believe that, but I still want the best of the best.

I know already: Messiah, Saul, Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo - (loved all of these) - Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Israel in Egypt, and a number of the Italian cantatas (liked these, but not as much as the first four there). I have heard a number of the others in concert (Theodora, Solomon, Samson, &c) but not enough times to fully appreciate them.

I think my next investigations shall be Theodora and Orlando. The latter is being staged here in Dublin later in the year, should be great fun. The former seems to be "the One" for Handel nuts...

From investigations elsewhere, it seems Agrippina, Serse, Hercules, Rodelinda, Ariodante, Alcina, Belshazzar and Judas Maccabeus are prime Handel. But people often speak of all of them in glowing terms. And there's this post from Mr. Rinkel:

Quote
I'm not a major Handelian; I'm content to own a representative sampling from the operas and oratorios, perhaps a dozen of each. Of the operas, my absolute favorite is Orlando (and that in an unfortunately cut, unfortunately LP-only version with Sofia Steffan conducted by Stephen Simon); other great ones are Giulio Cesare, Ariodante, Alcina, and Rodelinda. Saul, Hercules, Israel in Egypt, Jephtha, and Theodora are among the greatest of the oratorios, but I find them all somewhat uneven. And yet just when Handel seems to be note-spinning on automatic pilot, you encounter a staggering chorus like "Jealousy" from Hercules or "The People Shall Hear" from Israel in Egypt, and it all becomes worth it.

More thoughts along these lines would be appreciated.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 10, 2007, 12:35:36 PM
The Italian operas and the English works are quite different animals.

Try Ariodante (but there really are such riches) in the first category, and Acis & Galates (a quasi opera/oratorio) and - since you know Saul, Jephta, in the latter.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 10, 2007, 01:42:03 PM
Handel certainly wrote on the large scale. A great deal of his arias are A,B,A and that makes for usually at least seven minutes for a set piece and the musicians need to take account of the repetition and use their imagination to give the vital variety to each piece in the da capo and capture the drama.

My own favourite is Theodora. Although an oratorio I think it worked superbly when staged at Glyndbourne and the DVD version captured the considerable achievements of the main singers, all superb. In that version the role of Dydimus is sung by a countertenor. I also have a CD version with a mezzo in that role and this is a frequent issue across quite a number of the works, in that you may feel strongly one way or the other, I don't mind. For sure in the Caesar DVD, from the same source, Sarah Connelly is completely convincing as Caesar, another top recommendation.

Theodora has an almost endless string of achingly beautiful arias and as usual, Handel is sparing with the duets. There are two in Theodora, each exquisite. The choral work is less impressive, but not at all dull, but in this work it is the arias that are utterly memorable.

I also recommend Hercules. It has some wonderful choral writing and again the arias predominate. Handel gives the characters space to explain themselves. I have the CD version conducted by Minkowski. He springs the rhythms, brings out the muscularity of the work and drives the dramatic side forward. Ann Sophie von Otter sings the hero's wife. She is given basically a mad scene and Otter conspires with the conductor to take the piece right to the edge, almost out of the style, but it works marvelously. Otter has been criticised by some for a lot of parlando singing, but on this set she does not indulge in any of that.

For something more choral in contrast, you might try Israel in Egypt. Here there are very few arias and the chorus is the protagonist. Handel writes marvelously descriptive music for the plagues and the libretto is full of word painting that Handel heightens......"There were lice in all their quarters", accompanied by the violins buzzing like flies....."Pharaoh's chariots went to the bottom as an stone" Sung by the choir in a descending scale. The choruses follow on one another like a series of fugues and the story progresses excitingly without a narrator or much by way of 'characters'. The Gardiner version is excellent. It has a filler of 'The Ways of Zion Do Mourn', a not inconsiderable piece, though muted as against the Technicolour main event.

A contrast of a different kind is L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. Described as a pastoral ode in three parts. It uses poems of Milton. There is no plot or story, it is almost a philosophical discussion set to vernal music with delightful arias, choruses and indeed one duet which is well worth waiting for. Handel was parsimonious with the duets, they are often his most exquisite creations, but he was strict in their placing and there is often one almost at the end of a work and then perhaps just one other. I have and very much enjoy the CDs conducted by John Nelson, excellent singing and playing.

These are all modern HIP recordings. I have older discs and enjoy them also, but I happen to have alighted on these ones as a first stab.

I could go on, but I will give you a rest!

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 10, 2007, 02:03:14 PM
Mike,

What is your opinion of Semele?  I have the recording with Kathleen Battle, Marilyn Horne, Samuel Ramey, John Aler, Sylvia McNair.  Ambrosian Opera Chorus/English Chamber Orchestra conducted by John Nelson but I have not heard it yet.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tancata on July 10, 2007, 02:10:42 PM
Thanks for that erato and knight!

I'm actually familiar with Giulio Cesare (the Sarah Conolly/Danielle de Niese/Christie DVD is excellent, yes) and Israel in Egypt. I haven't fully gotten into the latter, though. I have the Parrott recording which was budget price on Virgin Veritas and seems respectable to me. I think "The Ways of Zion do Mourn" is actually incorporated into the Parrott "Israel" as Part 1 of a 3-part work (the original structure according to the liner notes). But certainly to my ears things don't really start to pick up until Part 2 (Exodus).

I will take note of both your recommendations - Minkowski looks good for Hercules and Ariodante, he's done a lot of these works to generally good reviews. For Theodora I'll probably look for a CD version first, although I'll look into that DVD - whatever's cheaper usually wins with me. Is it the McCreesh recording of Theodora you have, Mike? I have his version of Saul and found it excellent, and I generally find him an exciting conductor (Matthew Passion, Monteverdi Vespers, etc...)

I have no preferences for countertenors versus mezzos or altos, it just depends on the quality of the individual singer.

As for L'Allegro... - I may put it a little further down my list. The libretto sounds a little like the dreary one for Il Trionfo (let me guess...Moderation wins in the end...) - when all the music is top-class, I may decide on the basis of which libretto has the higher-octane drama...  :P Acis and Galatea I can try easily, I think my parents have about 10 versions of that although I doubt whether any are HIP  ::).

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 10, 2007, 02:18:29 PM
Semele is another first rater.....I have the same recording. It even has an ensemble in it, unusual, and several duets. It is in English and is an oratorio, but is secular, based on Congreve and so might seem like an opera when simply listened to. Handel was battling ill health during its composition and it came after a bit of a gap in his writing of major vocal works. I think it feels like an experiment; as he was reluctant to write opera at this point, yet this oratorio did not follow the normal religious subjects. Indeed it is about Gods and their love affairs.

I wonder why he did not write more in this pattern? Operas had proved to be an expensive risk and the public were fickle in quickly tiring of any novelty. Turning back to oratorios saved Handel the extra worry and effort involved in mounting an opera and the considerable expense and financial risk.

I have no idea whether it has ever been staged, but if Theodora can be staged, this surely could be. It has the feel of La Calisto about it.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 10, 2007, 02:38:46 PM
Tancata, I do have the McCreesh and it is good, but pales in dramatic terms up against Christie in the staged version and...not his fault, but I cannot forgive Robin Blaze for not being David Daniels. Good as Susan Bickley is she is not the magnetic presence and compelling interpreter that Lorraine Hunt Lieberson was.

I also have an older set, cut down and on only two discs, it has Heather Harper who is wonderfully sympathetic as Theodora and the female Dydimus is no lesser singer than Maureen Forrester, she is excellent. This is a much older recording and could not be a first recommendation as it simply does not contain all the music.

I have heard that the Zion piece is used prior to the Israel in Egypt as though Handel had forgotten to produce an act 1! In the Gardiner, it comes after the main piece and is on disc two. I have sung Israel in Egypt several times. On one occasion, paid for by Israeli TV we recorded the piece for its sound in a hall in Jerusalem, then went to the Red Sea and stood on a blasted rock, (blasted flat for us), for two days being simultaneously frozen by the wind and fried by the sun. We mimed to our recording while it was filmed.

I watched the cello players scrambling down the scree and sand being blown into the harpsichord and did think that a lot of musicians simply would not have risked their instruments, but the Jerusalem Philharmonic put up with it all.

There was a particularly surreal moment when we watched a train of camels walk past our rock and others during breaks when the men, in their dinner suits, rolled up their trousers and paddled in the sea.

Bearing in mind this was about the defeat and drowning of the Egyptians, it subsequently emerged that our film was shown on Israeli TV on the day the land we had been filming on was handed back to Egypt as part of a treaty. We were rather miffed that we had been used for such propaganda.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 10, 2007, 02:58:40 PM
Thanks, Mike.  Much obliged.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 10, 2007, 03:18:10 PM
A pleasure.....I know it is not either an opera or an oratorio, but as Tancata has Israel in Egypt, I would like to mention a different choral piece, Dixit Dominus. It is an exhilarating virtuoso piece and although the soloists get some lovely opportunities, it is the energising and piled up choruses that make the piece stand out...again I would recommend Minkowski, the fillers there are rather fine cantatas, another wonderful seam to be mined.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 10, 2007, 07:41:15 PM
Lots of good Handel.

You might pick from one of these for a quality introduction:

•Orlando/Hogwood
•Rinaldo/Hogwood
•Theodora/Neumann
•Saul/Neumann
•Belshazzar/Neumann
•Imeneo/Spering
•Ariodante/Minkowski
•Hercules/Minkowski
•La Resurrezione/Minkowski
•Agrippina/Gardiner
•Judas Maccabaeus/King
•Almira/Lawrence-King

All are HIP but that's what hits home for me.

As far as the note-spinning thing, well, let your ears decide. There's certainly enough musical substance to justify any investment in time.




Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tancata on July 11, 2007, 02:43:43 AM
Thanks for this, guys. Orlando/Hogwood also looks like a runner, since I want to prepare myself before going to see this opera in September. I'm reading Hogwood's book "Handel" at the moment and finding it a great read. He is very enthusiastic about Orlando in particular, so it doesn't surprise me that his recording is recommended. It looks like that and Theodora/Christie will be first on the list (it's cheaper on DVD than on CD  ;D).

I will put Dixit Dominus down too - oh, choices, choices.  >:D

Who said anything about note-spinning?  0:)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 11, 2007, 03:05:28 AM
Does anyone have any comments about the Rene Jacobs' Julius Cesare or the Rene Jacobs' Saul?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tancata on July 11, 2007, 03:26:53 AM
Anne, I can say a little about Jacobs' Giulio Cesare, but keep in mind the only other recording I can compare it to is the Christie DVD Mike mentioned above.

I am a Rene Jacobs fan, but I think even a totally objective person would recommend this recording to anyone. Jennifer Larmore is brilliant as Cesare - her voice is a good fit for Senesino's and never feels stretched at the bottom (as IMO Sarah Conolly occasionally sounds on that DVD). Elsewhere the singing is universally at a very high standard. Cleopatra is sung by Barbara Schlick. Some people don't like the slightly odd, sharp edge to her voice but I don't mind it. Marianne Rorholm is Sesto, excellent. Cornelia is sung by that fixture of HIP recording, Bernarda Fink, as fine as ever. Two small exceptions might be the countertenors. I really don't like Derek Lee Ragin - I think he hoots and shrieks all over the place (although that sort of singing isn't totally inappropriate for Tolomeo, I suppose). But I'm probably just wrong - he keeps getting big jobs and was one of the big countertenors of the time. Dominique Visse is the other falsettist, in the small part of Nireno. He features on a very large proportion of Rene Jacobs recordings, often in comic roles. He has a very thin, squeaky voice but is quite expressive. He is not really a great singer, but the part is so small - a few recitatives and a single aria which is presented after the opera finishes as a bonus track.

Concerto Koelln are brilliant under Rene Jacobs lively direction. This recording is from the era when he didn't introduce his own little "touches"  ::) to recordings. Completely unmannered, crisp and exciting.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Sean on July 11, 2007, 03:50:41 AM
Tancata

If I remember there's 37 operas and 23 oratorios, 60 of the bloody things as you say. I'm playing the last opera Deidamia right now and rather keen on getting hold of the whole series, not least to be rid of them: what sets these works apart from the masses of similar 18th century efforts is I think principally the enormous quality of the vocal line, ranging from always beautiful, to transcendental.

I agree there's some note-spinning, but the constant quiet intelligence carries all before it. I don't know the ones Knight mentions but the trio written together(?) of Julius Caesar, Rodelina and Tamerlano are often mentioned as essentail listening; you already know Rinaldo, which I thought of exceptional beauty and intrigue (esp the recording with Norman); Orlando is another unusual piece, though with too much recitative; Ariodante I thought slightly overrated from what I'd read. I've explored-

Operas- Alcina, Ariodante, Deidamia, Julius Caesar, Orlando, Rinaldo, Rodelinda, Serse & Tamerlano

Oratorios- Acis and Galatea, Alexander’s feast, Athalia, Israel in Egypt, Jephtha, Messiah & Solomon (also the marvellously varied Ode for St Cecilia’s day)

(& overtures to Imeneo & Ottone)

& Second Knight's comments on the Dixit dominus, and to a lesser extent the Gloria.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 11, 2007, 03:55:31 AM
Thanks for the reply, Cantata.  I really appreciate it.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 11, 2007, 05:14:05 AM
Thanks for the reply, Cantata.  I really appreciate it.



A lovely transposition!

I agree re the comments on Jacobs' Caesar to the extent I only have excerpts of it. I was not keen on the Cleopatra and she deterred me from then buying the whole set. I have the Mackerras with Janet Baker....in English. There are very good things there, but performance practice has moved on and I find the Christie on DVD to be the best I know of....though I don't by any means know all that is available.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 11, 2007, 05:28:28 AM
Who said anything about note-spinning?  0:)

Larry touches on it in the post of his you quoted and you asked for "more thoughts along these lines"...




Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tancata on July 11, 2007, 07:42:01 AM
Larry touches on it in the post of his you quoted and you asked for "more thoughts along these lines"...

Hmm...yes  :-[.

Sean - thanks for that - recitative doesn't bother me, so Orlando's still on  :).

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 11, 2007, 08:21:45 AM
Tancata - Cantata

Mike:
"A lovely transposition!"

I wish I could take credit for that.  ;D  Like Tristan - Tantris
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: hildegard on November 21, 2007, 07:12:30 AM
I attended a beautiful performance of Handel's Alexander's Feast last night at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola in NYC. Although this piece is seldom performed, it was -- after The Messiah -- the most often performed of Handel's compositions during his lifetime. The orchestration of this piece is incredibly gorgeous as is the choral canvas. As the program notes, the poem on which this ode is based "excited Handel's imagination to the point of infusing him with melodic, harmonic, coloristic, and even dramatic ideas that brought out some of the best music composed by this giant of the Baroque era." How true!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: head-case on November 21, 2007, 02:37:57 PM
I wish I could understand what people are talking about with respect to Handel.  It seems to me he cranked it out at such a prodigious rate, it's hard to notice where one opera ends and another begins.  I think I could pull an aria from one opera and plunk it down in another and nobody would ever know.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: T-C on November 21, 2007, 11:38:00 PM
I wish I could understand what people are talking about with respect to Handel.  It seems to me he cranked it out at such a prodigious rate, it's hard to notice where one opera ends and another begins.

Does this statement, in your opinion, sum up everything that can be said about Handel’s operas? Pretty shallow, if you ask me…

Handel opera’s were written in the framework of the opera seria, which was developed in the mid 17th centaury. It has a very rigid structure, but because of Handel’s genius, he was able to widen the diversity of forms of expression within these stiff structures and fill them with overwhelmingly beautiful and varied music. He was not an opera reformist. But for my taste, he was the greatest opera composer of the Baroque period, alongside Monteverdi.



Quote
I think I could pull an aria from one opera and plunk it down in another and nobody would ever know.

Nobody = anybody with a superficial knowledge of Handel’s operas.

That is something you can say about switching minuet movement of two Haydn symphonies or string quartets, or switching two movements in two Vivaldi’s concerti…
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on November 22, 2007, 01:22:27 AM
I have the following Handel operas at home, and will listen to them shortly. Have no high hopes, but one never knows right...

Jeptha
Akademie fur Alte Music/Marcus Creed.

Acis & Galatea.
Ama Deus Ensemble/Valentin Radu.
I have already Gardiner's take, recorded in 1973, and like it very much.

Faramondo
Brewer Chamber Orchestra/Rudolph Palmer.

Juidas Maccabaeus.
English Chamber Orchestra/Johannes Somary.

Belsazar.
Berliner Singakademie, Kammerorchester Berlin/Dietrich Knothe.

Solomon.
English Chamber Orchestra, Amor Artis Chorale/Jeremy Somerly


I realize that not all of these performances are top notch, but it will give me a general idea of what the music is about.
Also knowing how many operas Handel has written, this is a small selection.
Acis and Galatea I like, so in that line I would like to continue.
Any advice in this would be appreciated....
Note: I will listen at least four times to every opera, before it is thrown in my refusal bin.....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: T-C on November 22, 2007, 01:44:16 AM
I have the following Handel operas at home, and will listen to them shortly. Have no high hopes, but one never knows right...

Harry,

Most of the items in your list are oratorios.

If you want to get the magnitude of Handel's operatic genius, you really should start with one his greatest operas like:

Giulio Cesare
Rodelinda
Tamerlano
Ariodante
Alcina
Serse

I really advise you to start with a good recording of Giulio Cesare (like Marc Minkovski’s DG recording) and listen to it four or five times in succession.
I hope it will work for you…
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: T-C on November 22, 2007, 01:52:40 AM
I rank Marc-Antoine Charpentier the greatest french composer of the 17th century but I haven't heard any opera by him. I guess Médée by William Christie is the way to go?

Definitely the second Médée recording by William Christie with the late Lorraine Hunt in the leading role.

There is a good and cheap Christie recording of Charpentier’s David et Jonathas on Harmonia Mundi’s mid-price Musique d’abord.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: val on November 22, 2007, 02:05:03 AM
My favorite among Händel's oratorios are "Semele" and "Hercules", the most dramatic of all, with a superb orchestra (in special Semele) and real characters, like Dejanira in Hercules.

The Messiah is an extraordinary masterpiece very well known. Jephta is also a beautiful work.

"L'Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato", "Salomon" are beautiful but more decorative.

La Resurrectione is another wonderful work, in the style of Alessandro Scarlatti, composed in Händel's youth, when he was in Italy.

At last, there is Saul, an oratorio with extraordinary moments (Saul/Samuel, that seems to anticipate Verdi's Don Carlo) but also with weak moments, in special those related to David and Jonathan. It is a pity that Händel did not center the work on Saul's tragedy. The few scenes with Saul are and by far the best of this oratorio.

Regarding the operas I only know a few, and among them I prefer Giulio Cesare and Ariodante, not forgetting the beauty of Acis and Galatea.
I must hear Orlando and Tamerlano. I have been told they are also remarkable.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on November 22, 2007, 05:01:20 AM
Harry,

Most of the items in your list are oratorios.

If you want to get the magnitude of Handel's operatic genius, you really should start with one his greatest operas like:

Giulio Cesare
Rodelinda
Tamerlano
Ariodante
Alcina
Serse

I really advise you to start with a good recording of Giulio Cesare (like Marc Minkovski’s DG recording) and listen to it four or five times in succession.
I hope it will work for you…


Duly noted! Thanks for the time you took, to give me such good info. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: hildegard on November 22, 2007, 06:58:54 AM
I have the following Handel operas at home, and will listen to them shortly. Have no high hopes, but one never knows right...

Jeptha
Akademie fur Alte Music/Marcus Creed.

Acis & Galatea.
Ama Deus Ensemble/Valentin Radu.
I have already Gardiner's take, recorded in 1973, and like it very much.

Faramondo
Brewer Chamber Orchestra/Rudolph Palmer.

Juidas Maccabaeus.
English Chamber Orchestra/Johannes Somary.

Belsazar.
Berliner Singakademie, Kammerorchester Berlin/Dietrich Knothe.

Solomon.
English Chamber Orchestra, Amor Artis Chorale/Jeremy Somerly


I realize that not all of these performances are top notch, but it will give me a general idea of what the music is about.
Also knowing how many operas Handel has written, this is a small selection.
Acis and Galatea I like, so in that line I would like to continue.
Any advice in this would be appreciated....
Note: I will listen at least four times to every opera, before it is thrown in my refusal bin.....

I am glad to have revived this thread, for it is quickly filling up with great information.  :)

I believe, Harry, that the Solomon recording you mention above is also a Johannes Somary. He is known for having done some of the first recordings of Handel oratorios. 

Handel's works are sheer genius, be they orchestral, oratorios, or operas. In his vocal works, as Val has aptly pointed out, not only are the characters richly depicted, but the orchestration is amazing.

Incidentally, Alexander's Feast, or The Power of Music, as it is also known, is based on an ode written by John Dryden for St. Cecilia's Day, which is today. It was first performed on this day in 1736.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on November 22, 2007, 04:27:24 PM
I recently started getting into Handel, and have quite a collection, but I have run into a big problem. After about an hour of baroque opera, I feel like killing myself before listening to any more. I really haven't made past the first act of any opera except Giulio Cesare. Yesterday they where showing Rodelinda on tv and I was very excited. But the same thing happened, after like 6 arias I was exhausted and bored...I don't know what to do about it!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: head-case on November 22, 2007, 04:50:25 PM
I recently started getting into Handel, and have quite a collection, but I have run into a big problem. After about an hour of baroque opera, I feel like killing myself before listening to any more. I really haven't made past the first act of any opera except Giulio Cesare. Yesterday they where showing Rodelinda on tv and I was very excited. But the same thing happened, after like 6 arias I was exhausted and bored...I don't know what to do about it!
Listen to something good instead.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: T-C on November 23, 2007, 12:34:52 AM
I really haven't made past the first act of any opera except Giulio Cesare. Yesterday they where showing Rodelinda on tv and I was very excited. But the same thing happened, after like 6 arias I was exhausted and bored...I don't know what to do about it!

Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda are great masterpieces but these are long operas. The way to get acquainted with the music is to take one act at a time. Listen to one act from Giulio Cesare or Rodelinda three or four time in succession, and than you will see how the arias which may seem at first quite similar, sound quite different when your acquaintance with the music is deepened. At the moment that you will recognize the melodies (some of them are really divine, for example, in the first act of Giulio Cesare, Cornelia first aria or the Sesto-Cornelia duet), texture, orchestration, the use of all kind of musical dramatic means etc. you will see that in the following listening you will wait for each and every aria in the same way that occurs while listening to a Mozart or Verdi opera.

But you have to take into consideration that baroque opera is very different from 19th centaury opera, and it takes quite a while to get used to the aesthetics and style of the music. The key word is EXPOSURE. If you don’t have the time or the motivation, than do what head-case suggested to you: move to something else…
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on November 23, 2007, 06:34:14 AM
But you have to take into consideration that baroque opera is very different from 19th centaury opera, and it takes quite a while to get used to the aesthetics and style of the music.

I loved baroque opera from day one. It's the operas of Mozart and Beethoven I find difficult to enjoy.  :P
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on November 23, 2007, 11:53:15 PM
Giulio Cesare and Rodelinda are great masterpieces but these are long operas. The way to get acquainted with the music is to take one act at a time. Listen to one act from Giulio Cesare or Rodelinda three or four time in succession, and than you will see how the arias which may seem at first quite similar, sound quite different when your acquaintance with the music is deepened. At the moment that you will recognize the melodies (some of them are really divine, for example, in the first act of Giulio Cesare, Cornelia first aria or the Sesto-Cornelia duet), texture, orchestration, the use of all kind of musical dramatic means etc. you will see that in the following listening you will wait for each and every aria in the same way that occurs while listening to a Mozart or Verdi opera.

But you have to take into consideration that baroque opera is very different from 19th centaury opera, and it takes quite a while to get used to the aesthetics and style of the music. The key word is EXPOSURE. If you don’t have the time or the motivation, than do what head-case suggested to you: move to something else…


Thanks for the advice :) Getting acquainted with baroque operas are pretty easy because I find the arias easy to interpret.  I generally love the first few arias of every opera I have tried to listen to, and then it just gets boring to me. The action just moves much slower than the operas I am used to, the arias are incredibly long and I loose the ability to focus. I also find it hard to find libretti for baroque operas online, so I usually don't know what is going on. It seems to me baroque opera has many flaws, but some nice qualities as well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on November 24, 2007, 12:24:37 AM
I agree with the advice you have been given by TC. The arias can be extremely long and tend to be in the A-B-A structure, so when you have had about six minutes, they start again and you get another three. However, if the performances are imaginative, when A comes round again, it is modified by decoration or by altering the mood of the piece. Try to look out for that.

I think it is a matter of getting used to the style and allowing the piece to unfold rather than willing it to move on. One act at a time sounds excellent, then when you are really familiar with the music, the whole piece. If this does not work; go for highlights.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: MishaK on December 05, 2007, 10:09:30 AM
Another vote for the Christie Giulio Cesare DVD, though having just watched that same production live at the Lyric last Saturday (with Emanuelle Haim conducting) with the terriffic countertenor David Daniels in the lead role, I wish it had been recorded with him instead. I would also add that anyone looking for an excellent Hercules should likewise consider Christie's DVD:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51959N5ANML._AA240_.jpg)

Another engrossing production, excellently sung and vigorously directed by Christie. Nice stage direction as well. The choir pointing fingers at Dejanira, exclaiming "Jealousy!" is a great moment. I had the pleasure of seeing this production live as well, two years ago at the BAM.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on December 12, 2007, 09:31:11 PM
Anyone know where I can find the libretto for Agrippina or Ariodante? And a plus if its in English!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on December 13, 2007, 03:58:26 AM
Anyone know where I can find the libretto for Agrippina or Ariodante? And a plus if its in English!

Ariodante (http://www.karadar.com/Librettos/handel_ariodante.html) (Italian only).

This French site (http://odb-opera.com/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=1) has lots of libretti, including those two and 34 others by Handel.  Most are original language with French translation.  You do have to register to get to that libretto page, but it's free.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on December 13, 2007, 04:41:26 AM
Great thanks! Now I just need to learn french...  ;D

Easy cake, if you understand Mozarts Italian libretti...... ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Morigan on December 13, 2007, 06:24:20 AM
Another vote for the Christie Giulio Cesare DVD, though having just watched that same production live at the Lyric last Saturday (with Emanuelle Haim conducting) with the terriffic countertenor David Daniels in the lead role, I wish it had been recorded with him instead. I would also add that anyone looking for an excellent Hercules should likewise consider Christie's DVD:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51959N5ANML._AA240_.jpg)

Another engrossing production, excellently sung and vigorously directed by Christie. Nice stage direction as well. The choir pointing fingers at Dejanira, exclaiming "Jealousy!" is a great moment. I had the pleasure of seeing this production live as well, two years ago at the BAM.


David Daniels as Cesare? *faints* I really want to see and hear that.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: MishaK on December 13, 2007, 09:44:45 AM

David Daniels as Cesare? *faints* I really want to see and hear that.

Well, sadly, you missed it. The performance I saw was the last of the season. Daniels does have a disc of solo Handel arias out (with Norrington and his band accompanying), which includes the main arias from Cesare.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Morigan on December 13, 2007, 09:47:28 AM
Well, sadly, you missed it. The performance I saw was the last of the season. Daniels does have a disc of solo Handel arias out (with Norrington and his band accompanying), which includes the main arias from Cesare.

Yes, and this CD is in my possession. And the Handel oratorio one too. I just think Daniels should be cast for more Handel DVD's :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: MishaK on December 13, 2007, 09:52:24 AM
Yes, and this CD is in my possession. And the Handel oratorio one too. I just think Daniels should be cast for me Handel DVD's :)

He can be seen and heard on these two:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416DBGT3SGL._AA240_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5162PGVZYNL._AA240_.jpg)

But I have not seen either one.

BTW, my review of the Cesare at the Lyric is here (http://tonicblotter.blogspot.com/2007/12/earworm.html).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Morigan on December 13, 2007, 09:55:11 AM
There is a least one excerpt from the Rinaldo DVD on youtube (Venti turbini)... the staging looks... very, very weird. I'll have to investigate the Theodora one.

Kultur generally is an awful label, though.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on December 13, 2007, 11:59:54 PM
The Theodora is excellent, it has a modern twist to the staging, Peter Sellars is the Director. I am not a great admirer of his, but I could not imagine this piece brought more convincingly to life. As well as Daniels, who is superb, Upshaw is excellent. Their two duets are especially affecting, blissful. The whole approach by Christie is to produce long momnets of suspended time and each long aria is given with repeats. There is not a boring moment in it.

Additionally, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is at the top of her form and rivets attention as she unrolls each of her arias, such great acting is rare.

We had this on VHS after accidentally catching about half of it on TV, we wore the tape out, it stretched. So, it is good to now have it safely on DVD.

Here is a site about Daniels, but it is not being kept up to date, I have pretty much all the recordings mentioned. I especially recommend the Vivaldi Stabat Mater.

http://www.danielssings.com/recordings.html

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Handel on December 15, 2007, 07:15:15 PM
I agree with the advice you have been given by TC. The arias can be extremely long and tend to be in the A-B-A structure.

But in his oratorios, he did not hesitated to do not respect the ABA rule...

Examples from Handel's Saul

http://www.box.net/shared/gkvfxlpbbv (where Saul tries to kill David)

http://www.box.net/shared/b1sffhujfr
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on December 16, 2007, 12:19:00 AM
Yes, but equally, he many times does keep to the ABA structure. Theodora, Messiah etc....it was not a golden rule, but it was a frequent habit. The Messiah has one of the longest such arias, 'He was Despised' can last 13 minutes unless it is partially cut, which does often happen.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on February 09, 2008, 03:05:19 AM
Here is an elderly, but very beautiful rendition of a duet from Rodelinda with Janet Baker and Joan Sutherland.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NHS5xiJbhQ

Mike

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on February 09, 2008, 03:31:35 AM
or getting a Handel on the deluge...

...

So, I'm really getting into Handel's operas and oratorios (I'm considering them largely as one and the same body of work). When I'm getting into a new composer, I really like to steep myself single-mindedly in their stuff. But the problem with Handel is that there are so many of these bloody things and, unlike the Bach cantatas, it costs a serious amount of time and money to buy and properly get to know any one of them. I have bought and got into several of them already over the past six months, but I keep having a nagging feeling that I'm missing out on the best stuff  ::).

What I'm really looking for are value judgements about the relative merits of Handel's compositions in this field. Which are the major ones to look into, which are less essential? I want to experience the best of Handel's output in this field without shovel-feeding myself dozens of 3-hour works! Most commentary on them makes them out as all being superb. I can believe that, but I still want the best of the best.

I know already: Messiah, Saul, Giulio Cesare, Rinaldo - (loved all of these) - Il Trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno, Israel in Egypt, and a number of the Italian cantatas (liked these, but not as much as the first four there). I have heard a number of the others in concert (Theodora, Solomon, Samson, &c) but not enough times to fully appreciate them.

I think my next investigations shall be Theodora and Orlando. The latter is being staged here in Dublin later in the year, should be great fun. The former seems to be "the One" for Handel nuts...

From investigations elsewhere, it seems Agrippina, Serse, Hercules, Rodelinda, Ariodante, Alcina, Belshazzar and Judas Maccabeus are prime Handel. But people often speak of all of them in glowing terms. And there's this post from Mr. Rinkel:

More thoughts along these lines would be appreciated.



I am trawling through the complete Handel Italian operas and English biblical oratorios at my site (see my signature or my profile) Secular oratorios will be dealt with too when I'm done with these. There are WMA downloads from each work, from the best recordings available, so join up and try the samples for yourself.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on February 10, 2008, 10:27:24 AM
Another vote for the Christie Giulio Cesare DVD, though having just watched that same production live at the Lyric last Saturday (with Emanuelle Haim conducting) with the terriffic countertenor David Daniels in the lead role, I wish it had been recorded with him instead. I would also add that anyone looking for an excellent Hercules should likewise consider Christie's DVD:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51959N5ANML._AA240_.jpg)

Another engrossing production, excellently sung and vigorously directed by Christie. Nice stage direction as well. The choir pointing fingers at Dejanira, exclaiming "Jealousy!" is a great moment. I had the pleasure of seeing this production live as well, two years ago at the BAM.

I have this DVD and I agree with your assessment though I had a problem with the ending. They carry one the guilt ridden madness of Dejanira right into the final quite jubilant chorus, which produces a rather unsettling effect. Maybe that was the producers intent, I don't know, but it didn't work for me.

I thought the appearance of the huge statue of Hercules at the very end was a great idea, I would have brought it in a little earlier as its appearance was rather too brief to make its point before the final curtain.

Daniels sings on Minkowski's CD version of Hercules and is very good. I have the Christie Giulio Cesare DVD but was not particularly impressed with any of it, though GC 'himself' was quite good in this.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 04:34:46 AM
I assembled in toto 6 compositions from Handel opera, oratorios etc, not the best performances, but merely for finding what opera fits me, and which not. After that I will probably put them in the Refusal bin. I would like comments on the operas, and other versions, plus what best to avoid and what not. I do not like big voices, neither heavy vibrato, or unnatural drama. I am very much open for HIP performances too!
So, help me a bit on my way, if you please.

The ones I have on my desk now:

Solomon.
Justino Diaz.
Sheila Armstrong.
Robert Tear.
Michael Rippon.
Felicity Palmer.
Amor Artis Chorale, English Chamber Orchestra/Johannes Somary.
********************

Belsazar.
Peter Schreier.
Renate Frank Reinecke.
Ute Trekel Burkhardt.
Gisela Pohl.
Hermann Christian Polster.
Joachim Vogt.
Gunther Beyer.
Berliner Singakademie.
Kammerorchester Berlin/Dietrich Knothe.
*******************

Judas Maccabaeus.
Heather Harper.
Helen Watts.
Alexander Young.
John Shirley Quirk.
Enmglish Chamber Orchestra,
Amor Artis Chorale,
Wandsworth School Boys Choir
Conducted by Johannes Somary.
*********************

Faramondo.
D'Anna Fortunato.
Julianne Baird.
Drew Minter.
Jennifer Lane.
Mary Ann Callahan.
Peter Castaldi.
Lorie Gratis.
Mark Singer.
Brewer Chamber Orchestra/Rudolph Palmer.
*******************************

Acis and Galatea.
Julianne Baird.
Frederick Urrey.
David Price.
Kevin Deas.
Ama Deus Ensemble/Valentin Radu.
***************

Jeptha.
John Mark Ainsley.
Michael George.
Catherine Denley.
Christiane Oelze.
Axel Kohler.
Julia Gooding.
RIAS Kammerchoir,
Akademie fur Alte Music, Berlin/Marcus Creed.


That's it for now. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on February 27, 2008, 04:47:35 AM
I think there is only one opera in your list; Faramondo. The rest are oratorioes, or in the case og Acis & Galatea; a quasi-masque. There are also several old recordings which I would be sceptical of performancewise, but I don't know any of these .

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on February 27, 2008, 04:54:18 AM
I think there is only one opera in your list; Faramondo. The rest are oratorioes, or in the case og Acis & Galatea; a quasi-masque.

That is correct. I don't know all of Handel's operas by any means, but my very favorite is Orlando, which you can get in a good HIP version conducted by William Christie. I like even more an older LP version with Sofia Steffan conducted by Stephen Simon, but it is not available on CD and has some serious cuts.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 04:59:10 AM
I think there is only one opera in your list; Faramondo. The rest are oratorioes, or in the case og Acis & Galatea; a quasi-masque. There are also several old recordings which I would be sceptical of performancewise, but I don't know any of these .



Yes you are right, true my fault. :-[
Nevertheless, I would like some advice in this.
Corrected the error.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: JoshLilly on February 27, 2008, 09:26:34 AM
If you want to try Händel operas, and don't like big voices, how about the Gardiner Tamerlano? Nancy Argenta as Asteria should be enough to sell you on it.  ;D  All the singers are really good, and suit the small, period instrument ensemble (English Baroque Soloists) very well. Händel's operas are loaded with great melodies, and this is no exception.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 10:11:13 AM
If you want to try Händel operas, and don't like big voices, how about the Gardiner Tamerlano? Nancy Argenta as Asteria should be enough to sell you on it.  ;D  All the singers are really good, and suit the small, period instrument ensemble (English Baroque Soloists) very well. Händel's operas are loaded with great melodies, and this is no exception.

You are right, that one is on my maybe list, and Nancy Argenta, is a fine soprano.
Gardiner's approach is also one I admire.
So thank you for this pointer, as a sort of affirmation. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on February 27, 2008, 10:30:42 AM
Harry, check these links:

http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm)

http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 10:49:05 AM
Harry, check these links:

http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm)

http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm)

Q

My gratitude knows no end, thanks, Rego.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: uffeviking on February 27, 2008, 11:56:05 AM
Some clarification, please, if I may ask:

The advise you are seeking is only for CDs? You have not ventured into the treasures of seeing a large number of Handel's operas on DVD? Incredible riches awaiting you to see the operas performed by outstanding singers, actors!  ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 27, 2008, 12:35:16 PM
I think in Handel, the recording is more important than the music. What I mean is when 1 composer can make a fiasco out of it (Minkowski) another conductor can make the work fabulous (McGegan). Don't cheap out Harry!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 27, 2008, 12:36:54 PM
Harry, check these links:

http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm)

http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_oratorios.htm)

Q

What a great site, Thanks Q!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on February 27, 2008, 01:21:25 PM
Also:

http://gfhandel.org/ (http://gfhandel.org/)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 01:34:36 PM
Some clarification, please, if I may ask:

The advise you are seeking is only for CDs? You have not ventured into the treasures of seeing a large number of Handel's operas on DVD? Incredible riches awaiting you to see the operas performed by outstanding singers, actors!  ;)

I am open for DVD's as CD's.
But DVD's are rather expensive, so I first sample the music on cheap cd's, and when its worth my while, I will follow recommendations given.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 01:35:46 PM
I think in Handel, the recording is more important than the music. What I mean is when 1 composer can make a fiasco out of it (Minkowski) another conductor can make the work fabulous (McGegan). Don't cheap out Harry!

I listen purely for the music, and can hear that even if the performance sucks Elias., the music is good.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 01:38:19 PM
Also:

http://gfhandel.org/ (http://gfhandel.org/)

Also in my favourites, thanks Erato!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 27, 2008, 07:16:25 PM
I listen purely for the music, and can hear that even if the performance sucks Elias., the music is good.

I don't think I agree. The music is good, but the vocal lines are what Handel stresses and a poor singer makes a good aria boring. For Handel's music to be good the interpretation must be good. If I was stuck with Minkowski's Ariodante I would have never liked it, but luckily I listened to the McGegan one first and it clicked. Among the amazon reviews I've read, I have the unpopular opinion that McGegan's is far superior but what do amazon reviewers know? There are 2 types, 1 who loves everything and 1 who hates everything.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 27, 2008, 11:48:15 PM
I don't think I agree. The music is good, but the vocal lines are what Handel stresses and a poor singer makes a good aria boring. For Handel's music to be good the interpretation must be good. If I was stuck with Minkowski's Ariodante I would have never liked it, but luckily I listened to the McGegan one first and it clicked. Among the amazon reviews I've read, I have the unpopular opinion that McGegan's is far superior but what do amazon reviewers know? There are 2 types, 1 who loves everything and 1 who hates everything.


I will keep in mind all you said Elias.
And by the way I like most of the things McGegan does. I started with Handel's Brockes Music long ago, and than collected a few thing with him over the years.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: val on February 28, 2008, 12:38:40 AM
Two of Händel best oratorios, Semele and Hercules are, indeed operas.

Both are great masterpieces. I would suggest Semele's version directed by John Nelson with Kathleen Battle and Hercules conducted by Gardiner with Sarah Walker and Jennifer Smith.

Regarding the operas that I have listened, Ariodante and Julius Cesar are my favorite.

I would also mention an oratorio, composed when Händel was in Italy, La Resurrezione, a work with an extraordinary melodic inspiration. There is a very good interpretation of Hogwood.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 28, 2008, 05:53:55 PM
I'm a big fan of HIP Handel. Here's what I own and can whole-heartedly recommend them:



(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6040897.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2966649.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/8283900.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7621176.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4803469.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2055147.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7117886.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6304944.jpg)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41W3XKM0MSL._SS500_.jpg)



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 28, 2008, 05:55:35 PM
Here's the rest of what I own:



(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6477347.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4107055.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/8386571.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/3310379.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5343946.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/8187925.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/5978201.jpg)



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 28, 2008, 06:44:26 PM
I'm a big fan of HIP Handel. Here's what I own and can whole-heartedly recommend them:



(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6040897.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2966649.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/8283900.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7621176.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/4803469.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/2055147.jpg)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/7117886.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/image/cover/front/0/6304944.jpg)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41W3XKM0MSL._SS500_.jpg)





Disgusting dude! You choose the Gardiner Agrippina over the McGegan one? Maybe its time to clean out the earwax huh? Also Minkowski's Ariodante over McGegan's? Anne Sofie von Otter is horrible as Ariodante! McGegan's period orchestra sounds better than Minkowski's, and its even at a tempo where one can actually hear things!
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CrOOvTRoL._SS400_.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512YCQXTYZL._SS500_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51H7H08QBQL._SS500_.jpg)

This is Handel's best oratorio, and it deserves more praise than Messiah:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41YCRMM1Z0L._SS400_.jpg)

And I'll post arias from each in a minute
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on February 28, 2008, 06:58:44 PM
Disgusting dude! You choose the Gardiner Agrippina over the McGegan one? Maybe its time to clean out the earwax huh? Also Minkowski's Ariodante over McGegan's? Anne Sofie von Otter is horrible as Ariodante! McGegan's period orchestra sounds better than Minkowski's, and its even at a tempo where one can actually hear things!

I despise McGegan in Handel...and I adore Minkowski...

Pretty much everything you stand for in Handel I oppose. ;D



 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 28, 2008, 07:03:10 PM
Ariodante

Spero Per Voi
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/q-fxIQEoZg0

Volate, amori
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/q86jPlyDgng

Apri Le Luci
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/lq0243bSWto

Con L'ali Di Costanza (L. Hunt)
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/ONkrwFiFudQ

Compare to Minkowski and Otter (vomit inducing)
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/wh3Qre6-GzM


Agrippina While Gardiner's and McGegan's Agrippina are both great, the other characters and the orchestra are much better in McGegan's.

Non Ho Cor Che Per Amarti
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/DT5hDBgQshs

Vaghe Perle
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/rn2iyYiSDMQ
Con Saggio
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/Ge4DyNwe7LQ
 L'alma mia fra le tempeste
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/T461CLIIlGw
Se giunge un dispetto
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/OuJRalNh-dw
Ogni Vento
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/uBjcv8PV7Bw
Col Peso
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/yGyHLleeX-g


Ottone


Falsa Immagine
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/F985QeYcLR0
Pensa Ad Amare
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/5BWPXB1tkCE
Lovely Aria Benche Mi Sia Crudel

http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/xFWtd8GKlxQ
Gode L'alma Consolata
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/Ser7xRuwBrA
Affani Del Pensier
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/vWFdpZrDbtM
Alla Fana
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/UXeqtlE0kKw



Ahh Im tired now...

Judas Maccabaeus
 So shall the lute and harp awake
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/oRpC_bgO5u4
From Mighty Kings
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/PXbz17JyzQA

Come ever smilling liberty
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/PCLBOECjRzk

Wretched Israel
http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/1B-NP2ETC7M
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 28, 2008, 07:04:12 PM
I despise McGegan in Handel...and I adore Minkowski...

Pretty much everything you stand for in Handel I oppose. ;D



 

Well I guess we won't be seeing each other at the opera anytime soon :P But just in case, bring some boxing gloves  :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 29, 2008, 12:07:12 AM
The Messiah I have, and the rest you have posted will keep me busy for a long time.
Thank you very much.
My list is about 2 meters long by now, so I cannot complain. ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on February 29, 2008, 12:11:28 AM
Elias me lad, amazing video's, that will keep me busy also, for a long time.
I am grateful for all these samples, and it will help me enormously, I am sure about that.
Pfffffffffff, all the work you made of it. :o :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Morigan on February 29, 2008, 09:33:57 AM
Minkowski is a superior conductor! :P
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Mozart on February 29, 2008, 02:33:35 PM
Elias me lad, amazing video's, that will keep me busy also, for a long time.
I am grateful for all these samples, and it will help me enormously, I am sure about that.
Pfffffffffff, all the work you made of it. :o :)

Your welcome Harry, anything so you make the right decision. As you can see, I'm low on supporters!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on March 01, 2008, 12:23:37 AM
I have quite a lot of the sets that are mentioned here, and am in general quite firmly in the Minkowski camp, but in the case of the Ariodante (a major opera) choice is not clearcut. A case can be had for having both (as I do).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 01:09:59 AM
I'm not sure if I'm doing the right thing here. There has been a similar thread to this one, but no one has posted in it for over a year, and I received a warning when I tried to add to it. "Please consider starting a new thread", it advised me, in red. So I'm starting a new thread. A tyro, discoverer's thread.

What I'm looking for is a place I can keep returning to, to swap notes and chat about exploring Handel operas for the first time. I'm feeling not a little overwhelmed, simply because there's so much to explore, and because I've spent most of my life completely unaware of Handel beyond Messiah, Fireworks, and Water Music. I had no idea - really no idea at all - just how easy it is to enjoy (well, become obsessed by, more like) the operas/cantatas etc. I even came to him by an unorthodox route: imagine an Englishman discovering Handel after first falling in love with French Baroque and then deciding, almost as an afterthought, to see what was happening in England at the time ..... and then discovering that there was a 250-year anniversary in progress.

OK, let me make a start. I have tickets to see Ariodante later this year, so have been listening to this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CrOOvTRoL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Wonderful stuff, of course, but two arias stand out for me - and I know this will seem embarrassingly tyro-esque enthusiasm for Handelians who know this stuff backwards, much as I suppose I might feel about someone who bubbled over after just discovering 'Nimrod' on listening to the Enigma Variations for the first time - but I have to start somewhere, you see. I have to get the 'bubbling over' bit out somehow.

First up is 'Scherza infida'; I can't get past it. I listen to the disc, and when I reach this I just can't resist pausing, wiping the tears away, and starting again. I'd heard nothing of Lorraine Hunt Lieberson before this, but my goodness she wrings my heart out when she sings this. The bitterness, the grief - they're palpable.

And then, oh then ... there's 'Dopo notte'. How am I supposed to sit still when listening to this? I want to march about, open the windows, invite the neighbours in, feed them with champagne. And this, mark you, is with the Lorraine Hunt version. What happened next was that I belatedly got around to listening to the coverdisc devoted to Handel which came stuck to the April issue of Gramophone, and there heard, for the first time, Janet Baker's rendering, with Leppard conducting - taken, I think from an album of arias she made that's now out of print.  Well, the roof blew off. I played it over and over, striding around the room, waving my arms and punching the air. This is more rock and roll than rock and roll. The orchestra drives the music along like a steam train, and Baker takes it to the mountaintop. It's worth buying the April back issue of Gramophone just to get this, if you don't have it.

And this is the same composer who wrote the delicate pastoral watercolour music of Acis and Galatea? Unbelievable. But that's another story.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 20, 2009, 02:30:22 AM
Welcome among us Handel-nuts. I am PARTICULARLY fond of Handels Italian works, and have been slowly working my way towards a complete collection of his Italian operas the last 7-8 years, adding 2-4 new works to my collection each year as the record companies sees fit to add new HIP recordings. You have certainly started with one of my 4-5 favorite works.

Let me just add that I strongly recommend, as well, his early Italian cantatas (lots of ideas in the operas were nicked from these) and that Glossa's series (currently at 5 releases, and cheaply available on prestoclassical.co.uk) is superb. There are fine releases from the likes of Kozena and von Otter (IIRC) on Archiv as well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 04:47:22 AM
Let me just add that I strongly recommend, as well, his early Italian cantatas (lots of ideas in the operas were nicked from these) and that Glossa's series (currently at 5 releases, and cheaply available on prestoclassical.co.uk) is superb. There are fine releases from the likes of Kozena and von Otter (IIRC) on Archiv as well.

Thanks for this. Do those Glossa sets include librettos?

I should explain that I've not structured my delving in any sensible way - tending to follow whim, good reviews, personal recommendations, and also pursuing arias I've enjoyed in albums of collections. Also, I've not really concerned myself about whether they're operas or merely sung works. So my 'listened to so far' list includes Acis and Galatea (a great favourite), Apollo e Dafne, Floridante, Giulio Cesare and Alcina, which is quite a motley collection I think!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 20, 2009, 05:32:24 AM
Thanks for this. Do those Glossa sets include librettos?

yes they do; they are luxury editions in every way!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 05:49:48 AM
yes they do; they are luxury editions in every way!

Hoorah! Thank you.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 20, 2009, 11:19:52 AM
Elgarian,

I share your enthusiasm for Ariodante. Now, be aware, visiting this site can cost you a lot of money, if you weaken and buy things that people suggest to you. You have mentioned two of my favourite singers. Baker and Hunt-Lieberson. Hunt Lieberson started singing in the Soprano range, but somehow the transition to Mezzo brought a more distinctive sound and she blossomed into the extrordinary communicator she was for that very brief career.

Ariodante with Janet Baker, Edith Mathis etc and conducted by Leppard is available on Phillips. It is an excellent performance, though on modern instruments, rather than authentic ones. Another highlight of the opera is the duet 'Bramo aver' towards the end of the opera. Handel was exceptionally sparing of duets, often supplying 20 arias and only two duets in a piece. However, they were often amongst his most beautiful pieces.

'Scherza infida' yields to a number of interpretations. It can be regretful, elegaic, filled with anger or other worldly, a masterpiece. If you like the countertenor voice, then the disc by David Daniels that includes this aria sheds a yet different light on it.

Amongst my own favourites of Handel's major vocal works are Julius Caesar and Theodora. Handel named that latter piece as his greatest piece and it was amongst his final, if not his final piece. If you like the idea of DVDs for opera, then in each instance I urge the Glyndbourne versions on you. Each production is riviting in its own way. However, if you need CDs, there is no complete Theodora with Hunt Lieberson singing the Mezzo part of Irene. She is the soprano on one set. From our old site I quote my review of her recital that includes Irene's music......

"Fifteen years ago this disc would probably have received a less extatic welcome. At that time we were still in thrall to the expressionless white tone of the Early Music specialists. To an extent we have moved away from this way of singing and listening to Bach and Handel through singers such as Ann Sophie von Otter.
However, with Hunt Lieberson we are back, in the best sense, to the supra-expressiveness and wide range of tone colours of the likes of Janet Baker. Here we see the 'face' of the singer.

Hunt Lieberson has been lauded for the spiritual aspect of her singing and in the Theodora items she pours out beautiful tone getting to the heart of this music expressing faith. 'As with rosy steps' becomes a benediction and she fines her tone down to a penetrating but tender thread. Throughout the disc she also makes the silences work dramatically rather than simply exist between the notes. It says much for the singer that the conductor of the disc, Harry Bicket, part financed the disc to ensure these performances were preserved. He and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment serve her and the music well.

The other major item here is the early Italian cantata, 'La Lucretia' We and Hunt Lieberson know this through Janet Baker's first rate performance. However, the new performance finds different light and shades and again the singer inhabits rather than illustrates the character of Lucretia. A performance full of detail and flashes of temperament marvelously sung.

Finally two arias from Serse; where even 'Ombra mai fu' comes up fresh and tender.

A must have disc. Please, we need some more from this singer, now surely in the prime of her vocal and interperative powers. This is art that illuminates."

Again, copied from our old site, my review of the Julius Caesar DVD.....

"Glyndebourne awoke very late to the possibilities offered by Handel’s Operas. In its entire history, it has produced only two and has additionally staged versions of the Oratorios Jephtha then Theodora. Odd, considering the popularity of Handel over the last twenty years. Theodora was a terrific success, closely followed with the Silent Screen version of Rodalinda. Now the latest show, Giulio Casare. I say and mean ‘show’, this is to an extent Bollywood meets Baroque. In every respect I believe it to be a resounding success.

I have the DVDs a luxury box with three discs! There are excellent extras, but you get three hours of inspired Handel in an imaginative production where the musical side could not be bettered. There is not a dull moment in it. The plot is made very clear, which is an achievement. The setting is for the most part a blend of British Colonial from the 1880s to the 1920s and late Ottoman for the Egyptian court. Occasionally the late 20th centaury intrudes, but it does not jar. There are a lot of laughs, but there is real pathos and the moving moments are not at all underplayed.

The conductor is William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, it plays its socks off. There is a real variety of colour. The horns whoop it in the aria Va tacito, the woodwinds and the violins are light and airy. There is an enormous range of volume. The orchestra was exciting and definitely a protagonist, not plodding along with a mere accompaniment.

Everything is put in the lap of the audience to engage it and to enlighten it. The politics are treated quite lightly, but they are there. The decadence and the plotting of the Egyptian court are made clear in everything from the costumes to the dance moves and through to superb three dimensional character acting.

So, why Bollywood? The Egyptian court often expresses a lot of what it is about through the  choreography. For instance, Cleopatra sings her first aria and dances it accompanied by and echoed by dancers around her. She at once establishes that she is kittenish, humorous, intelligent, sexy, dangerous and; the dancing makes clear her contempt for her brother Tolomeo. This last is a nasty effete degenerate, he likes costumes and cruelty and has no loyalty to anyone.
When Caesar arrives, Tolomeo tries to poision him, first with drink, then food. Here is a clearly choreographed scene where Caesar, the straight dealer immediately gets to grips with the plots against him, whilst singing Va Tacito, he moves backwards and forwards across the stage contrary to the Egyptians, exposing their poorly thought out plots. It is like a stately galliard of diplomacy, with the hidden agenda being exposed by the stage movements. Terrific, comic and serious in turns.

All the cast are completely first rate. Sarah Connolly is absolutely convincing as a man. I at once accepted her as male and was not aware at all of the woman-dressed-as-a-man issue. It is a remarkable piece of acting and her singing is superb. Runs, trills, legato, decoration…it all looks easy from her. Danielle de Niese equally terrific, great technique, she moved like a professional dancer and clearly had fun. Her every movement added to your understanding of her character. But she also plumbed the heartbreak and the sincerity of the role. I wanted even more music.

Patricia Bardon, the widow Cornelia, a virtuous Roman matron to the life. She went through a lot of violence, either being dragged round the stage by Tolomeo, or his thug of a sidekick, Achilla. The former was sung by the young countertenor Christophe Dumaux and he sometimes could not be distinguished from Bardon with her burnished contralto, a compliment, not a problem.

His acting was as good as anyone’s, he was detestable and the cowardly nature came through clearly. The director, David McVicar certainly expected him to be acrobatic. I was often taken aback by the sheer quality of the stagecraft from everyone involved. Angela Kirchschlager did her usual trousers role as Cornelia’s son, she sang well, but here, despite her being so well known for this type of role, I never was deceived; I was looking at a woman pretending to be a ‘lad’.

I could go on, Christopher Maltman was first rate as the aforementioned thug, the camp comic turn by Rachid Ben Abdeslam as Cleopatra’s confidante was a showstopper. He had an ever present folded umbrella on his arm, another good dancer and is yet another first rate countertenor.

It is a great shame Handel rations duets so severely. Possibly the best music in the piece was for Cornelia and her son at the end of act One, a sublime duet, one of only two in the long score. Both duets were memorably sung. 

At the end the crowd roared and I was not at all surprised. Glyndebourne, more Handel, as soon as you please.


Further Handel or Hunt Lieberson items....

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,555.0.html

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,555.20.html

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,555.40.html

Mike



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 12:09:47 PM
I share your enthusiasm for Ariodante. Now, be aware, visiting this site can cost you a lot of money, if you weaken and buy things that people suggest to you.

I'm well aware of it! However, I slow myself down by seeking out as many reviews as I can before making a purchase (if it's an expensive one). That's kept me from complete bankcruptcy so far, though it's been a close-run thing sometimes.

Quote
Amongst my own favourites of Handel's major vocal works are Julius Caesar and Theodora.

Giulio Cesare I know; and I have the DVD you've reviewed there (jhar26, another member of this forum, was responsible for tipping me off in that respect). It's one of the most breathtaking opera productions on DVD that I've ever seen, and I fully concur with your high regard for it. It sets the bar very high for other purchases to reach ....

Theodora - I have the Christie version with Sophie Daneman awaiting my attention (I haven't listened to it yet). But this is a consequence of my having effectively discovered Baroque through Christie, Daneman and Petibon singing French material; I've tended to opt for anything with Sophie Daneman in it in particular, and I love her singing in Acis & Galatea. But I already have my eye on the Glyndbourne Theodora DVD with Hunt Liberson, and your recommendation has pushed it up several notches on my list - so thank you.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: jhar26 on April 20, 2009, 12:52:06 PM

Amongst my own favourites of Handel's major vocal works are Julius Caesar and Theodora.


Handel named that latter piece as his greatest piece and it was amongst his final, if not his final piece. If you like the idea of DVDs for opera, then in each instance I urge the Glyndbourne versions on you. Each production is riviting in its own way.
I love the Giulio Cesare DVD, but Peter Sellars doing the production of Theodora scares the living daylights out of me. Do you (or anyone else) know of any good Handel operas on DVD in more traditional productions?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 20, 2009, 01:04:39 PM
There is an English National Opera version of Julius Caesar with Janet Baker, very traditional. It is not live, but I think it was transported into a studio for the recording. It is pretty good. Also by ENO, Xerses...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31udd2l4-mL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is exceptionally well thought of. It has anachronistic touches, the setting is more contemporary to Handel's time. When he was producing his works, the singers would dress in 18th cent clothes with the odd touch of ancient armour or the odd toga over the contemporary clothes.

However, that Theodora is not the usual Sellars scare tactics of, for example, his Mozart Da Ponte productions. By contrast, the Theodora, although updated, is superbly moving. I have never encountered a negative comment on it.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: jhar26 on April 20, 2009, 01:53:50 PM
Thanks, Mike. That Xerxes looks like 'the real thing.'  :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 07:15:03 PM
I love the Giulio Cesare DVD, but Peter Sellars doing the production of Theodora scares the living daylights out of me.

I was looking at a you-tube from this Theodora a few days ago, Gaston (while looking for more Lorraine Hunt Lieberson) - see here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlt1UxjvWU

This is a tricky one. She's magnificent; the aria wonderful; but I can see that the production might indeed make me squirm a bit. I really can't tell from an 8-minute clip how the thing will seem in the whole, though Mike's comments are obviously reassuring.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 20, 2009, 07:33:36 PM
And also - a couple of clips from the ENO Xerxes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l25f4YOXg3I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l25f4YOXg3I)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEzDivKgbo0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEzDivKgbo0)

Bearing in mind that my general preference is to listen on CD rather than watch on DVD (unless the DVD is exceptional), I'm not sure about this one. I'm not sure what I'm gaining by the watching that I wouldn't prefer merely to imagine.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 20, 2009, 08:34:50 PM
I really can't tell from an 8-minute clip how the thing will seem in the whole, though Mike's comments are obviously reassuring.
On the whole it works much better than one should think from a short clip; I've just watched it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on April 20, 2009, 08:52:03 PM
Any thoughts about these recordings? :)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5099969586224.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Georg-Friedrich-H%E4ndel-6-Opern-Gesamtaufnahmen-Il-Complesso-Barocco-Alan-Curtis/hnum/2846816)
Click picture

Admeto (Rachel Yakar, Rita Dams, Ulrik Gold, Max van Egmont, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 1977)
Arminio (Vivica Genaux, Geraldine McGGreevy, Dominique Labelle, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2000)
Deidamia (Simone Kermes, Anna Bonitatibus, Dominique Labelle, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2001)
Radamisto (Joyce DiDonato, Patrizia Ciofi Maite Beaumont, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2004)
Rodrigo (Sandrine Piau, Gloria Banditelli, Rufus Müller, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 1997)
Fernando, Re di Castiglia (Lawrence Zazzo, Veronica Cangemi, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2005)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 20, 2009, 09:14:46 PM
Sorry Rego, I have not got even one of those recordings.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 20, 2009, 10:30:13 PM
Any thoughts about these recordings? :)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/5099969586224.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/art/Georg-Friedrich-H%E4ndel-6-Opern-Gesamtaufnahmen-Il-Complesso-Barocco-Alan-Curtis/hnum/2846816)
Click picture

Admeto (Rachel Yakar, Rita Dams, Ulrik Gold, Max van Egmont, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 1977)
Arminio (Vivica Genaux, Geraldine McGGreevy, Dominique Labelle, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2000)
Deidamia (Simone Kermes, Anna Bonitatibus, Dominique Labelle, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2001)
Radamisto (Joyce DiDonato, Patrizia Ciofi Maite Beaumont, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2004)
Rodrigo (Sandrine Piau, Gloria Banditelli, Rufus Müller, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 1997)
Fernando, Re di Castiglia (Lawrence Zazzo, Veronica Cangemi, Max Emmanuel Cencic, Il Complesso Barocco, Alan Curtis / 2005)

Q
Yes. That I regret buying most (at least 4) of these singly. Somewhat variable in quality IIRC but never less than good, and it contains 2-3 operas that are not easily available in other versions.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 21, 2009, 12:31:51 AM
I didn't know this box existed - has anyone actually seen one? I presume there are no librettos in this collected set?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on April 21, 2009, 02:37:30 AM
I didn't know this box existed - has anyone actually seen one? I presume there are no librettos in this collected set?

According to the track listing at the EMI website, disc 16 of the set has libretti and liner notes.

I'm tempted to get it, since I've already got the Deidamia, Fernando and Rodrigo, and like 'em a lot, but I guess it'd be cheaper to find the other three individually. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: T-C on April 21, 2009, 05:13:50 AM
Handel is one of my most favorite composers. I have over 300 CDs and DVDs with his music…  8)

A few Handel opera recommendations:

Giulio Cesare : DVD – Christie (Opus Arte) – The Glyndebourne production.
                                 This is the obvious recommendation…
                         CD – Minkowski (DG)

Rodelinda : DVD – Christie (Kultur) – Another Glyndebourne gem. This is one of Handel's greatest
                                   operas and this recording is the best – audio or video.
                         CD – Curtis – This is not a perfect performance, but it’ Ok.

Tamerlano : DVD – McCreesh (Opus Arte)
                       CD – Petru (MDG) – Excellent!

Ariodante : DVD – Curtis (Dynamic) – Very good !
                   CD – Minkowski (DG) – one of the greatest recordings of a Handel opera.

Alcina : CD – Curtis (DG). This new one is currently the best recording for this opera.

Serse : DVD – Rousset (TDK). The best DVD version. And the singing is in Italian…
                CD – McGegan (Conifer)

Orlando : DVD Christie (Arthaus) – Musically not bad but not everyone will like the staging…
                CD : Hogwood (Decca) or Christie (Erato) – I cannot decide which is the better…

Theodora : DVD – Christie (Kultur). The Glyndebourne production. Not exactly an opera but
                         musically this is a knockout! And it is one of Handel’s greatest creations.

Hercules: DVD – Christie (Bel Air) – A staged oratorio. Outstanding performance especially from
                        Joyce DiDonato as Dejanira.
                   CD – Minkowski (DG)

Agrippina : DVD – Malgoire (Dynamic). The staging is modern, but Veronique Gens and
                             Philippe Jaroussky are the mother and son…
                       CD – Gardiner (Philips)

Riccardo Primo – CD – Goodwin (DHM). The Rousset (Decca) recording was even better, but
                          currently unavailable. This new recording with Lawrence Zazzo and Nuria Rial is very good.

Rinaldo – CD – Hogwood (Decca) or Jacobs (HM)

Teseo – DVD – Katschner (Arthaus). Beautiful.
                 CD – Minkowski (Erato)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 21, 2009, 05:33:14 AM
Add la Resurrezione with Minkowsky an Archiv and Røschmanns German Arias on HM.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on April 21, 2009, 05:40:04 AM
My favorite single disc of Handel vocal music is "Heroic Arias" sung by James Bowman with Robert King conducting.  This is Bowman at his best, and King is/was my favored Handel conductor.  King's in prison now for messing with boys; that was a sad day when I heard the news.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: jhar26 on April 21, 2009, 09:46:13 AM
And also - a couple of clips from the ENO Xerxes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l25f4YOXg3I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l25f4YOXg3I)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEzDivKgbo0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEzDivKgbo0)

Bearing in mind that my general preference is to listen on CD rather than watch on DVD (unless the DVD is exceptional), I'm not sure about this one. I'm not sure what I'm gaining by the watching that I wouldn't prefer merely to imagine.
I wonder if I'll be able to resist getting myself a copy of the Xerxes DVD. ;)

I enjoy opera CD's and DVD's about equally. If you would put a gun to my head I guess that I would choose DVD's because opera is supposed to be a visual as well as a musical art form and with CD's the visual aspect isn't there.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 21, 2009, 10:01:07 AM
And the Tamerlano with Domingo and Mingardo - Bajazet and Andronico - McCreesh conducting, is not on the list?  ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 21, 2009, 10:11:52 AM
If you would put a gun to my head I guess that I would choose DVD's because opera is supposed to be a visual as well as a musical art form and with CD's the visual aspect isn't there.

In principle, I completely agree about this. I mean, rather than listen to a CD or watch a DVD, I would vastly prefer to attend a good live production, in which the visual is enormously important and it's easy to become fully immersed in it - in the reality, the presence, of it. Now, with a CD, for me, the visual is still there - but it's in my head. I 'see' the opera unfolding in imagination, as it were. The problem with a DVD is that unless it's really good, it interferes with that imaginative process and replaces it with something less helpful. So, with something like the Glyndebourne Giulio, or the Christie Indes Galantes, or the Dessay/Villazon Manon, the visual aspect is so compelling that I try to follow every movement, every gesture, and come back again for more. But if it's a less than compelling DVD, my attention drifts from the rectangular screen and I end up preferring just to listen.

Or maybe I need a really big TV!!!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on April 25, 2009, 09:10:58 AM
Sorry Rego, I have not got even one of those recordings.

Mike

Of course I have them all!  ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on April 27, 2009, 12:32:30 PM
And now it's Sony's turn. All those fat boxes are...scary! :o :o

And one couldn't get even one opera for that price... (€44 at jpc)

(http://www.jpc.de/image/w600/front/0/0886974894025.jpg) (http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/detail/-/lang/en/currency/EUR/hnum/6527277/art_hex/47656f72672d4672696564726963682d48e46e64656c2d382d4f7065726e2d476573616d746175666e61686d656e)

Rinaldo (Cotrubas, Watkinson, Esswooe, Brett, Cold, Le Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roi, Malgoire / 1977)
Julius Caesar (Treigle, Sills, Forrester, New York City Opera Orchestra, Rudel / 1967)
Tamerlano (Ledroit, Elwes, van der Sluis, Jacobs, Poulenard, Le Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roi, Malgoire / 1983)
Rodelinda (Schlick, Schubert, Cordier, Wessel, Pregardien, La Stagione Frankfurt, Schneider / 1990)
Alessandro (Jacobs, Boulin, Poulendard, Nirouet, Varcoe, Mey, La Petite Bande, Kuijken / 1984)
Lotario (Kermes, Mingardo, Davislim, Summers, Prina, Il Complesso Barocco, Curtis / 2003)
Partenope (Laki, Müller-Molinari, Jacobs, Skinner, La Petite Bande, Kuijken / 1979)
Xerxes (Watkinson, Esswood, Wenkel, Hendricks, Rodde, Le Grande Ecurie et la Chambre du Roy, Malgoire / 1979)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 27, 2009, 10:21:15 PM
And now it's Sony's turn. All those fat boxes are...scary! :o :o

And one couldn't get even one opera for that price... (€44 at jpc)

Scary indeed. I can't find any trace of this on Amazon yet.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on April 29, 2009, 05:07:40 AM
Scary indeed. I can't find any trace of this on Amazon yet.

amazon.com ($56.99): http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Opera-Collection/dp/B001V69WN8/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1241013720&sr=1-3
It just released on April 21st, but it says: Temporarily out of stock.
Order now and we'll deliver when available, blah, blah, blah.

But I see you're in the UK.  I don't see it at amazon.co.uk, either.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 29, 2009, 06:27:46 AM
Malgoire has never impressed me much. A fine price agrred, but exceopt for the Lotario I would guess there are far better versions of most of these works available. There's a fine, 15 CD Virgin set:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg) 

at 40 GBP that I would prefer as an introduction to Handels operas; containing:

dmeto                                                                             

René Jacobs, Rachel Yakar, Ulrik Cold

 

Arminio                                                                             
Vivica Genaux, Geraldine McGreevy, Dominique Labelle

Deidamia                                                                           
Simone Kermes, Dominique Labelle, Anna Maria Panzarella

Radamisto                                                                       
Joyce DiDonato, Patrizia Ciofi, Maite Beaumont,
Zachary Stains, Laura Cherici, Dominique Labelle

Rodrigo                                                                             
Gloria Banditelli, Sandrine Piau

Fernando, rè di Castiglia
Lawrence Zazzo, Veronica Cangemi, Marianna Pizzolato, Max Emanuel Cencic

all with the Il Complesso Barocco / Alan Curtis
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 29, 2009, 12:31:37 PM
Hot off the press - klassik.com - which should be of interest:

http://magazin.klassik.com/reviews/reviews.cfm?task=review&REID=9745&RECID=15267&CFID=5817657&CFTOKEN=136262ca4e137c9f-F3C13717-0E85-C246-6EA5A8BF6353F8AF

I assume Handel fans are also proficient in the German language.  8)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on April 29, 2009, 12:36:25 PM

I assume Handel fans are also proficient in the German language.  8)

Bad assumption.  I'm still trying to get the hang of the English language.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brünnhilde forever on April 29, 2009, 04:36:51 PM
Then open the site anyhow and listen to the sound bites; click on 'Hörbeispiele, the long list of numbers!  ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on April 29, 2009, 10:48:39 PM
There's a fine, 15 CD Virgin set:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg) 

at 40 GBP that I would prefer as an introduction to Handels operas

That's enormously tempting, but the downside, of course, is that this box is booklet-free. There's a disc with all the libretti etc on it, but I find those things far from satisfactory, myself.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on April 30, 2009, 10:06:17 PM
I wasn't aware of that as I have most of these issues singly. Why do they do these things? OK - to save a few quid on the sale price; but I would think that a set like this appeals to an audience that would accept paying for that, and would see documentation as important for works as rare as these. If you are interested enough to put up 40 quid for a set of discs like these you are likely interested enough to pay for knowing whats going on - and documentation on discs don't work for me either. I need something easily available to read WHILE I listen. It is noe exactly the 300th recording of Heidenrøslein we are talking about here either.

On a similar note, I was deeply disturbed when I found the Sonys double disc reissue of Goulds recording of Hindemiths rarely recorded, and essential, Marienleben song cycle, was without texts as well and the only documentation was a copy of the original LP covers, reduced down to CD format and completely illegible, even in a microscope. It's not a cheap set of discs either, at 10 GBP for a double reissue of 90 minutes of music. I saw musicweb loved the music and performance, but warned prospective purchasers as well as I do here. BEWARE!  And no discs or other source of texts either, but if someone has a link somewhere that would be useful. You might as well get a free rip, the CD offers nothing of additional value.

This is why you are losing to downloads guys (and ultimately to free ripping), one of the reasons I prefer CDs is the documentation and surrounding material, and I am willing to pay for it.

Somebody (and not Lebrecht) should write a book on the "Stupidity of the Music Majors".

Somehow I think Virgin would never have reissued that Handel box so stupidly if they weren't a part of EMI.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 06, 2009, 07:09:24 AM
OK - to save a few quid on the sale price; but I would think that a set like this appeals to an audience that would accept paying for that, and would see documentation as important for works as rare as these. If you are interested enough to put up 40 quid for a set of discs like these you are likely interested enough to pay for knowing whats going on - and documentation on discs don't work for me either. I need something easily available to read WHILE I listen.

Exactly so. I wonder how much they actually do save on production costs by not including the librettos? Take the Warner Handel Edition, for instance - terrific value at 6 discs in each box for under £20, and there is a booklet included in each box - but it doesn't have the text - just synopses, and the offer of an only-just-legible pdf download from the website. If you're going to make a booklet at all - why not make a proper one?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 06, 2009, 07:20:32 AM
But enough grumbling. Here's cause for celebration:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414D6QJ5WYL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is just fabulous. It's the first of the Italian cantantas that I've encountered, and it has charmed me to bits. On that basis I've already ordered the companion Helios recording of Aminta e Fillide by the same line-up of Denis Darlow and the London Handel Orchestra. But my question is this - how do these compare with the much more recent recordings of Bonizzoni and La Risonanza, on Glossa? I know the Glossa series is highly regarded but I haven't been able to find any samples from them online.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on May 06, 2009, 07:49:38 AM
I know the Glossa series is highly regarded but I haven't been able to find any samples from them online.

http://www.classicsonline.com/ensemblebio/Risonanza__La_/

http://www.preludeklassiekemuziek.nl/disco_glossa_bonizzoni.html

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on May 06, 2009, 08:27:02 AM
But enough grumbling. Here's cause for celebration:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414D6QJ5WYL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is just fabulous. It's the first of the Italian cantantas that I've encountered, and it has charmed me to bits. On that basis I've already ordered the companion Helios recording of Aminta e Fillide by the same line-up of Denis Darlow and the London Handel Orchestra. But my question is this - how do these compare with the much more recent recordings of Bonizzoni and La Risonanza, on Glossa? I know the Glossa series is highly regarded but I haven't been able to find any samples from them online.
They are my favorite Handel works. I have both recordings, and though I don't have any fresh recollections of exactly this work, I think the Glossa are better. And they are on sale very favorably at www.prestoclassical.co.uk . At least try vol 5 - simply a stunning disc that I have been playing to pieces lately.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on May 06, 2009, 09:07:39 AM
This is just fabulous. It's the first of the Italian cantantas that I've encountered, and it has charmed me to bits.

Handel's Italian cantatas are great delights. In fact, Handel's entire Italian period is filled with such delights.

Try his great Italian-period opera, Imeneo:


(http://www.papamedia.com/image.php?file=imgbooks/large/B00011MK5G.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on May 06, 2009, 09:12:46 AM
Handel's Italian cantatas are great delights. In fact, Handel's entire Italian period is filled with such delights.

Try his great Italian-period opera, Imeneo:


(http://www.papamedia.com/image.php?file=imgbooks/large/B00011MK5G.jpg)
I'm there as well. Love his cantatas and operas, are more neutral as regards his oratorios.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 06, 2009, 11:09:29 AM
http://www.classicsonline.com/ensemblebio/Risonanza__La_/
http://www.preludeklassiekemuziek.nl/disco_glossa_bonizzoni.html

This is terrific - just what I hoped for. Thanks so much for these links.

@ erato
Quote
They are my favorite Handel works. I have both recordings, and though I don't have any fresh recollections of exactly this work, I think the Glossa are better. And they are on sale very favorably at www.prestoclassical.co.uk . At least try vol 5 - simply a stunning disc that I have been playing to pieces lately.

Oh! I just saw the prices at PrestoClassical. Excellent - thank you.

@O'Richter
Quote
Handel's Italian cantatas are great delights. In fact, Handel's entire Italian period is filled with such delights. Try his great Italian-period opera, Imeneo

I know, I know. What I want is hopelessly outstripping what I can afford. Thank you for the recommendation.

Indeed, thanks again to all of you - this is really helpful.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 06, 2009, 12:01:53 PM
At least try vol 5 - simply a stunning disc that I have been playing to pieces lately.

I've ordered vols 1, 2, and 5 from the Prestoclassical sale offer. Later in the month I'll sell my furniture and buy 3 and 4.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on May 06, 2009, 07:37:03 PM
I've ordered vols 1, 2, and 5 from the Prestoclassical sale offer. Later in the month I'll sell my furniture and buy 3 and 4.
Of course I have all 5 so far. I find the quality of the performances and sound variable. But this series will only represent a fraction of Handel's cantata output. You should also try Handel's Italian duets and the cantata Aci, Galatea e Polifemo. All of which you can hear samples of at my site.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 28, 2009, 02:06:58 PM
But enough grumbling. Here's cause for celebration:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/414D6QJ5WYL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is just fabulous. It's the first of the Italian cantantas that I've encountered, and it has charmed me to bits. On that basis I've already ordered the companion Helios recording of Aminta e Fillide by the same line-up of Denis Darlow and the London Handel Orchestra. But my question is this - how do these compare with the much more recent recordings of Bonizzoni and La Risonanza, on Glossa? I know the Glossa series is highly regarded but I haven't been able to find any samples from them online.

Agree with other comments, the early Handel cantatas from Italian period are very beatiful works, I also have the CD shown above.
Any chance to hear some great female arias with skillful ornamentation should not be passed by.....

Please let us know when you get those CDs from Presto.......may also have to take the plunge "visse de arte"  ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 28, 2009, 02:11:17 PM
There's a fine, 15 CD Virgin set:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg) 


That boxset now has my attention!
Just got the latest release by conductor Alan Curtis for Archiv label:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aXYYd7A4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 28, 2009, 11:13:55 PM
Please let us know when you get those CDs from Presto.......may also have to take the plunge "visse de arte"  ;)

They have arrived. I ordered the remaining ones just before the Presto sale closed, and now have all five. I had a bit of a shock at first. I started with the fifth volume (Clori Tirsi e Fileno) and was troubled at first by what seemed to be an undue prominence given to the harpsichord. Knowing that Bonizzoni was himself the harpsichordist, I feared that he might have tweaked the balance a bit to make sure he was well-heard! (I'm not over-fond of the harpsichord, so this might have been bad news for me.) But I'm happy to say that my fears were groundless, and I haven't noticed the same problem (if it is a problem) with any of the others.

I wrote my first impressions of volume 2 on another forum - perhaps I could quote myself, here?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31iH2BOCeqL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

"The material is new to me, as are the performers; but so far, listening to Armida abbandonata, I'm enchanted by what I'm hearing. The cantata begins in an extraordinary manner, with single soprano voice set against an agitated violin accompaniment - as if the curtain has just risen on action that we've interrupted, as it were. So we're plunged into following a trail of footprints, wondering what the heck is going on, until suddenly the mood shifts, and Armida gives in to her tiredness. She's been on the trail of her unfaithful lover for a while, it seems. We can feel the sad exhaustion as she continues her song now with only harpsichord accompaniment, and there are a few moments where a recognisable famous theme, already known through a later opera, breaks through: it's used here in seminal fragmentary form with wonderful effect as she sings, 'you part and leave me prey to pain'.

This one cantata, lasting only about 15 minutes, single-handedly makes nonsense of the idea that Baroque music is devoid of emotion. We're driven relentlessly through Armida's full spectrum of emotions as she passes from anxiety, through sadness, to anger; from anger to uncertainty, and finally to a kind of pleading regret. The singing, insofar as I'm any judge (not very far, technically, I admit) seems faultless; the instrumental playing sympathetic and delicate, yet violent and vigorous when need be. I could almost be converted from a lifelong aversion to the harpsichord to a wholehearted acceptance of it, so well does it match and complement the singing.

That's just the first cantata on this CD. There are four more on it. ... This is fabulous stuff. I could drown in this music."

My feeling here is that you can't go wrong with this series. The presentation is beautiful, each one a three-leaved fold-out package with the booklet built in - good notes, all the words given.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 29, 2009, 03:33:17 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31iH2BOCeqL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

"The material is new to me, as are the performers; but so far, listening to Armida abbandonata, I'm enchanted by what I'm hearing. The cantata begins in an extraordinary manner, with single soprano voice set against an agitated violin accompaniment - as if the curtain has just risen on action that we've interrupted, as it were. So we're plunged into following a trail of footprints, wondering what the heck is going on, until suddenly the mood shifts, and Armida gives in to her tiredness. She's been on the trail of her unfaithful lover for a while, it seems. We can feel the sad exhaustion as she continues her song now with only harpsichord accompaniment, and there are a few moments where a recognisable famous theme, already known through a later opera, breaks through: it's used here in seminal fragmentary form with wonderful effect as she sings, 'you part and leave me prey to pain'.

This one cantata, lasting only about 15 minutes, single-handedly makes nonsense of the idea that Baroque music is devoid of emotion. We're driven relentlessly through Armida's full spectrum of emotions as she passes from anxiety, through sadness, to anger; from anger to uncertainty, and finally to a kind of pleading regret. The singing, insofar as I'm any judge (not very far, technically, I admit) seems faultless; the instrumental playing sympathetic and delicate, yet violent and vigorous when need be. I could almost be converted from a lifelong aversion to the harpsichord to a wholehearted acceptance of it, so well does it match and complement the singing.

That's just the first cantata on this CD. There are four more on it. ... This is fabulous stuff. I could drown in this music."

My feeling here is that you can't go wrong with this series. The presentation is beautiful, each one a three-leaved fold-out package with the booklet built in - good notes, all the words given.


Oh my...............sounds very nice indeed, too bad they can't put all 5 Cds in a boxset for reduced price  ;)
Still these may soon be in my shopping basket awaiting the buy button to be engaged

Looks like these Italian canatas were commissioned by wealthy private patrons for small personal performances judging form the CD title, also are these all secular themes with no religious subject matter?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on May 29, 2009, 04:39:51 AM
They have arrived. I ordered the remaining ones just before the Presto sale closed, and now have all five. I had a bit of a shock at first. I started with the fifth volume (Clori Tirsi e Fileno) and was troubled at first by what seemed to be an undue prominence given to the harpsichord.

I noticed this myself, this is not always the case in the series so perhaps they were showing off Ton Koopman's instrument, which actually does not sound all that special. As I have mentioned before this series has proved variable so far in terms of sound and performance quality.

The person above who bought the Curtis Alcina CD made the wrong choice in my opinion, if you want recommendations with samples of all the best Handel recordings the best source anywhere on the web is my site. I used to post samples here long ago but nobody was interested then.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on May 29, 2009, 05:17:46 AM
The person above who bought the Curtis Alcina CD made the wrong choice in my opinion, if you want recommendations with samples of all the best Handel recordings the best source anywhere on the web is my site.

I must concur: his website is superb.  8)

 ::)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 29, 2009, 05:59:23 AM
too bad they can't put all 5 Cds in a boxset for reduced price  

As far as I'm aware, the series is still ongoing (volume 5 appeared only recently) so I think we're some distance yet from a possible bargain box.

Quote
Looks like these Italian canatas were commissioned by wealthy private patrons for small personal performances judging form the CD title, also are these all secular themes with no religious subject matter?

Yes. I recall reading somewhere that for one of his patrons, Handel had to produce a cantata every week, for a regular Sunday performance. The idea of someone turning out material of this quality, week after week, is boggling. They do have a very intimate feeling to them. And yes, I think every one so far is based on a secular (usually mythological/Arcadian) theme.

Why not just buy volume 1 in the first instance, and see what you think? (My guess is that you'll be ordering the other four within a matter of days afterwards.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 29, 2009, 06:07:50 AM
the best source anywhere on the web is my site.

OK Rod (and Sorin). Your persistence has worked! I've just signed up and will take a look around.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 29, 2009, 08:26:56 AM
OK Rod (and Sorin). Your persistence has worked! I've just signed up and will take a look around.

Yes I also joined Rod's CMM forum................

Looks like Rod is recommending the Christie/Erato Alcina, which I gave very strong consideration to.
I am huge Christe fan for baroque and have many of his recordings, and love Dessay for baroque, but was not 100% sold on Renee Fleming in lead role opposite Dessay, I may of course change my mind after further review.  0:)

The new Curtis/Archiv is a worthy consolation prize in the meantime, Joyce DiDonato is well known and admired for her work in this style

Also my Rameau Les Paladins DVD has arrived today
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 29, 2009, 08:34:42 AM
Why not just buy volume 1 in the first instance, and see what you think? (My guess is that you'll be ordering the other four within a matter of days afterwards.)

That is exactly what I (and my wallet) fear will happen..............  :o
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 29, 2009, 10:07:01 AM
Looks like Rod is recommending the Christie/Erato Alcina, which I gave very strong consideration to.
I am huge Christe fan for baroque and have many of his recordings, and love Dessay for baroque, but was not 100% sold on Renee Fleming in lead role opposite Dessay, I may of course change my mind after further review.

I'm a great admirer of Christie too, and that's the Alcina set I have. I could be tempted to say, extravagantly, that it's worth having just for Dessay's (Morgana's) aria at the end of Act I. OK then: it's worth having just for Dessay's (Morgana's) aria at the end of Act I.
 
Quote
The new Curtis/Archiv is a worthy consolation prize in the meantime, Joyce DiDonato is well known and admired for her work in this style

I've been wondering about buying that in addition to my Christie version, on the basis of the recent Gramophone review: 'This could be the Alcina we've been waiting for'; Wonderful'; 'the standard of da capo ornamentation unsurpassed'. I'm still inclined to get it.

Quote
Also my Rameau Les Paladins DVD has arrived today

Lucky fellow! Please tell us how you find it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 29, 2009, 06:16:42 PM

I've been wondering about buying that in addition to my Christie version, on the basis of the recent Gramophone review: 'This could be the Alcina we've been waiting for'; Wonderful'; 'the standard of da capo ornamentation unsurpassed'. I'm still inclined to get it.

New review of Curtis/Archiv Alcina at Music Web, author says it now becomes top version available...........

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/May09/Handel_Alcina_4777374.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/May09/Handel_Alcina_4777374.htm)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on May 30, 2009, 12:01:50 AM
New review of Curtis/Archiv Alcina at Music Web, author says it now becomes top version available...........

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/May09/Handel_Alcina_4777374.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/May09/Handel_Alcina_4777374.htm)

The BBC magazine review still maintains Christie's is the best. It only gives Curtis's 3 stars (out of 5) for both performance and sound, which is what I would give. I've heard both recordings, neither are perfect but the BBC is right on this occasion, and I never get it wrong when it comes to Handel!  ;D

Of course this is all academic as you have already bought Curtis's so I doubt you'll be in the mood to buy another! Anyway I've said my bit on the subject, if you want anymore advice you know where to go.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 12:37:37 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

I'm still agonising over this box. 6 operas - marvellous. But all the info is on a disc, not in a booklet - terrible. I hate that. So, I say - alright, I'll buy them separately and spread out the cost over a longer period. Well, that's fine for items like Radamisto or Arminio, but a couple of them - like Deidamia - are elusive at best and very expensive if found. Aaargh. What to do? What to do?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 12:45:58 AM
New review of Curtis/Archiv Alcina at Music Web, author says it now becomes top version available...........

That's an interesting review. It seems to me (without having heard it myself) that we're into a realm where which is 'the best' is getting muddled up with the personal preferences of individual listeners. I've read enough very enthusiastic responses to your Curtis version to make me want to give it a shot regardless.

This sort of disagreement is hardly new. Look at the accolades that Danielle de Niese's collection of Handel arias got; yet there are a few dissenting voices; and much though I love what she does, that CD comes close, quite often, to wearing me out with too much bang-on up-front de Niese-ism.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on May 30, 2009, 12:49:25 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

I'm still agonising over this box. 6 operas - marvellous. But all the info is on a disc, not in a booklet - terrible. I hate that. So, I say - alright, I'll buy them separately and spread out the cost over a longer period. Well, that's fine for items like Radamisto or Arminio, but a couple of them - like Deidamia - are elusive at best and very expensive if found. Aaargh. What to do? What to do?

Buy the box. I actually think the novelty of the notes on a CD-R is excellent - especially if it can be printed on a normal A4 format, wich is much easier to read than those tiny CD-booklets.  I usually print the notes, put a cover around it and keep in the bookcases where I also keep my CD's.

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 02:17:21 AM
Hot off the press - klassik.com - which should be of interest:

http://magazin.klassik.com/reviews/reviews.cfm?task=review&REID=9745&RECID=15267&CFID=5817657&CFTOKEN=136262ca4e137c9f-F3C13717-0E85-C246-6EA5A8BF6353F8AF

I assume Handel fans are also proficient in the German language.  8)

But just about all Handel's operas were Italian operas ...    ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 02:45:44 AM
Buy the box.

I like that kind of decisiveness. But on second thoughts ....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 02:51:39 AM
I like that kind of decisiveness. But on second thoughts ....


Why not?  Buy now, ask later ...   ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 30, 2009, 04:23:44 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

I'm still agonising over this box. 6 operas - marvellous. But all the info is on a disc, not in a booklet - terrible. I hate that. So, I say - alright, I'll buy them separately and spread out the cost over a longer period. Well, that's fine for items like Radamisto or Arminio, but a couple of them - like Deidamia - are elusive at best and very expensive if found. Aaargh. What to do? What to do?

Why take the easy way out..................
and deny yourself the maddening agony of debating over new competing versions which will be filling the market  ;)

I suspect many of those versions in the boxset will soon be eclipsed by other versions, even Alan Curtis new Archiv label releases seem to have upped the bar already. Also those large boxes mess up my CD display rack system
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 30, 2009, 04:33:21 AM
If one did want to purchase the Christie/Erato Alcina...........looks like now available as budget priced 2 opera, 6 CD boxset series:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eQrNKzghL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This one was released 2/09
There are several of these out now with many of Handels operas & oratorios at reduced price, hopefully they didn't cheap out on the booklet content.........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 04:36:33 AM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

I'm still agonising over this box. 6 operas - marvellous. But all the info is on a disc, not in a booklet - terrible. I hate that.
 

I hear you and feel the same way.  Putting all the info on a CD/ROM is just a fraction of the cost of printing the booklet.  The booklet is just more fun.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 04:51:03 AM
If one did want to purchase the Christie/Erato Alcina...........looks like now available as budget priced 2 opera, 6 CD boxset series:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eQrNKzghL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This one was released 2/09
There are several of these out now with many of Handels operas & oratorios at reduced price, hopefully they didn't cheap out on the booklet content.........
 

I just bought this set 2 months ago.  While both the recording and the performance are nice, the booklet is not that impressive.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 05:01:58 AM
If one did want to purchase the Christie/Erato Alcina...........looks like now available as budget priced 2 opera, 6 CD boxset series:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eQrNKzghL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This one was released 2/09
There are several of these out now with many of Handels operas & oratorios at reduced price, hopefully they didn't cheap out on the booklet content.........

I own that particular box you're showing there. And I'm sorry to say ... they did cheap out on the booklet. There is a booklet, and it has cued synopses but no librettos (if you're going to make a booklet with cued synopses anyway, surely it can't cost so much more to include the librettos?). You can, however, download the librettos on pdf, but the quality/legibility of the text in the pdf is inexplicably poor. I printed it all out, guillotined off the languages I didn't need, and made myself two separate booklets for Alcina and Orlando, but it took a long time and the result still looks amateurish even after all my efforts, and is an inconvenient size. It's a great way of getting the music cheaply, but ... well, truth is, I won't be buying any of the other offerings in that series ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 05:06:02 AM
 I hear you and feel the same way.  Putting all the info on a CD/ROM is just a fraction of the cost of printing the booklet.  The booklet is just more fun.

I suppose you must be right about the cost - but does it actually cost so much more to make a booklet that's a bit thicker - given that you're going to make a booklet at all (and would save the cost of making an extra CD)?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 05:11:14 AM
I suppose you must be right about the cost - but does it actually cost so much more to make a booklet that's a bit thicker - given that you're going to make a booklet at all (and save the cost of making an extra CD)?
 

Commercial printing in the west is expensive.  I know someone who just retired from this business last year and he told me the latest trend is to have the typeset (printing lingo) done stateside and FedEx the work to China to be printed there.  &%$#  >:(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 05:18:33 AM
Why not?  Buy now, ask later ...

I'm still dithering. For the price of the big box, I can get Radamisto and Arminio (let's say) in their original editions with proper booklets, and they'd keep me quite happy for a while. The downside is the unavailability of Deidamia outside the big box. The cheapest Deidamia on Amazon is £50 secondhand. Compared with that, it's almost worth buying the big box just for the sake of Deidamia ....

Oh the anguish of us music lovers. They don't know how we suffer, do they?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 05:24:47 AM
I'm still dithering. For the price of the big box, I can get Radamisto and Arminio (let's say) in their original editions with proper booklets, and they'd keep me quite happy for a while. The downside is the unavailability of Deidamia outside the big box. The cheapest Deidamia on Amazon is £50 secondhand. Compared with that, it's almost worth buying the big box just for the sake of Deidamia ....

Oh the anguish of we music lovers. They don't know how we suffer, do they?

I have done just that.  I bought the Karajan Symphony Edition just to get the Bruckner and Haydn Symphonies I did not have but I had everything else.  I also bought the following set by Leppard just for Samson since I already have Messiah by him on Erato.  I only had Samson on LP (both Erato and RCA) and the quality is not the greatest - can't stand those pops and clicks.  The only things I am missing are the individual CD artworks and the liner notes that go with the specific recordings.  But to get these "luxury" items, I will have to pay a lot more ...   

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41jzRfILcIL._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 05:30:36 AM
I have done just that.  I bought the Karajan Symphony Edition just to get the Bruckner and Haydn Symphonies I did not have but I had everything else.  I also bought the following set by Leppard just for Samson since I already have Messiah by him on Erato.  I only had Samson on LP (both Erato and RCA) and the quality is not the greatest - can't stand those pops and clicks.  The only things I am missing are the individual CD artworks and the liner notes that go with the specific recordings.  But to get these "luxury" items, I will have to pay a lot more ...    

There's a kind of comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in my music-buying neuroses! I'm wondering whether just to get the box - so at least then I have all the music and the words (albeit in rubbishy form) - but look out for cheap copies of the original issues secondhand. Alternatively, I could abandon all CD-buying and try something less painful, like lying on beds of nails, or firewalking.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 05:46:10 AM
There's a kind of comfort in knowing that I'm not alone in my music-buying neuroses! I'm wondering whether just to get the box - so at least then I have all the music and the words (albeit in rubbishy form) - but look out for cheap copies of the original issues secondhand. Alternatively, I could abandon all CD-buying and try something less painful, like lying on beds of nails, or firewalking.

No music-buying neuroses on my part.  The decision was a pure economic decision.  It comes down to whether I want to pay at least 2 or 3 times as much to get exactly what I want or get a much bigger, perhaps watered down collection (i.e. without the individual liner notes and CD artworks) and a bunch of surplus discs. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 06:24:30 AM
Well, let's get right away from this tangled hell of decision-making (neurotic, economic, or otherwise), and take a look at this 2CD set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41H87161DWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I bought it a while back in a half-price Handel sale at Hyperion, and it's been one of my most successful purchases. Anyone else out there have this? I've talked about it in another thread, concerning the unhappy thickness of its booklet, and how to solve it (I know, I know - I'm starting to sound like a booklet-neurotic), but I don't think I've written anything about the fabulousness of the music. I'm thinking of arias like the one beginning 'There held in holy passion still', which conveys a deep feeling of silent stillness at the beginning which I think is truly remarkable, and then moves into passages of such lyrical beauty that they bring me close to tears: the alternating high and low notes of the words 'and hears the muses in a ring' when sung for the second time are wonderful - Lorna Anderson's voice makes me dissolve at this point. Or try 'Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of Folly', most particularly the middle section beginning 'Or missing thee, I walk unseen' with its steady, slow, verging on the numinous, build-up 'to behold the wand'ring moon'.

There's a lovely Arcadian/pastoral feeling throughout the whole - exquisitely sung, beautifully played. There are moments when the music seems to spring almost naturally from the surrounding air as if it were part of the natural order of things, rather than an artificial contruction. I'm aware of the nonsense that sounds like - but see what you think when you're fully immersed in it, with its delicious birdsong music equivalents played on the flute, and its strings suggesting warm breezes. This is an absolute Handel must-have.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 06:42:28 AM
Well, let's get right away from this tangled hell of decision-making (neurotic, economic, or otherwise), and take a look at this 2CD set:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41H87161DWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I bought it a while back in a half-price Handel sale at Hyperion, and it's been one of my most successful purchases. Anyone else out there have this? I've talked about it in another thread, concerning the unhappy thickness of its booklet, and how to solve it (I know, I know - I'm starting to sound like a booklet-neurotic), but I don't think I've written anything about the fabulousness of the music. I'm thinking of arias like the one beginning 'There held in holy passion still', which conveys a deep feeling of silent stillness at the beginning which I think is truly remarkable, and then moves into passages of such lyrical beauty that they bring me close to tears: the alternating high and low notes of the words 'and hears the muses in a ring' when sung for the second time are wonderful - Lorna Anderson's voice makes me dissolve at this point. Or try 'Sweet bird, that shun'st the noise of Folly', most particularly the middle section beginning 'Or missing thee, I walk unseen' with its steady, slow, verging on the numinous, build-up 'to behold the wand'ring moon'.

There's a lovely Arcadian/pastoral feeling throughout the whole - exquisitely sung, beautifully played. There are moments when the music seems to spring almost naturally from the surrounding air as if it were part of the natural order of things, rather than an artificial contruction. I'm aware of the nonsense that sounds like - but see what you think when you're fully immersed in it, with its delicious birdsong music equivalents played on the flute, and its strings suggesting warm breezes. This is an absolute Handel must-have.

 

This set is now on its way to me from MDT.  I ordered EVERY Handel's oratorio by the King's Consort on Hyperion this month.  My goal is to have at least one version (I have 20 versions of Messiah) of every Handel's oratorio in my collection.  Handel's operas are not part of this goal.  I do have a good number of them on LP.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 30, 2009, 06:56:06 AM
This set is now on its way to me from MDT.

I bet you a million pounds that you'll love it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 06:57:54 AM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41H87161DWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


I also have this work by John Eliot Gardiner.

see link (http://www.amazon.com/Handel-LAllegro-Penseroso-McLaughlin-Monteverdi/dp/B000005E6J/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1243698921&sr=1-3)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 07:00:42 AM
I bet you a million pounds that you'll love it.

I don't doubt it.  I am just saddened by how a talented man like Robert King could have gotten himself in such legal and moral morass.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 30, 2009, 07:21:40 AM
3 Handel's operas for about $32 at MDT.  It is a good deal but I am not too familiar with most of the soloists except Bernarda Fink and Rene Jacobs ...  see link (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/SO_HMHaydn/HMX290824149.htm)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/HMX290824149.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 31, 2009, 03:57:42 AM
A question for Handel fans:
Not including Messiah, what are your 2-3 other favorite Handel Oratorios along with your preferred recording for each one?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 05:36:11 AM
A question for Handel fans:
Not including Messiah, what are your 2-3 other favorite Handel Oratorios along with your preferred recording for each one?


Among the better-known oratorios, Samson, Solomon, Judas Maccabeus and Israel in Egypt all rank quite high in my personal preference (in no particular ranking order).  I am now going through a number of lesser-known oratorios ...

I personally place Handel's operas in a different class, though some people tend to mix up the operas with the oratorios, which are quite different IMO.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 31, 2009, 06:55:17 AM
Among the better-known oratorios, Samson, Solomon, Judas Maccabeus and Israel in Egypt all rank quite high in my personal preference (in no particular ranking order).  I am now going through a number of lesser-known oratorios ...

I personally place Handel's operas in a different class, though some people tend to mix up the operas with the oratorios, which are quite different IMO.

I suppose the main attraction of Handel's oratorio format vs Italian opera is English language and substantial choral work

Available HIP oratorio performances tend to be dominated by Gardiner/Phillips and a few McCreesh, Hogwood, Jacobs, King, and older McGegan etc. Then we have some older modern orchestra versions by various conductors,,,,,,,

Although there is huge body of work not much available choice of CD set for each one   ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 08:10:14 AM

Although there is huge body of work not much available choice of CD set for each one   ???

I don't understand your last statement.  Can you be more specific or give an example?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 31, 2009, 08:27:51 AM
I don't understand your last statement.  Can you be more specific or give an example?

There is literally very little choice for purchasing many Handel oratorios............

If I wanted to buy Jeptha from Amazon only two CD versions available  :(
-Gardiner
-Creed

The Creed is very expensive so really Gardiner is only reasonable option

Now if I wanted to buy Messiah there are at least 30+ versions currently available
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 08:33:16 AM
There is literally very little choice for purchasing many Handel oratorios............

If I wanted to buy Jeptha from Amazon only two CD versions available  :(
-Gardiner
-Creed

The Creed is very expensive so really Gardiner is only reasonable option

Now if I wanted to buy Messiah there are at least 30+ versions currently available

Both Marriner and Harnoncourt recorded Jeptha in the 70's.  You may want to check out those two recordings.   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 31, 2009, 10:49:48 AM
The anguishing is over. I decided to buy the Curtis 6-opera box, and ordered one today.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 31, 2009, 11:56:48 AM
The anguishing is over. I decided to buy the Curtis 6-opera box, and ordered one today.

Great news.............that will supress the urge to buy more Handel for at least a couple days  >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 31, 2009, 12:49:17 PM
Great news.............that will supress the urge to buy more Handel for at least a couple days  >:D

Ha! Some chance! I didn't mention that I couldn't resist buying the new Piau/Mingardo Handel duets CD as well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 12:55:06 PM
Ha! Some chance! I didn't mention that I couldn't resist buying the new Piau/Mingardo Handel duets CD as well.

Is that on Hyperion as well?  I have never heard of the artists.  Mind you I have grown up with Christopher Hogwood, Emma Kirkby, etc., conductor and soloists from another generation.  Robert King is already a generation younger than Hogwood ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 12:57:52 PM
Now playing ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510KVIECAwL._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 01:00:55 PM
I have a number of Handel's sets lined up for purchaes at MDT.  The dammned Dollar has been dropping against the Pound for the past month.  Not sure why since the US and UK are both up to their eyeballs with the recession ...    >:(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on May 31, 2009, 02:03:59 PM
Quote
Ha! Some chance! I didn't mention that I couldn't resist buying the new Piau/Mingardo Handel duets CD as well.

Is that on Hyperion as well?  I have never heard of the artists.  Mind you I have grown up with Christopher Hogwood, Emma Kirkby, etc., conductor and soloists from another generation.  Robert King is already a generation younger than Hogwood ...

You probably have many baroque Cds with Sandrine Piau and don't realize it....... very active and one of the very best baroque specialists working today. Mingardo I recognize from the recent Vivaldi operas on Naive label.

I must confess to placing an order for 3 Handel sets yesterday to do my part to keep the Handel revival alive and well:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4107994NSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41mnnTB6bNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OIUMlfLTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 02:14:10 PM
You probably have many baroque Cds with Sandrine Piau and don't realize it....... very active and one of the very best baroque specialists working today
Mingardo I recognize from the recent Vivaldi operas on Naive label.

I must confess to placing an order for 3 Handel sets yesterday to do my part to keep the Handel revival alive and well:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4107994NSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41mnnTB6bNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51OIUMlfLTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


 

I know all my baroque recordings quite well and am pretty sure I do not have Sandrine Piau in my collection.  If Mingardo records with the Naive label, then I almost certainly do not have her CD's since my recordings from the Naive Label are all non-baroque.  I have Jeptha by Marriner and Harnoncourt on LP (no CD version).  My Rinaldo is by Hogwood and I have the same Joshua.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on May 31, 2009, 02:45:26 PM
Ha! Some chance! I didn't mention that I couldn't resist buying the new Piau/Mingardo Handel duets CD as well.
 

Just out of curiosity, did Edward Elgar actually like GF Handel's works? 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 31, 2009, 11:08:12 PM
Just out of curiosity, did Edward Elgar actually like GF Handel's works? 

I think it was a work by Handel being performed at Worcester cathedral that inspired him to take up the violin initially. I've just been looking through a few collections of his letters to try to find more - and came across a 'dear old Handel' comment; and a recommendation to someone who asked advice about strings: 'Study Handel. I went to him for help ages ago.' So I think the short answer is yes.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on May 31, 2009, 11:14:22 PM
Is that on Hyperion as well?  I have never heard of the artists.

No, it's on the Naive label, and is 'Disc of the month' in the forthcoming issue of Gramophone. There's some information here about the singers and extracts from the review at Presto Classical:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/newreleases.php?composer=handel&work=&performer=&medium=all&label=&cat=&age=1 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/newreleases.php?composer=handel&work=&performer=&medium=all&label=&cat=&age=1)

Piau released a very highly regarded collection of Handel arias a few years ago.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 01, 2009, 06:41:20 AM
 If Mingardo records with the Naive label, then I almost certainly do not have her CD's since my recordings from the Naive Label are all non-baroque.  

Mingardo on Naive/Opus 11 is a stalwart of my baroque collection. The Vivaldi series, Florios superb series of Neapolitan oratorios, I don't have time to do a inventury, but just as essential as Harmonia Mundi or Archiv......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 01, 2009, 07:46:58 AM
Just out of curiosity, did Edward Elgar actually like GF Handel's works? 

12 years old Elgar heard Handel's Messiah and was blown away. That experience made him start violin lessons.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 01, 2009, 04:08:04 PM
No, it's on the Naive label, and is 'Disc of the month' in the forthcoming issue of Gramophone. There's some information here about the singers and extracts from the review at Presto Classical:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/newreleases.php?composer=handel&work=&performer=&medium=all&label=&cat=&age=1 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/newreleases.php?composer=handel&work=&performer=&medium=all&label=&cat=&age=1)

Piau released a very highly regarded collection of Handel arias a few years ago.

Thanks for the link.  I will check out the CD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 01, 2009, 04:13:18 PM
Mingardo on Naive/Opus 11 is a stalwart of my baroque collection. The Vivaldi series, Florios superb series of Neapolitan oratorios, I don't have time to do a inventury, but just as essential as Harmonia Mundi or Archiv......

I have two sets of CD's on Naïve.  A set of works by Corelli performed by Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante and the 5-CD set by Sokolov.  Not very impressive in terms of quantity. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 01, 2009, 04:28:15 PM
12 years old Elgar heard Handel's Messiah and was blown away. That experience made him start violin lessons.


I imagine in the 1870's, Handel was still overwhelmingly admired in England. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 03, 2009, 01:03:52 AM
In case anyone's missed it, the Hyperion half-price Handel sale has returned, see below:

http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019 (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019)

£13.49 for 2CD sets, £17.47 for 3 CD sets, post free.

I put in an order for Alexander Balus and Deborah yesterday just before lunchtime, and they arrived this morning. I am excited about the prospect of further improvements in their system, so that CDs arrive before I order them.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 03, 2009, 04:59:19 AM
In case anyone's missed it, the Hyperion half-price Handel sale has returned, see below:

http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019 (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019)

£13.49 for 2CD sets, £17.47 for 3 CD sets, post free.

I put in an order for Alexander Balus and Deborah yesterday just before lunchtime, and they arrived this morning. I am excited about the prospect of further improvements in their system, so that CDs arrive before I order them.

Great news........except that I just purchased the Joshua Hyperion set shown above  :'(
Since it was used I still made out OK compared to sale price

The current exchange rate is 1 pound = 1.65 US dollars and shipping is free so I may take Hyperion up on its sale offer
for some additional titles.........I expect delivery will take a bit longer to USA compared your lightning fast service

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 03, 2009, 05:18:30 AM
I expect delivery will take a bit longer to USA compared your lightning fast service

At least an extra hour or two I should think.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 03, 2009, 03:50:49 PM
Great news........except that I just purchased the Joshua Hyperion set shown above  :'(
Since it was used I still made out OK compared to sale price

The current exchange rate is 1 pound = 1.65 US dollars and shipping is free so I may take Hyperion up on its sale offer
for some additional titles.........I expect delivery will take a bit longer to USA compared your lightning fast service



Hyperion actually offers free shipping to the US?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 04, 2009, 07:46:57 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571172835.png) (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571177014.png)

OK order placed with Hyperion, the UK economy now has my stimulus check.........God save the Queen   ;)

Back to Handel's Italian cantatas for a moment, I like this collection quite a bit:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Extremely cheap used at Amazon, Magdalena Kozená provides great vitality and dramatic impact in these works, her ornamentation is distinctive and creative...............so much so that many stuffed shirts at Amazon reject her individual style, this is usually a very good sign that you actually an artist that dares to express themselves.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 04, 2009, 11:11:38 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571172835.png) (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571177014.png)

OK order placed with Hyperion, the UK economy now has my stimulus check.........God save the Queen   ;)

Back to Handel's Italian cantatas for a moment, I like this collection quite a bit:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Extremely cheap used at Amazon, Magdalena Kozená provides great vitality and dramatic impact in these works, her ornamentation is distinctive and creative...............so much so that many stuffed shirts at Amazon reject her individual style, this is usually a very good sign that you actually an artist that dares to express themselves.

I'd just like to say, on behalf of the United Kingdom, how grateful we are for your donation purchase.

While we're counting your money (we haven't seen any money for some time, having been giving so much of it away to finance our members of parliament's expenses) I'll say a word about them....

The L'Allegro is beyond praise - I've listened to it every day for the last few days. Fabulous - you'll love it. [Be prepared to look up my special technique for preserving the extra-thick booklet that you can just get out of the case ... but can't get back in again afterwards.] The Parnasso also is superb, but the vibrato of Diana Moore might give you some uneasy moments. Now I'm getting used to it, and it's OK - but my first reactions were distinctly dodgy. The rest of the performance is excellent though.

I was listening for the first time yesterday to that cantatas CD you have there. I love Kozená - her Handel arias collection has some unbelievably fine performances on it - and this cantatas disc is very idiosyncratic, isn't it? My first impression is that some of the recitativs are a bit hard to cope with in the screeching-rather-a-lot department, but I'm willing to give it time, because she's such a powerful and interesting performer that I'm in no doubt it'll be worth persevering.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 04, 2009, 11:50:46 AM
Ha! Some chance! I didn't mention that I couldn't resist buying the new Piau/Mingardo Handel duets CD as well.

Any impressions yet, this CD is in my buy basket awaiting the buy button to engage..........
(also I have Piau's Handel aria CD so this would make a perfect companion)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qUVdIdcKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 04, 2009, 12:00:36 PM
Any impressions yet, this CD is in my buy basket awaiting the buy button to engage..........

It arrived today, and I've just slipped it into the player now....

Let me ask first, if you have this wonderful CD which is already a favourite of mine?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg)

The reason I ask is that I'm just going to compare a couple of duets these two discs have in common, and will report back.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 04, 2009, 12:20:51 PM
OK ... these two discs are not directly comparable - the Ciofi/Didonato is a collection of duets; the Mingardo/Piau is a mix of duets and solo arias. But, that said, they have in common the duets 'Caro amico amplesso' from Poro and 'Scherzano sul tuo volto' from Rinaldo, so it's very interesting just switching between these to see how they compare.

I must say at the outset that the Didonato/Ciofi disc is simply fabulous - the voices complement each other beautifully, and the performances pulse with vitality. It's truly thrilling. Well, in my initial comparisons, I don't think the Piau/Mingardo versions quite match up, but they are so different that I hesitate to be too insistent on it. Piau has a very pure soprano voice, very technically perfect. Mingardo's contralto is quite deep, almost masculine - rather hard; a bit severe. So there are two extremes here. By contrast, Didonato's mezzo is softer, more feminine than Mingardo; and Ciofi's soprano is warmer than Piau. So the overall effect when they sing together is very, very different; and truly it's not easy to say which is 'best'.

I don't know if this is too subjective to be useful, but I feel I really must add that whereas Didonato/Ciofi give me shivers and thrills up my spine, Piau/Mingardo, frankly, do not. They're giving virtuoso performances alright, but they seem detached; cool. If I had to walk away with only one of these CDs, I wouldn't hesitate - I'd take the Didonato/Ciofi and leave the Piau/Mingardo behind. But whether it would strike others the same way is hard to know. If you don't have the Didonato/Ciofi disc already, then I'd say get that first, cherish it, revel in it, thrill to it; and then think about the Mingardo/Piau disc later.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 04, 2009, 04:49:26 PM
I will most likely give this CD a try.  While I have a number of recordings by Kozena and generally enjoy her singing, I have no experience with Minkowski.  Emma Kirkby has set the gold standard for Handel's Italian Cantatas ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 04, 2009, 08:59:18 PM
I will most likely give this CD a try.  While I have a number of recordings by Kozena and generally enjoy her singing, I have no experience with Minkowski.  Emma Kirkby has set the gold standard for Handel's Italian Cantatas ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Minkowski is probably, overall, my favorite baroque conductor and I have, more or less, everything he has issued.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 04, 2009, 10:25:05 PM
I will most likely give this CD a try.  While I have a number of recordings by Kozena and generally enjoy her singing, I have no experience with Minkowski.  Emma Kirkby has set the gold standard for Handel's Italian Cantatas ...

I'm still feeling uncomfortable with it. She seems to be trying to invest each recitativ with the maximum amount of dramatic (maybe melodramatic) content, and the result isn't easy listening. My feeling is that she probably developed a lot in the six years that separate this cantatas CD (2001) and her superb Handel arias collection (2007).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 05, 2009, 04:25:21 PM
Minkowski is probably, overall, my favorite baroque conductor and I have, more or less, everything he has issued.

I, on the other hand, have just about every baroque recording ever made by Hogwood ... 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 05, 2009, 11:17:29 PM
  All CD's from MDT are meticulously wrapped in bubble-wraps before they are placed in a cardbox for shipping to the US. 

I have had similar good expereinec with the packaging from europadisc, prestoclassical, crotchet, amazon.uk and amazon.de, cduniverse et al. The by far BEST wrapping I ever have experienced, though, was from russiancdshop.com. Comforting to know as I soon will embark on my project of buying the complete Miaskovsky quartets from them.

On-topic: Playing Hyperions Juda Maccabeus, delivered mint from mdt yesterday (but arrival took two weeks from order, half of it I suspect, due to Norwegian customs). But what the heck, the music is nearly 300 years old, so what's another week.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 06, 2009, 07:09:20 AM
OK ... these two discs are not directly comparable - the Ciofi/Didonato is a collection of duets; the Mingardo/Piau is a mix of duets and solo arias. But, that said, they have in common the duets 'Caro amico amplesso' from Poro and 'Scherzano sul tuo volto' from Rinaldo, so it's very interesting just switching between these to see how they compare.

I must say at the outset that the Didonato/Ciofi disc is simply fabulous - the voices complement each other beautifully, and the performances pulse with vitality. It's truly thrilling. Well, in my initial comparisons, I don't think the Piau/Mingardo versions quite match up, but they are so different that I hesitate to be too insistent on it. Piau has a very pure soprano voice, very technically perfect. Mingardo's contralto is quite deep, almost masculine - rather hard; a bit severe. So there are two extremes here. By contrast, Didonato's mezzo is softer, more feminine than Mingardo; and Ciofi's soprano is warmer than Piau. So the overall effect when they sing together is very, very different; and truly it's not easy to say which is 'best'.

I don't know if this is too subjective to be useful, but I feel I really must add that whereas Didonato/Ciofi give me shivers and thrills up my spine, Piau/Mingardo, frankly, do not. They're giving virtuoso performances alright, but they seem detached; cool. If I had to walk away with only one of these CDs, I wouldn't hesitate - I'd take the Didonato/Ciofi and leave the Piau/Mingardo behind. But whether it would strike others the same way is hard to know. If you don't have the Didonato/Ciofi disc already, then I'd say get that first, cherish it, revel in it, thrill to it; and then think about the Mingardo/Piau disc later.

I have both of those CDs in my buy later basket, but since both are still very expensive I have not acted yet.
The Piau disc is especially pricely right now at Amazon, so I will probably go for the DiDonati/Ciofi disc when the price is right
(although both may eventually be mine)

BTW why do our baroque divas look like stiff robots on that CD cover photo   ???

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 07:17:41 AM
I have had similar good expereinec with the packaging from europadisc, prestoclassical, crotchet, amazon.uk and amazon.de, cduniverse et al. The by far BEST wrapping I ever have experienced, though, was from russiancdshop.com. Comforting to know as I soon will embark on my project of buying the complete Miaskovsky quartets from them.

On-topic: Playing Hyperions Juda Maccabeus, delivered mint from mdt yesterday (but arrival took two weeks from order, half of it I suspect, due to Norwegian customs). But what the heck, the music is nearly 300 years old, so what's another week.

Is russiancdshop.com a Russia-based e-tailer?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 07:21:28 AM
I have had similar good expereinec with the packaging from europadisc, prestoclassical, crotchet, amazon.uk and amazon.de, cduniverse et al. The by far BEST wrapping I ever have experienced, though, was from russiancdshop.com. Comforting to know as I soon will embark on my project of buying the complete Miaskovsky quartets from them.

On-topic: Playing Hyperions Juda Maccabeus, delivered mint from mdt yesterday (but arrival took two weeks from order, half of it I suspect, due to Norwegian customs). But what the heck, the music is nearly 300 years old, so what's another week.

BTW, Amazon's packaging cannot match MDT's packaging and I have shopped at both Amazon US and Amazon UK ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 07:22:55 AM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg)

The robotic divas.  They make good companies with the crash test dummies   ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 06, 2009, 07:28:07 AM
The robotic divas.  They make good companies with the crash test dummies   ;D

They are the newest most advanced model...............Baroque Soprano DivaDroids
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 06, 2009, 08:00:37 AM
Is russiancdshop.com a Russia-based e-tailer?
Yes, St Petersburg, but they seem to distribute from the Czech Republic.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 08:04:50 AM
Yes, St Petersburg, but they seem to distribute from the Czech Republic.

Does it have good CD selections by Tatiana Nikolayeva?  Her CD's are often difficult to find at e-tailers in the west ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 06, 2009, 08:09:11 AM


http://www.russiancdshop.com/ (http://www.russiancdshop.com/)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Drasko on June 06, 2009, 08:22:49 AM
Mdt has currently on offer few Curtis/Archiv Handel operas. Are they any good? If are which one would be first pick?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4776566.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4775391.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4777106.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 08:33:36 AM

http://www.russiancdshop.com/ (http://www.russiancdshop.com/)

Thanks for the link.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 08:45:34 AM
Mdt has currently on offer few Curtis/Archiv Handel operas. Are they any good? If are which one would be first pick?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4776566.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4775391.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4777106.jpg)

I know Alan Curtis as a harpsichordist and know nothing about his conducting.  I will soon find out about Marc Minkowski when I order my first CD by him.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 06, 2009, 09:40:13 AM
Mdt has currently on offer few Curtis/Archiv Handel operas. Are they any good? If are which one would be first pick?


For the Handel completist these are probably worthwhile releases. For myself I find there are Handel stage works of greater import than anything on this list. Not that I'm damning them (certainly not) but the bar is set pretty high in Handel and for the uninitiated there are other works vying for position that perhaps should be approached first - lest the picture of Handel be unfavorably skewed.

IOW, to me these works suffer in comparison when balanced against the lofty standards Handel set in his stage works.

I prefer works like:

Imeneo
Aggripina
Saul
Israel In Egypt
Ariodante
Solomon
Theodora
Orlando
Rinaldo
Esther
La Resurrezione
Almira
Alexander's Feast
Belshazzar

Not to mention I've yet to warm to Curtis as a Handel conductor. I prefer stronger contrasts from the likes of Minkowski, Hogwood, Gardiner, Spering...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 06, 2009, 09:41:03 AM
Mdt has currently on offer few Curtis/Archiv Handel operas. Are they any good? If are which one would be first pick?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4776566.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4775391.jpg) (http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4777106.jpg)
I have all three and love them. All these releases have gatheres rave reviews. Some googling should provide you with plenty of reviews. Operawise, I think Rodelinda is the strongest.

You could try this link also:

http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm)

and particularly, this:

http://www.newolde.com/early_music_cd_awards_2005.htm (http://www.newolde.com/early_music_cd_awards_2005.htm)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Drasko on June 06, 2009, 10:17:29 AM
Thanks, I'll probably pick up Rodelinda this time.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 10:46:04 AM
I have all three and love them. All these releases have gatheres rave reviews. Some googling should provide you with plenty of reviews. Operawise, I think Rodelinda is the strongest.

You could try this link also:

http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm (http://www.newolde.com/handel_operas_directory.htm)

and particularly, this:

http://www.newolde.com/early_music_cd_awards_2005.htm (http://www.newolde.com/early_music_cd_awards_2005.htm)

Rodelinda is also the best known of the three.  I have a good number of Handel's operas, though my focus has always been on his oratorios ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Henk on June 06, 2009, 11:06:36 AM
I think this is Curtis' latest:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eCBeYQVLL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 11:11:48 AM
I think this is Curtis' latest:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eCBeYQVLL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Why all this big push of Handel's operas by a major classical label all of a sudden?  The 300th anniversary of Handel's death is still 50 years away and the 400th anniversary of his birth is 76 years away.     ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 06, 2009, 11:33:38 AM
Mdt has currently on offer few Curtis/Archiv Handel operas. Are they any good? If are which one would be first pick?

I have all three, but haven't listened to Tolomeo yet. I first listened to Floridante on headphones on a sunny day last Easter, sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea, and thought it was a delicious way of spending an afternoon. There's a wonderful highlight with the duet 'Fuor di periglio', which is so spine-tinglingly beautiful and so perfectly sung that I went on playing it for days afterwards. I couldn't be without it.

I've just made a start on Rodelinda this very day, in fact - and my feeling so far is that this may be a notch or two higher up the ladder - the overture is so good I played it twice over. Frankly, I don't think you can go far wrong whichever you get.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 06, 2009, 11:35:39 AM
Why all this big push of Handel's operas by a major classical label all of a sudden?  The 300th anniversary of Handel's death is still 50 years away and the 400th anniversary of his birth is 76 years away.     ???

But that is why: 300-50 = 250, and the big Handel push this year is all about the 250th anniversary. That's why there have been these special deals at Hyperion, PrestoClassical, etc, as well as all the new and re-releases.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 11:45:46 AM
But that is why: 300-50 = 250, and the big Handel push this year is all about the 250th anniversary. That's why there have been these special deals at Hyperion, PrestoClassical, etc, as well as all the new and re-releases.

Merchants always find ways (or excuses) to get people to spend their money.  I guess 250 is a big enough reason.  I still have a VHS tape made in 1985 by a lady friend from Germany on the German celebration of the 300th anniversary of the births of Bach and Handel.  Unfortunately, due to different TV transmission standard, I have yet to be able to play that tape until it has been converted ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 06, 2009, 12:23:13 PM
Here is another excellent Handel's opera I have owned for some 15 years.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61IEpfEfRZL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 07, 2009, 01:59:08 AM
This week I have watched Handel's Giulio Cesare on DVD (Glyndebourne/Christine/Opus Arte) twice. This kind of entertainment is so good my faith in life is restored. Life is worth living thanks to these Opera DVDs!

Why all this big push of Handel's operas by a major classical label all of a sudden?  The 300th anniversary of Handel's death is still 50 years away and the 400th anniversary of his birth is 76 years away.     ???

Are we even alive 50 or 76 years from now? Why not enjoy Handel HERE AND NOW!  0:)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 07, 2009, 02:04:44 AM
This week I have watched Handel's Giulio Cesare on DVD (Glyndebourne/Christine/Opus Arte) twice. This kind of entertainment is so good my faith in life is restored. Life is worth living thanks to these Opera DVDs!

Are we even alive 50 or 76 years from now? Why not enjoy Handel HERE AND NOW!  0:)
;D

Yes, why look a gifthorse in the mouth.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 03:24:22 AM
This week I have watched Handel's Giulio Cesare on DVD (Glyndebourne/Christine/Opus Arte) twice. This kind of entertainment is so good my faith in life is restored. Life is worth living thanks to these Opera DVDs!

Are we even alive 50 or 76 years from now? Why not enjoy Handel HERE AND NOW!  0:)

I get very cynical with merchants that pull out all the stops to promote extreme consumerism.  Here in the States, they start to promote Christmas sales in September.  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 07, 2009, 07:02:55 AM
This week I have watched Handel's Giulio Cesare on DVD (Glyndebourne/Christine/Opus Arte) twice. This kind of entertainment is so good my faith in life is restored. Life is worth living thanks to these Opera DVDs!

It is indeed. It is so good. I would love to shake the hand of, and personally thank, everyone concerned in making that production.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 07, 2009, 07:04:49 AM
I get many cynical with merchants that pull out all the stops to promote extreme consumerism. 
Did you buy 600 CDs the first quarter?  ;D

We're all part of extreme consumerism. I could do without Christmas i August though.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 09:16:50 AM
Did you buy 600 CDs the first quarter?  ;D

We're all part of extreme consumerism. I could do without Christmas i August though.

Maybe 500 through May.  I actually do only light shopping at Christmas out of my respect for the holiday itself ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 09:19:37 AM
Did you buy 600 CDs the first quarter?  ;D

We're all part of extreme consumerism. I could do without Christmas i August though.

I do not know how UK merchants promote their sales for Christmas.  Here in the States, Christmas sale promotion starting in early September has been the norm for a number of years now ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 07, 2009, 11:53:11 AM
The L'Allegro is beyond praise - I've listened to it every day for the last few days. Fabulous - you'll love it. [Be prepared to look up my special technique for preserving the extra-thick booklet that you can just get out of the case ... but can't get back in again afterwards.] The Parnasso also is superb, but the vibrato of Diana Moore might give you some uneasy moments. Now I'm getting used to it, and it's OK - but my first reactions were distinctly dodgy. The rest of the performance is excellent though.

Now I understand what you are talking about with the booklet...............I got my Hyperion label Joshua set used from Amazon and it comes in a 2CD slim case  :(

Almost all other 2CD Handel sets from other labels come in a chubby jewel case because of the thickness of the booklet, many even have outer slip case. I suspect the two sets I just ordered direct from Hyperion will also arrive with the slim jewel case....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 07, 2009, 11:56:32 AM
DO NOT PANIC!

The solution is here:
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,12236.0.html (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,12236.0.html)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 12:01:02 PM
Now I understand what you are talking about with the booklet...............I got my Hyperion label Joshua set used from Amazon and it comes in a 2CD slim case  :(

Almost all other 2CD Handel sets from other labels come in a chubby jewel case because of the thickness of the booklet, many even have outer slip case. I suspect the two sets I just ordered direct from Hyperion will also arrive with the slim jewel case....
 

Most of the 2 CD-sets of Handel oratorios and operas on the Hyperion label I bought from MDT do not come in the fatboy type CD jewel cases.  They are the regular sized CD jewel with the flipping cradle that holds a CD on each side.  The following set also holds a 40-page booklet.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ydG5FuKRL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 12:04:49 PM
DO NOT PANIC!

The solution is here:
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,12236.0.html (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,12236.0.html)

If space is a non-issue for you, replace the slim CD cases with the fatboy cases.  Then there will be no future struggle with getting the booklets out ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 07, 2009, 12:12:45 PM
OK guys.........the current Joshua set is no problem, booklet is thin enough to slide in/out no problem (type size is microscopic)

I will probably use the sage advice of Elgarian and break off two of the four retaining tabs from jewel case to facilitate booklet access
of other two Hyperion sets on order

Coopmv
If I use chubby CD case I will have to scan and resize front artwork, also only one edge graphic panel will show  :(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 12:49:37 PM
OK guys.........the current Joshua set is no problem, booklet is thin enough to slide in/out no problem (type size is microscopic)

I will probably use the sage advice of Elgarian and break off two of the four retaining tabs from jewel case to facilitate booklet access
of other two Hyperion sets on order

Coopmv
If I use chubby CD case I will have to scan and resize front artwork, also only one edge graphic panel will show  :(

There are no good solutions to this problem IMO.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 07, 2009, 03:58:28 PM
Actually, Handel Deborah on Hyperion, a 2-CD set, does come in a fatboy style CD case.  My set arrived last week from MDT and is still in its cellophane.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDA66841-2.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 07, 2009, 11:24:48 PM
I will probably use the sage advice of Elgarian and break off two of the four retaining tabs from jewel case to facilitate booklet accessof other two Hyperion sets on order

There are few things more fascinating than fat CD booklet insertion and removal issues; they are the very stuff of life. But so far I've not had any trouble with Parnasso in practice, and all its studs are still intact. L'Allegro, however, has been subjected to semi-destudification (the lower two removed without anaesthetic as an expression of my displeasure) and it works really well. Deborah, as Coopmv says, comes in a fat case anyway so isn't a problem.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 08, 2009, 01:33:12 AM
Don't ever mention a womans name and fat in the same sentence! Or are you all unmarried music nerds?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 08, 2009, 04:40:56 AM
Or are you all unmarried music nerds?

I'm unmarried. So what? Nerd? I don't know about that, depends on the definition...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Drasko on June 08, 2009, 04:45:56 AM
Nerd? I don't know about that, depends on the definition...

Main Entry: nerd
Pronunciation: \ˈnərd\
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps from nerd, a creature in the children's book If I Ran the Zoo (1950) by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)
Date:1951
meaning : he who mentions womans name and fat in the same sentence

— nerd·i·ness  \ˈnər-dē-nəs\ noun
— nerd·ish  \ˈnər-dish\ adjective
— nerdy  \-dē\ adjective
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 08, 2009, 04:51:18 AM
After checking out closely the latest Handel budget 6CD boxsets from Warner Classics, I decided to place order for the following even though the booklet is reduced content from individual releases, Amazon vendor Blowitoutahere selling for $15.65 each!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41huw4dEerL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Israel in Egypt / Dixit Dominus / Semele / Zadok etc by Gardiner, and Resurrezione by Koopman


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31O1Ubse5PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Trionfo del Tempo / Teseo / Amadigi all by Minkowski
I was especially interested in getting these Minkowski performances, but the price was too good to pass up the Gardiner set as well
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 08, 2009, 05:22:38 AM
After checking out closely the latest Handel budget 6CD boxsets from Warner Classics, I decided to place order for the following even though the booklet is reduced content from individual releases, Amazon vendor Blowitoutahere selling for $15.65 each!

Israel in Egypt / Dixit Dominus / Semele / Misc by Gardiner, and Resurrezione by Koopman

Trionfo del Tempo / Teseo / Amadigi all by Minkowski

I was especially interested in getting these Minkowski performances, but the price was too good to pass up the Gardiner set as well

Well - at that price how can you possibly go wrong, booklet or no booklet? And I presume they have the pdfs at the website - so you will have access to the full texts, albeit not in the form we like.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 08, 2009, 05:57:51 PM
After checking out closely the latest Handel budget 6CD boxsets from Warner Classics, I decided to place order for the following even though the booklet is reduced content from individual releases, Amazon vendor Blowitoutahere selling for $15.65 each!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41huw4dEerL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Israel in Egypt / Dixit Dominus / Semele / Zadok etc by Gardiner, and Resurrezione by Koopman


I have all these works as individual sets except La Resurrezione.  I do have La Resurrezione by Hogwood on both LP and CD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 08, 2009, 06:05:53 PM
I have all these works as individual sets except La Resurrezione.  I do have La Resurrezione by Hogwood on both LP and CD.

I could not resist, Amazon had one more Gardiner 6CD set from blowitoutahere $15.65:   :)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qt2BIWmQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

L'Allegro ed il Penseroso / Tamerlano / Alcina Ballet Music

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 08, 2009, 06:16:54 PM
I could not resist, Amazon had one more Gardiner 6CD set from blowitoutahere $15.65:   :)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qt2BIWmQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

L'Allegro ed il Penseroso / Tamerlano / Alcina Ballet Music



There are very few Gardiner's Handel works on Erato that I do not already have ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 09, 2009, 01:39:01 AM
I notice a lot of duds in DarkAngel's purchase list. Pity he didn't ask around a bit more first.  ::)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 09, 2009, 03:08:07 AM
I notice a lot of duds in DarkAngel's purchase list. Pity he didn't ask around a bit more first.  ::)

Just to be clear I am not saying these 6 CD sets are the best versions available at any price.

But to get very good Gardiner and Minkowski versions at $15.65 for 6CD sets why would you not acquire these?
Seems to be an exceptional value that should not be passed up......

For instance I just recently acquired the fine Petrou/MDG Tamerlano, but that will not stop me from getting the Gardiner version if they are almost giving it away   :)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61iFdF7zzfL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 09, 2009, 11:19:15 AM
But to get very good Gardiner...

Some of those old Gardiner recordings are beyond horrific, in fact I have only two Gardiner recordings left in my epic A-list Handel collection, he's not what I'd call a good Handel interpreter for the most part.

Another piece of good Handel recording advice, stay away from anything by Harnoncourt.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 09, 2009, 11:31:55 AM
Some of those old Gardiner recordings are beyond horrific, in fact I have only two Gardiner recordings left in my epic A-list Handel collection, he's not what I'd call a good Handel interpreter for the most part.

Another piece of good Handel recording advice, stay away from anything by Harnoncourt.

Which two Gardiner recordings are still in your top list?

Professional critics in general seem to like his past Handel works, some even get rosettes in Penguin Guide.
Also I notice he has older Erato/EMI from the 1980s and newer redone Phillips versions for some of those.
I tend to always give JEG a close look since his Bach works are so well done.

I have never been a big fan of Harnoncourt for Bach/Handel works so I have passed on his 6 CD Handel boxsets  

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 09, 2009, 11:37:08 AM
Some of those old Gardiner recordings are beyond horrific, in fact I have only two Gardiner recordings left in my epic A-list Handel collection, he's not what I'd call a good Handel interpreter for the most part.

Don't know them myself, but just looking here through the Gramophone and Penguin Guides for some of the Gardiner recordings Dark Angel has bought: L'Allegro gets Gramophone's highest accolade of three 'discs'. Penguin gives 3 stars to both the L'Allegro and the Tamerlano. Israel in Egypt and Zadok get 'key' status in Penguin, and an unheard-of four stars. Now, I do disagree with their assessments myself sometimes - but are these recordings really so bad, Rod?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 09, 2009, 12:03:13 PM
Which two Gardiner recordings are still in your top list?

Professional critics in general seem to like his past Handel works, some even get rosettes in Penguin Guide.
Also I notice he has older Erato/EMI from the 1980s and newer redone Phillips versions for some of those.
I tend to always give JEG a close look since his Bach works are so well done.

Handel performance and interpretation has moved on a hell of a way since those days, but the critics haven't and neither has Gardiner who doesn't record Handel any more. If you really want to know what's what you know where to ask it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 09, 2009, 05:17:52 PM
Some of those old Gardiner recordings are beyond horrific, in fact I have only two Gardiner recordings left in my epic A-list Handel collection, he's not what I'd call a good Handel interpreter for the most part.

Another piece of good Handel recording advice, stay away from anything by Harnoncourt.

Who do you consider to be a good Handel interpreter?  Once you remove Gardiner and Harnoncourt, only Hogwood and Pinnock are still in contention.  Most of my Handel's oratorios/choral works are actually Hogwood's recordings.  I actually have many Handel's works spread across these four conductors.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 09, 2009, 10:44:46 PM
Once you remove Gardiner and Harnoncourt, only Hogwood and Pinnock are still in contention.

Isn't that a bit extreme? How about:
Christie (Acis & Galatea, Alcina, Orlando)
McGegan (Ariodante)
King (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato)

etc etc.

Not to mention Curtis, whose recordings are providing me with a lot of exciting new material at the moment.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 09, 2009, 11:00:04 PM
Who do you consider to be a good Handel interpreter?  Once you remove Gardiner and Harnoncourt, only Hogwood and Pinnock are still in contention.  Most of my Handel's oratorios/choral works are actually Hogwood's recordings.  I actually have many Handel's works spread across these four conductors.

I think you're about 15 years behind the times Coop, but that's a familiar GMG trait. You know where to go if you want to know what's what about Handel.  ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 10, 2009, 03:26:15 AM
Who do you consider to be a good Handel interpreter?  Once you remove Gardiner and Harnoncourt, only Hogwood and Pinnock are still in contention.  Most of my Handel's oratorios/choral works are actually Hogwood's recordings.  I actually have many Handel's works spread across these four conductors.

Well those are the best known group of Handel opera/oratorio conductors from the 1980s, but new group of Handel conductors has arisen from 1990s going forward as Elgarian mentions:

-Christie, McGegan, King
also
-McCreesh, Jacobs, Minkowski plus newer ones like Petrou/MDG and Spering/CPO

But by far the most prolific current conductor of Handel opera is Alan Curtis, besides his older Virgin label boxset he is now very active for Archiv label just recently releasing Alcina and Ezio


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 10, 2009, 02:47:43 PM
OK guys.........the current Joshua set is no problem, booklet is thin enough to slide in/out no problem (type size is microscopic)

I will probably use the sage advice of Elgarian and break off two of the four retaining tabs from jewel case to facilitate booklet access
of other two Hyperion sets on order

My Hyperion package arrived in very short order, but as feared both Handel sets are in the 2 CD slimcase  :(

I actually ended up breaking off all 4 booklet retaining tabs using straight edge screw driver, booklet is now freed of its shakles and can be freely acessed without mangling cover each time........a small sacrifice I suppose considering the cheap sale price
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 10, 2009, 03:59:13 PM
I think you're about 15 years behind the times Coop, but that's a familiar GMG trait. You know where to go if you want to know what's what about Handel.  ;)

 ::)

Okay, "Mr. Authority", what exactly is "15 years behind the times" about recommending Minkowski, Spering, Neumann, and the like in Handel's stage works?

Which is EXACTLY what I've been doing for years now on GMG. Oh, what's that you say? You hadn't noticed? Typical Corkster trait.

Also, both Gardiner's and Hogwood's recordings may be "ancient" as far as HIP goes but they're still eminently recommendable, despite your babbling.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 10, 2009, 04:58:14 PM
I think you're about 15 years behind the times Coop, but that's a familiar GMG trait. You know where to go if you want to know what's what about Handel.  ;)

You sound like a true believer of newer is better, which I just do not buy.  Better SQ does not necessarily translate into higher level of virtuosity.  When it comes to soprano for Handel oratorios, I have yet to find someone that is better than Emma Kirkby.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 10, 2009, 05:02:44 PM
Isn't that a bit extreme? How about:
Christie (Acis & Galatea, Alcina, Orlando)
McGegan (Ariodante)
King (L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato)

etc etc.

Not to mention Curtis, whose recordings are providing me with a lot of exciting new material at the moment.

I happen to have recordings by all of the above and have in fact bought every Handel's oratorio recorded by the King's Consort on Hyperion just last month.  Mind you that most of those oratorios are lesser-known that Hogwood, Gardiner and Harnoncourt have never recorded, i.e. Joshua, Deborah, etc.  As such, it is impossible to compare the new comer against the old masters.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 10, 2009, 11:01:51 PM
My Hyperion package arrived in very short order, but as feared both Handel sets are in the 2 CD slimcase  :(

I actually ended up breaking off all 4 booklet retaining tabs using straight edge screw driver, booklet is now freed of its shakles and can be freely acessed without mangling cover each time........a small sacrifice I suppose considering the cheap sale price

Clearly you're an 'all or nothing' stud-remover; I can sympathise with that. At least your L'Allegro booklet will remain pristine now. Mine shows distinct traces of the tussles I had before I became a True Believer in stud-removal.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 11, 2009, 01:53:05 AM
::)

Okay, "Mr. Authority", what exactly is "15 years behind the times" about recommending Minkowski, Spering, Neumann, and the like in Handel's stage works?

Which is EXACTLY what I've been doing for years now on GMG. Oh, what's that you say? You hadn't noticed? Typical Corkster trait.

Also, both Gardiner's and Hogwood's recordings may be "ancient" as far as HIP goes but they're still eminently recommendable, despite your babbling.

My statement was not directed at you, unless you are also 'Coop', but my statement still stands based on my experience at this site generally. I no-longer discuss Handel recordings in detail here because when I tried the same here two years ago nobody was interested and I created my own site for that purpose. I am 'Mr Authority' because not so long ago there were only a few crap Handel recordings to chose from so I bought them all due to lack of choice. Now things have improved somewhat I was trying to give the guys here the benefit of my costly experience.  If people aren't interested so be it, but there are still a lot of dud recordings being produced even now.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 11, 2009, 04:02:16 AM
My statement was not directed at you, unless you are also 'Coop'...

I don't have to be Coopmv. Your blanket insult included GMG. I'm part of GMG.

Quote
but my statement still stands based on my experience at this site generally.

Your "statement" has nothing of substance.

Quote
I no-longer discuss Handel recordings in detail here because when I tried the same here two years ago nobody was interested and I created my own site for that purpose.

There was plenty of interest in Handel at the time, but not your conspiracy theories.

Quote
I am 'Mr Authority' because not so long ago there were only a few crap Handel recordings to chose from so I bought them all due to lack of choice. Now things have improved somewhat I was trying to give the guys here the benefit of my costly experience.  If people aren't interested so be it, but there are still a lot of dud recordings being produced even now.

And you somehow feel this "experience" gives you the right to repeatedly insult GMG?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 11, 2009, 07:07:05 AM
I don't have to be Coopmv. Your blanket insult included GMG. I'm part of GMG.

Your "statement" has nothing of substance.

There was plenty of interest in Handel at the time, but not your conspiracy theories.

And you somehow feel this "experience" gives you the right to repeatedly insult GMG?

I have ventured no conspiracy theories at all here, my name is not Newman. I once ventured the notion that the musical establishment in the 20th Century pushed Handel to one side thanks to their cult like obsession with Bach. This is not a theory it is a fact, a fact certain people here couldn't.. er.. handle. Other than that there has been nothing of this nature from me. I can accept Mozart actually composed quite a bit of his own music!  

But my 'experience' is as valid as yours, I joined this site just a few weeks after you did! But at that time at least if you didn't dance the the GMG Establishment's tune you were in for a hard time, that I remember very well... ;D
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1790.html  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 11, 2009, 12:59:27 PM
It's high time we had some conspiration theories again. What fun!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 11, 2009, 04:14:47 PM
I have ventured no conspiracy theories at all here, my name is not Newman. I once ventured the notion that the musical establishment in the 20th Century pushed Handel to one side thanks to their cult like obsession with Bach. This is not a theory it is a fact, a fact certain people here couldn't.. er.. handle. Other than that there has been nothing of this nature from me. I can accept Mozart actually composed quite a bit of his own music!  


I am no novice when it comes to Handel's works.  Proof: I have over 20 versions of Messiah (between LP's, open-reel tapes and CD's) and there are few Handel's oratorios that I do not already own - the lesser-known oratorios by the King's Consort have recently helped build out my collection.  Marc Minkowski is the only Handel's conductors whose recordings are not yet represented in my collection.  However, that will soon change.  My Handel's collection has breadth as well, do you have this set of Concerto Grossi by Karajan?  I do.  Perhaps a little modesty will do you some good, buddy.



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 11, 2009, 07:36:58 PM
I have ventured no conspiracy theories at all here, my name is not Newman. I once ventured the notion that the musical establishment in the 20th Century pushed Handel to one side thanks to their cult like obsession with Bach. This is not a theory it is a fact, a fact certain people here couldn't.. er.. handle.

That's exactly what I'm referring to. It's not a fact at all. ::)

Quote
But my 'experience' is as valid as yours, I joined this site just a few weeks after you did! But at that time at least if you didn't dance the the GMG Establishment's tune you were in for a hard time, that I remember very well... ;D
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1790.html 

I've been posting on GMG for five or six years, now. Past iterations of GMG are filled with my Handel postings. And not ONCE have I felt pressure from anyone to "dance the GMG establishment"...whatever that is... ::)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 11, 2009, 11:18:48 PM
My Handel's collection has breadth as well, do you have this set of Concerto Grossi by Karajan?  I do. 

I think this proves my point my friend.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 11, 2009, 11:22:00 PM
I think this proves my point my friend.
I'm a great Handel fan, but every time I read one of your posts I feel the urge to listen to some Bach to cleanse myself.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 11, 2009, 11:23:18 PM
That's exactly what I'm referring to. It's not a fact at all. ::)

It is a most demonstrable fact. You can chose to live in denial but history will not be changed by it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 12, 2009, 01:56:01 AM
Must.....play.....some......Bach......before......I.....choke......

We're going though all of the Bach church cantatas too, which is of course a lot of Bach, with a few choice cuts from all of them. So if you are thirsty..
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 12, 2009, 03:56:07 AM
It is a most demonstrable fact. You can chose to live in denial but history will not be changed by it.

You haven't yet even REMOTELY demonstrated this.

And how about actually answering a question for once: I asked you earlier What exactly is "15 years behind the times" about recommending Minkowski, Spering, Neumann...?

...and I'd add McCreesh as well for his Messiah....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on June 12, 2009, 06:19:58 AM
...and I'd add McCreesh as well for his Messiah....

You can leave him out for that, it's not a very good recording, but he's done a few more Handel oratorios.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 12, 2009, 03:55:32 PM
I think this proves my point my friend.

What point?  List your Handel's collection if it is that impressive.  Talk is cheap, my friend.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 12, 2009, 04:01:37 PM
Don't know them myself, but just looking here through the Gramophone and Penguin Guides for some of the Gardiner recordings Dark Angel has bought: L'Allegro gets Gramophone's highest accolade of three 'discs'. Penguin gives 3 stars to both the L'Allegro and the Tamerlano. Israel in Egypt and Zadok get 'key' status in Penguin, and an unheard-of four stars. Now, I do disagree with their assessments myself sometimes - but are these recordings really so bad, Rod?

He thinks he is more qualified than all those reviewers in the Penguin Guides.  But he needs to show his independently verifiable credentials.  He is no different than many of these bloggers purporting to be investment experts when in reality you can lose everything if you take their BS investment advice ...    ::)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: FideLeo on June 12, 2009, 07:35:45 PM
In case you are not aware, most of Bach's music was no longer performed by the 1830's, less than a century after Bach's death.  It took Felix Mendelssohn, a German Jew who was converted to Christianity to re-discover Bach's work, the St. Matthew Passion in particular. 

But what about the fortunes of Handel's works (especially his operas and oratorios) in the same period? 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 12:40:57 AM
I've been resistant to buying opera DVDs because without the buzz of actually being in a theatre, I tend to find them uninvolving. But there are exceptions (eg Glyndebourne Guilio Cesare); and having noted several recommendations here recently, I took a great interest when I saw that a thing called 'The Handel Collection' had been published:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TcqrQGHoL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Two Glyndebourne productions - Rodelinda and Theodora - plus what seems to be a musically illustrated 'Handel in London' documentary. Three DVDs for the price of one seemed like my kind of attractive experiment. Anyway, they arrived yesterday, and I spent a fascinating hour just sampling each of them to get the feel of what I was in for. I enjoyed (in a sad sort of way) walking through London with Sarah Connolly while she sang Scherza Infida, and so that third disc looks as if it might be more interesting than I'd expected. Not too sure about Rodelinda. I watched the first 20 mins or so, and was a bit perturbed by Rodelinda's unconvincing melodramatic gestures, so I'm not sure how I'll get on with this. But Lorraine Hunt's Irene in Theodora seems to be completely showstopping whenever she appears - most people getting this far will be familiar with her performance of 'As with rosy steps ... ', but for anyone who hasn't, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlt1UxjvWU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlt1UxjvWU)

And Dawn Upshaw's 'With darkness deep' is quite shattering - her fine acting as well as singing just rips me to pieces. The fear, the desperate brave fragility of her. You can see it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyCGmxDYsz4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyCGmxDYsz4)

I have the feeling that despite this, the production as a whole seems a bit too brutal, to tell the truth - the conclusion, with the execution, is really quite bizarre and disturbing in a way I can't define. See here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAVrDbkmY1A (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAVrDbkmY1A)

So I'm not sure how I'll feel about it when I watch the whole thing through; but that's a personal issue, and there's no doubting the magnificence of this production.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2009, 01:11:23 AM
I do think you might come away with a different opinion of the Theodora once you have watched the whole production. There never were stage directions, as it was written as an oratorio. Although not keen on most of Sellars' productions, I feel this one works powerfully.

As so often can be the case, what happens between the notes can be important. Here the conductor uses extended pauses to stretch the sinus of the drama.

I am not sure whether you have sampled David Daniels yet, but his singing is as good as Hunt-Lieberson's, though her dramatic impact is exceptional. She holds the stage even when standing stock still.

I very much hope you enjoy it.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 01:35:46 AM
But what about the fortunes of Handel's works (especially his operas and oratorios) in the same period? 

When the baroque era ended with the death of Handel in 1759, I imagine many of his operas also fell into relative obscurity.  However, Handel's crowning achievement - the Messiah - continued to be performed everywhere English speaking people lived to this day. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 01:43:13 AM
I do think you might come away with a different opinion of the Theodora once you have watched the whole production.

Yes, I'm aware that my first impressions from merely skipping about between sections are only that - first impressions. Thanks for the encouragement, Mike.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: FideLeo on June 13, 2009, 01:45:46 AM
However, Handel's crowning achievement - the Messiah - continued to be performed everywhere English speaking people lived to this day.  

You can say that about Bach's WTC, which has never fallen into obscurity either.   It can't be denied that the true Handel revival arrived much much later than that for Bach's works, at least in concert and recording scenes.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 01:50:26 AM
You can say that about Bach's WTC, which has never fallen into obscurity either. 
 

I really have not read up on the history of WTC during the intervening years since Bach's death in 1750, but you may be right.  However, there is no doubt that Mendelssohn deserves all the credit for "resurrecting" St Matthew Passion.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: FideLeo on June 13, 2009, 02:04:29 AM
 

I really have not read up on the history of WTC during the intervening years since Bach's death in 1750, but you may be right.

Beethoven knew these from his teacher of early years in Bonn - that should give a fairly good idea of how widespread Bach's keyboard music was in Germany after his death. (The first printed edition of WTC appeared in 1801) BTW, some of JSB's vocal works continued to be performed by his son CPE in public after his death, although hardly in the HIP style as we know it today.  Of course Mendelssohn's revival was very far from HIP as well... :D  

I just found some reference to Howard Smithers' book on the history of oratorio, which seems to suggest that Handel's oratorios were forgetten only briefly in Germany, and performed at music festivals there at some regularities since 1770s.  How about Bach?  I recall reading the anecdote that, when Mozart travelled through Leipzig in 1789, the St Thomas Kantor at the time showed him copies made of JS Bach's motets. Indeed, according to Smithers, the motets and the Magnificat were the first vocal works of Bach published in the 19th century (1802-3, 1811).  The Mass in b and the Passions were all published in 1830s.  (This is not to say that they were unknown before that date: CF Zelter and the Berlin Singakademie privately rehearsed and performed the mass and the passions in the 1790s.  I wonder if any of CPE Bach's influences existed for Zelter, but it is certain that Mendelssohn was a composition student to Zelter in 1810s.  No, I don't have the Smithers book handy, but thanks to google books I was able to do a quick check...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 02:28:28 AM
Beethoven knew these from his teacher of early years in Bonn - that should give a fairly good idea of how widespread Bach's keyboard music was in Germany after his death. (The first printed edition of WTC appeared in 1801) BTW, some of JSB's vocal works continued to be performed by his son CPE in public after his death, although hardly in the HIP style as we know it today.  Of course Mendelssohn's revival was very far from HIP as well... :D  

I just found some reference to Howard Smithers' book on the history of oratorio, which seems to suggest that Handel's oratorios were forgetten only briefly in Germany, and performed at music festivals there at some regularities since 1770s.  How about Bach?  I recall reading the anecdote that, when Mozart travelled through Leipzig in 1789, the St Thomas Kantor at the time showed him copies made of JS Bach's motets. Indeed, according to Smithers, the motets and the Magnificat were the first vocal works of Bach published in the 19th century (1802-3, 1811).  The Mass in b and the Passions were all published in 1830s.  

Apparently Handel's Messiah became so popular after his death that Mozart re-arranged the work to be performed in German.  I have the only such recording on LP for years.  This same recording has been re-issued by some small English label I came across on the MDT website a while back.  I also have the Brockes Passion on LP by Wenzinger, which was sung in German.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KJQA8WBAL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) 



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: FideLeo on June 13, 2009, 02:33:07 AM
Apparently Handel's Messiah became so popular after his death that Mozart re-arranged the work to be performed in German.  


Sorry but "Handel's oratorios" in the case appear to mean more than just the Messiah.  Judas Maccabaeus was another that was performed in 1770s.  Van Swieten's revivals of Handel oratorios in Vienna included commissions form Mozart to arrange the Messiah and Alexander's Feast, but the latter seems to have been rarely recorded.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 03:27:36 AM
Sorry but "Handel's oratorios" in the case appear to mean more than just the Messiah.  Judas Maccabaeus was another that was performed in 1770s.  Van Swieten's revivals of Handel oratorios in Vienna included commissions form Mozart to arrange the Messiah and Alexander's Feast, but the latter seems to have been rarely recorded.

I am aware of that.  You will be hard pressed to find Handel's oratorio other than Messiah being performed in places as diverse as Sydney and the Falkland Islands, wherever English is spoken.  While Messiah may not be the greatest oratorio Handel had composed, neither did Albert Einstein win his Nobel Prize in physics for his theory of relativity ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 13, 2009, 05:38:34 AM
I've been resistant to buying opera DVDs because without the buzz of actually being in a theatre, I tend to find them uninvolving. But there are exceptions (eg Glyndebourne Guilio Cesare); and having noted several recommendations here recently, I took a great interest when I saw that a thing called 'The Handel Collection' had been published:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TcqrQGHoL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Two Glyndebourne productions - Rodelinda and Theodora - plus what seems to be a musically illustrated 'Handel in London' documentary. Three DVDs for the price of one seemed like my kind of attractive experiment. Anyway, they arrived yesterday, and I spent a fascinating hour just sampling each of them to get the feel of what I was in for. I enjoyed (in a sad sort of way) walking through London with Sarah Connolly while she sang Scherza Infida, and so that third disc looks as if it might be more interesting than I'd expected. Not too sure about Rodelinda. I watched the first 20 mins or so, and was a bit perturbed by Rodelinda's unconvincing melodramatic gestures, so I'm not sure how I'll get on with this. But Lorraine Hunt's Irene in Theodora seems to be completely showstopping whenever she appears - most people getting this far will be familiar with her performance of 'As with rosy steps ... ', but for anyone who hasn't, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlt1UxjvWU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQlt1UxjvWU)

And Dawn Upshaw's 'With darkness deep' is quite shattering - her fine acting as well as singing just rips me to pieces. The fear, the desperate brave fragility of her. You can see it here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyCGmxDYsz4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyCGmxDYsz4)

I have the feeling that despite this, the production as a whole seems a bit too brutal, to tell the truth - the conclusion, with the execution, is really quite bizarre and disturbing in a way I can't define. See here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAVrDbkmY1A (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAVrDbkmY1A)

So I'm not sure how I'll feel about it when I watch the whole thing through; but that's a personal issue, and there's no doubting the magnificence of this production.

Elgarian, a tempting offer for DVD collectors..........but the extremely useful youtube samples convince me that I will not need to purchase this set.  

I have the McCreesh/Archiv Theodora CD set and of course love the vocal work by Hunt in the first sample and her emotional intensity, but the spartan modern stage production of Handel oratorios does not do them justice, seems a bit silly actually. I note the heavenly angel/crucifix symbolism when laying on the execution tables, unfortunately the the static nature of the scence quickly becomes boring

I am not biased against modern productions in general, I just love the recent Rameau Les Palladins which makes brilliant use of rear projection screens for instance, this technique could do wonders for future Handel Oratorio productions me thinks......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 06:18:05 AM
a tempting offer for DVD collectors..........but the extremely useful youtube samples convince me that I will not need to purchase this set.

Therein lies the value of (a) youtube, and (b) this thread. I'm pleased to have saved you (at least, potentially) a bit of cash.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 06:25:36 AM
Therein lies the value of (a) youtube, and (b) this thread. I'm pleased to have saved you (at least, potentially) a bit of cash.

YouTube has killed off a potential DVD sale ...     ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 13, 2009, 06:43:40 AM
YouTube has killed off a potential DVD sale ...     ???
I have no doubt the saved money will be put to good use buying another musical object, so the net effect will be nil.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 13, 2009, 07:41:11 AM
And I replied. Have another selection for me?

Dave,

In the Handel opera/oratorio arena the choices are burgeoning but probably the cheapest way to go and still get quality goods is Gardiner on Philips as quite a few of his recordings are 'old' enough to be released as reissues. They're not quite two-for-one prices but still better than full price.

I'd probably elect Gardiner's Agrippina as a safe next purchase - it's full of wonderful yet never hammy melodies and, price aside, is another of my favorite Handel operas. Although it's quite lengthy at three discs, but worth it.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41-8taxum-L.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 13, 2009, 08:21:36 AM
I only have one Handel DVD currently:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T0CVE57KL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29B1YR8yBA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29B1YR8yBA)

I have not sat down and watched every minute but my initial quick 20 minute chapter scan indicates I will be keeping this performance.
The original purchase was sealed when I saw Piau teamed up with Rousset. Since Serse (Xerxes) was an opera the DVD version usually easier to make a good performance.......one must acclimate to seeing women playing men's role, a gender bending charming visual twist  :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 08:34:50 AM
I have a good number of DVD's of classical concerts.  All the vocal/choral works are either oratorios, passions, mass in b, etc.  Tannhauser by Colin Davis is the only DVD I have on opera.  I am not sure if I want to get ANY other operas on DVD ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/412NRNYdexL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dr. Dread on June 13, 2009, 09:28:42 AM
Dave,

In the Handel opera/oratorio arena the choices are burgeoning but probably the cheapest way to go and still get quality goods is Gardiner on Philips as quite a few of his recordings are 'old' enough to be released as reissues. They're not quite two-for-one prices but still better than full price.

I'd probably elect Gardiner's Agrippina as a safe next purchase - it's full of wonderful yet never hammy melodies and, price aside, is another of my favorite Handel operas. Although it's quite lengthy at three discs, but worth it.


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41-8taxum-L.jpg)




Thanks, man.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 10:16:56 AM
I only have one Handel DVD currently:

Then you need one of these:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

It is astounding.
Some youtubes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPJYibwHq1w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPJYibwHq1w)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 10:25:22 AM
I only have one Handel DVD currently:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T0CVE57KL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Thanks for the you tube - which was good enough to have me checking for more; here's a sort of trailer of bits:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lNr_HGe5gg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lNr_HGe5gg)

I could be tempted by this.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 13, 2009, 11:21:26 AM
Then you need one of these:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

It is astounding.
Some youtubes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPJYibwHq1w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPJYibwHq1w)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk)


You have found my weak spot.......that sweet enchantress Danielle de Neise, I could never be bored watching her!
I wish there was more stage props/scenery, basically we just have costumes and a bare stage  ???

This is another case where the DVD is no more expensive than the CD versions.......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 11:25:27 AM
I wish there was more stage props/scenery, basically we just have costumes and a bare stage  ???

Well, there are some lovely touches with back projection - like the dirigibles that drift across in one of those clips. And there is some tremendous choreography (not just Danielle), in which the people move around the stage in fascinating ways. There is a lot to see.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 13, 2009, 11:42:28 AM
Well, there are some lovely touches with back projection - like the dirigibles that drift across in one of those clips. And there is some tremendous choreography (not just Danielle), in which the people move around the stage in fascinating ways. There is a lot to see.

Great I love well done back projection techniques, provides almost unlimited creative potential for the director and should be used much more, I have a DVD copy in my buy basket............

Seems the money I just saved passing up your Theodora DVD before has now been spent regardless.......... ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 11:52:13 AM
Seems the money I just saved passing up your Theodora DVD before has now been spent regardless.......... ;)

And I am very close to buying a Serse DVD - so clearly we're dragging each other off down the road to ruin.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2009, 12:22:10 PM
And I am very close to buying a Serse DVD - so clearly we're dragging each other off down the road to ruin.

Now didn't I warn you about this?  ::)

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 13, 2009, 12:31:06 PM
Now didn't I warn you about this?  ::)

Indeed you did, Mike. I promise that when I finally go down, I'll make it eminently clear to the bankruptcy court that you did your best to stop the rot.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 12:58:30 PM
Indeed you did, Mike. I promise that when I finally go down, I'll make it eminently clear to the bankruptcy court that you did your best to stop the rot.

Do British banks rely on credit score when a customer applies for a loan or a credit card?  If so, a trip to the personal bankruptcy court means that credit score also goes to hell ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2009, 12:59:51 PM
Indeed you did, Mike. I promise that when I finally go down, I'll make it eminently clear to the bankruptcy court that you did your best to stop the rot.

That's fine; as long as it is seen that I did my duty.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 13, 2009, 01:01:05 PM
Do British banks rely on credit score when a customer applies for a loan or a credit card?  If so, a trip to the personal bankruptcy court means that credit score also goes to hell ...


Yes you are right, we will have to help him out and stand guarantor for the next major Handel boxes.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 13, 2009, 01:47:22 PM
Dave,

In the Handel opera/oratorio arena the choices are burgeoning but probably the cheapest way to go and still get quality goods is Gardiner on Philips as quite a few of his recordings are 'old' enough to be released as reissues. They're not quite two-for-one prices but still better than full price.



Nothing against Gardiner, but I find Robert King's Hyperion sets to be the top of the mountain.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 13, 2009, 01:57:45 PM
Nothing against Gardiner, but I find Robert King's Hyperion sets to be the top of the mountain.
 

So newer is usually better than older?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 13, 2009, 09:06:26 PM
Nothing against Gardiner, but I find Robert King's Hyperion sets to be the top of the mountain.

Could be. I only have one from the King series (Judas Maccabaeus) but from what I can tell Gardiner more than holds his own.

Besides, little of the repertoire is duplicated between the two so by default it's difficult to avoid Gardiner (or some other).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 13, 2009, 09:09:13 PM
Thanks, man.

'Welcome.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 14, 2009, 12:49:59 AM
Well, there are some lovely touches with back projection - like the dirigibles that drift across in one of those clips.

Back projection! So that's how some of the visual tricks were done!  :)

And there is some tremendous choreography (not just Danielle), in which the people move around the stage in fascinating ways. There is a lot to see.

Yes, Nireno's aria is very entertaining Bollywood dancing. I also like the choreography in Va tacito.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 01:17:11 AM
Back projection! So that's how some of the visual tricks were done!  :)

I hasten to add that I'm not an expert on such matters - I just assumed that's how they did it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 14, 2009, 04:26:48 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynAb5i1XLXk)

You have found my weak spot.......that sweet enchantress Danielle de Niese, I could never be bored watching her!

This is another case where the DVD is no more expensive than the CD versions.......

OK again I have infused new capital into the Handel revival and placed order for Christie/Opus Arte Cesare DVD set.
As a further incentive to push me over the edge since they used 3 DVDs bonus featurettes are inlcuded, one is devoted to Danielle!


Not to confuse matters but there is a competing 2005 Mortensen/Harmonia Mundi Cesare DVD on the market featuring Andreas Scholl, but I suspect the Christie version still remains top choice.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41rSxWzDrOL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 04:48:20 AM
Could be. I only have one from the King series (Judas Maccabaeus) but from what I can tell Gardiner more than holds his own.

Besides, little of the repertoire is duplicated between the two so by default it's difficult to avoid Gardiner (or some other).

Amen. 

I bought ALL the Handel oratorios by the King's Consort that were on sale at MDT just last month.  Most of them were lesser-known oratorios, which Gardiner has never recorded except Judas Maccabaeus (by Mackerras and not Gardiner?) and Acis and Galatea.  How can any comparisons be made when Gardiner never recorded the same works?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 04:55:33 AM
I have the Mackerras version of Judas Maccabaeus. I recommend it for the solo singing and the conducting. However, folk should be aware that the chorus work is performed by the Wandsworth School Choir and the boy's indulge in a lot of hooting, look elsewhere for the choir work.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 06:15:38 AM
Mackerras made some very interesting recordings in the earlier days of his conducting career, including this Handel Messiah, re-arranged by Mozart and sung in German.  I have had this LP set in my collection for years.  I believe this recording has now been re-issued by some small English label (guess Archive did not want to be bothered) ...

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 06:55:26 AM
Can someone provide an OBJECTIVE assessment of Marc Minkowski's Handel's recordings?  How does he stack up against the English trio Trevor, Gardiner and Hogwood.  I expect to order a number of his Archive recordings with my next MDT order.  Thanks in advance.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 14, 2009, 07:06:50 AM
Can someone provide an OBJECTIVE assessment of Marc Minkowski's Handel's recordings? 

I can only provide you with information on what I like (or liked on the last occasion of playing). I don't think objective exists. I think all you can do is decide what persons subjective view coincides most with your own preferences.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 07:20:28 AM
As a further incentive to push me over the edge since they used 3 DVDs bonus featurettes are inlcuded, one is devoted to Danielle!

I firmly predict that you will be more than happy with the Christie version. It's so good that, when disc 3 ends, you're tempted to reach for disc 1 to start again. And in the featurette Danielle will potter around the house she's staying in, chatting to you. So you might be close to financial ruin, but you'll be a happy ruin.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 07:32:30 AM
Meanwhile, back at the homestead:

The sun is out, the breeze is light and warm, and I've been sitting in the garden listening the first act of Deborah, on headphones:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571168418.png)

I had no idea... no idea how marvellous this would be. The singing is fabulous, the music intoxicating, the tunes infectious. I picked this up in Hyperion's half-price Handel sale (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019 (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019)), and I'm sorry to say that although the sale is still on, they seem to have pushed Deborah back up to full price at the moment. Worth keeping an eye on the sale, though, in case they drop the price again. It's excellent value even at full price; at half price it's a gift from Santa Claus.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 14, 2009, 09:01:16 AM
Can someone provide an OBJECTIVE assessment of Marc Minkowski's Handel's recordings?  How does he stack up against the English trio Trevor, Gardiner and Hogwood.  I expect to order a number of his Archive recordings with my next MDT order.  Thanks in advance.

Not sure what an "objective" assessment would consist of, but I can comment on a couple Minkowski/Archiv releases.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31MPMKV0HDL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

This is an extremely strong release, it was mentioned at least once earlier in this thread.
There are no weak spots, as close to 10/10 as you can hope for. Even the recitativo parts are done with passion and dramatic intensity making them interesting prequels to main arias, sound quality is top drawer. I compared this to the McGegan/HM version and much preferred this version, more dramatic for sure. Fortunately the hideous blue triangle on cover art is a promo sticker and peels off.

The Minkowski/Archiv Messiah is an unforunate missed opportunity and is not competitive with best versions out there, the tempo is pushed very hard in a few spots and does not develop fully.......it is still not as bad as many say but not competitive with best available.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 14, 2009, 09:05:14 AM
Not sure what an "objective" assessment would consist of, but I can comment on a couple Minkowski/Archiv releases.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31MPMKV0HDL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

This is an extremely strong release, it was mentioned at least once earlier in this thread.
There are no weak spots, as close to 10/10 as you can hope for. Even the recitativo parts are done with passion and dramatic intensity making them interesting prequels to main arias, sound quality is top drawer. I compared this to the McGegan/HM version and much preferred this version, more dramatic for sure. Fortunately the hideous blue triangle on cover art is a promo sticker and peels off.

The Hercules by the same forces I think is equally fine.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 14, 2009, 09:13:15 AM
Getting back to Handel "Cesare" CD versions......

I know the current thinking is to get the Jacobs/HM or Minkowski/Archiv, but the old warhorse RCA version featuring Beverly Sills as Cleopatra is so cheap used ($9 Amazon sellers) I cannot pass it up!

I realize it is an abridged 2CD version and uses a baritone for Cesare instead of tenor, but young Sills in her prime had a magnificent colortura voice with incredible range capable of the most demanding bel canto roles, don't believe I will regret this purchase!
(although Rod will surely say otherwise  ;) )

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513PJN7xNTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 09:34:16 AM
Getting back to Handel "Cesare" CD versions......

I know the current thinking is to get the Jacobs/HM or Minkowski/Archiv, but the old warhorse RCA version featuring Beverly Sills as Cleopatra is so cheap used ($9 Amazon sellers) I cannot pass it up!

I realize it is an abridged 2CD version and uses a baritone for Cesare instead of tenor, but young Sills in her prime had a magnificent colortura voice with incredible range capable of the most demanding bel canto roles, don't believe I will regret this purchase!
(although Rod will surely say otherwise  ;) )

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513PJN7xNTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I do hope you love that RCA set.  For me, a modern instrument performance just doesn't do the trick.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 10:51:15 AM
Meanwhile, back at the homestead:

The sun is out, the breeze is light and warm, and I've been sitting in the garden listening the first act of Deborah, on headphones:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571168418.png)

I had no idea... no idea how marvellous this would be. The singing is fabulous, the music intoxicating, the tunes infectious. I picked this up in Hyperion's half-price Handel sale (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019 (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/o.asp?o=1019)), and I'm sorry to say that although the sale is still on, they seem to have pushed Deborah back up to full price at the moment. Worth keeping an eye on the sale, though, in case they drop the price again. It's excellent value even at full price; at half price it's a gift from Santa Claus.

I bought mine at a great discount from MDT except that mine is still in the cellophane since I am trying to finish listening to the following sets first.  I bought every Handel oratorio by the King's Consort on Hyperion that was on sale last month and I am not disappointed ...
 
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61MBRRARRHL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41lm4ZWPhSL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 10:58:15 AM
Not sure what an "objective" assessment would consist of, but I can comment on a couple Minkowski/Archiv releases.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31MPMKV0HDL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

This is an extremely strong release, it was mentioned at least once earlier in this thread.
There are no weak spots, as close to 10/10 as you can hope for. Even the recitativo parts are done with passion and dramatic intensity making them interesting prequels to main arias, sound quality is top drawer. I compared this to the McGegan/HM version and much preferred this version, more dramatic for sure. Fortunately the hideous blue triangle on cover art is a promo sticker and peels off.

The Minkowski/Archiv Messiah is an unforunate missed opportunity and is not competitive with best versions out there, the tempo is pushed very hard in a few spots and does not develop fully.......it is still not as bad as many say but not competitive with best available.


 

I have two versions of the much older Ariodante by Raymond Leppard, one on LP and other on CD.  That recording is probably over 30 years old.  I also have the Ariodante highlight by McGegan.  I have over 20 versions of Messiah and really do not need anymore.  I think I may just focus on the single Handel CD's out there by Minkowski for now.  Thanks for the info ...    ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 10:59:53 AM
Coopmv, At a rough estimate, how many discs do you have that you have not yet listened to?

I have one, James MacMillan, I will have to work myself up to it and that may take some time.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 11:00:37 AM
I do hope you love that RCA set.  For me, a modern instrument performance just doesn't do the trick.

It looks like you do not like ANY of the Handel oratorios conducted by Neville Marriner and the ASMIF.  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 11:02:25 AM
Coopmv, At a rough estimate, how many discs do you have that you have not yet listened to?

I have one, James McMillan, I will have to work myself up to it and that may take some time.

Mike


Probably about 150.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 11:21:32 AM
It looks like you do not like ANY of the Handel oratorios conducted by Neville Marriner and the ASMIF.  

You got that right.  Marriner's okay for Mozart's lighter works such as the Serenades, but I think he sucks in Handel and Bach.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 11:25:31 AM
 

I also have the Ariodante highlight by McGegan. 

Great opera and performance.  I'm glad I have the whole set.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 11:35:49 AM
You got that right.  Marriner's okay for Mozart's lighter works such as the Serenades, but I think he sucks in Handel and Bach.

Well, the HIP movement for baroque recordings did not really hit the full stride until the 80's and is still evolving in a way.  I have St Matthew Passion by Mengelberg and Klemperer and found them quite enjoyable.  Those performances - the 1930's and 1950's simply reflect the prevailing interpretations of those eras.  I have the Brandenburg Concertos by Karl Richter and his Munich Bach Orchestra on DVD and even those performances could be considered somewhat HIP as the number of instrumentalists varied with the concertos.  I am not sure if you are aware of this.  You might have thought an old-school conductor like Richter had used his orchestra at full-strength for all works ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 11:37:33 AM
Great opera and performance.  I'm glad I have the whole set.


I generally do not buy highlight but since I knew little about McGegan at the time and I generally do not have very high opinions of American ensembles performing baroque works.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 11:40:55 AM


I generally do not buy highlight but since I knew little about McGegan at the time and I generally do not have very high opinions of American ensembles performing baroque works.

BUY AMERICAN (now and then).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 11:42:12 AM
Well, the HIP movement for baroque recordings did not really hit the full stride until the 80's and is still evolving in a way.  I have St Matthew Passion by Mengelberg and Klemperer and found them quite enjoyable.  Those performances - the 1930's and 1950's simply reflect the prevailing interpretations of those eras.  I have the Brandenburg Concertos by Karl Richter and his Munich Bach Orchestra on DVD and even those performances could be considered somewhat HIP as the number of instrumentalists varied with the concertos.  I am not sure if you are aware of this.  

Yes, I am aware.  Marriner still sucks. ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 11:42:45 AM
  I have two versions of the much older Ariodante by Raymond Leppard, one on LP and other on CD.  That recording is probably over 30 years old.

The performances of Janet Baker are alone worth having that set for. Her 'Dopo notte' is blisteringly fine. Unanswerable, HIP or no HIP.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 11:47:21 AM
The performances of Janet Baker are alone worth having that set for. Her 'Dopo notte' is blisteringly fine. Unanswerable, HIP or no HIP.



Agree.  Not all HIP recordings should be given an automatic pass.  OTOH, one should not summarily write off any non HIP performance either.  To the best of my knowledge, the only truly non-HIP baroque performances were made by Karajan and the BPO ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 14, 2009, 11:54:34 AM



OTOH, one should not summarily write off any non HIP performance either.  To the best of my knowledge, the only truly non-HIP baroque performances were made by Karajan and the BPO ...

For some odd reason I feel that the Corkster is close at hand. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 11:58:27 AM
Leppard was largely responsible for a revival in the UK of Monteverdi opera and of Cavalli. He tinkered with the scores, making them richer. I agree his recording of Ariodante is very good. He also conducted a series of recitals with Janet Baker that anyone who enjoys great singing would not pass up. Bach, Gluck, Handel, Monteverdi and Mozart. These are on Decca, Phillips, EMI and Erato.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 12:00:37 PM
Leppard was largely responsible for a revival in the UK of Monteverdi opera and of Cavalli. He tinkered with the scores, making them richer. I agree his recording of Ariodante is very good. He also conducted a series of recitals with Janet Baker that anyone who enjoys great singing would not pass up. Bach, Gluck, Handel, Monteverdi and Mozart.

Not to forget his extraordinary recording of Cavalli's La Calisto (also with JB).

Afternote: I'm going crackers. Sorry Mike - I read your post and quoted it without seeing 'Cavalli' up there at top right. Eyesight failing, clearly.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 12:02:15 PM



Agree.  Not all HIP recordings should be given an automatic pass.  OTOH, one should not summarily write off any non HIP performance either.  To the best of my knowledge, the only truly non-HIP baroque performances were made by Karajan and the BPO ...

I think you will find, to name but two, Klemperer and Stokovsky approaches to Bach were not HIP in the sense used on this thread.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 12:03:43 PM
Leppard was largely responsible for a revival in the UK of Monteverdi opera and of Cavalli. He tinkered with the scores, making them richer. I agree his recording of Ariodante is very good. He also conducted a series of recitals with Janet Baker that anyone who enjoys great singing would not pass up. Bach, Gluck, Handel, Monteverdi and Mozart. These are on Decca, Phillips, EMI and Erato.

Mike
 

Agree.  I have been an early admirer of Raymond Leppard and many of the first baroque recordings on LP in my collection were conducted by him.  I believe Raymond Leppard was also the founder of the English Chamber Orchestra.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 12:05:23 PM
Not to forget his extraordinary recording of Cavalli's La Calisto (also with JB).

Also a much admired disc of Haydn cantatas.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 12:06:39 PM
BUY AMERICAN (now and then).
 

If I practice this philosophy, I will be driving a car made by one of the Detroit Three.  I only believe in financially rewarding the producers of quality goods, American or foreign.     ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 14, 2009, 12:08:37 PM
Also a much admired disc of Haydn cantatas.

It was very kind of you to reply to my inept post, Mike! (See my apology in post #329)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 14, 2009, 12:11:09 PM
I think you will find, to name but two, Klemperer and Stokovsky approaches to Bach were not HIP in the sense used on this thread.

Mike


I picked Karajan, as he had the biggest name from that bygone era ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 12:16:10 PM
Really, no apology needed, but thanks. I agree, the Cavalli a groundbreaking recording in its time. There is also a DVD of Monteverdi's Return of Ulysses I think. Leppard was prolific and perhaps suffered from that. The ECO started to sound quite middle of the road. But some at least of these recordings show an enquiring mind and an attempt to bring something to the public by making it palatable. His turbo-Monteverdi is startling in a way.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 14, 2009, 12:17:44 PM


I picked Karajan, as he had the biggest name from that bygone era ...

Though as I think we once agreed, his early EMI Bach B Minor Mass was remarkably HIP and well ahead of its time, but I seem to have encouraged digression, sorry.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 15, 2009, 07:16:59 AM
The Hercules by the same forces I think is equally fine.

Yes I think you are right...............order has been placed for Minkowski/Archiv Hercules

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CV1J731AL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 15, 2009, 07:30:29 AM
Yes I think you are right...............order has been placed for Minkowski/Archiv Hercules

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CV1J731AL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I think MDT is offering a good deal on this if you live in the UK.  The same deal is not as good for those of us who live in the land of the worthless dollar ...   :(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 15, 2009, 07:58:42 AM
I think MDT is offering a good deal on this if you live in the UK.  The same deal is not as good for those of us who live in the land of the worthless dollar ...   :(

I almost always buy from Amazon USA and usually buy used CDs unless new version is almost same price........

A question for Elgarian or anyone really
I just listened to my Curtis/Virgin Radamisto and really enjoyed it, so much so that I am again seriously considering the 16 CD  Curtis/Virgin boxset, what say ye kind sir............is this a wise allocation of funds?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4199Z6F7XML._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

For the price of 3 operas I can purchase the entire boxset, tempting.......I remember you mercifully ended your anguish by eventually purchasing the boxset   :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 15, 2009, 08:11:29 AM
I almost always buy from Amazon USA and usually buy used CDs unless new version is almost same price........

A question for Elgarian or anyone really
I just listened to my Curtis/Virgin Radamisto and really enjoyed it, so much so that I am again seriously considering the 16 CD  Curtis/Virgin boxset, what say ye kind sir............is this a wise allocation of funds?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4199Z6F7XML._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

For the price of 3 operas I can purchase the entire boxset, tempting.......I remember you mercifully ended your anguish by eventually purchasing the boxset   :)
 

It is nice to see someone who has such enthusiasm for Handel operas.  My objective for my Handel collection is to have as complete a collection of his oratorios as possible.  I have not intended to do the same for his operas.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 15, 2009, 08:27:27 AM
 
It is nice to see someone who has such enthusiasm for Handel operas.  My objective for my Handel collection is to have as complete a collection of his oratorios as possible.  I have not intended to do the same for his operas.

No reason to not expand collection to include Handel's operas........
Although operas are done in Italian, personally I think Italian language sounds more beautiful when sung compared to English, therefore I prefer them in general to oratorios. Perhaps you are drawn to the religious themes of the oratorios

Besides you are running out of oratorios to buy now aren't you.......  ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 15, 2009, 08:33:05 AM
 

It is nice to see someone who has such enthusiasm for Handel operas.  My objective for my Handel collection is to have as complete a collection of his oratorios as possible.  I have not intended to do the same for his operas.
I am 100% the opposite of you. I consider his operas glorious, but object to too much use of choruses in the oratories. They lack the sensuality and too often the drama of the operas. I aim to have the operas complete and a decent sampling of the major oratorios (of course I will eventually end up with all the oratorios, I know I'm only fooling myself).

And go ahead and buy Dark Angel!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 15, 2009, 08:39:10 AM
No reason to not expand collection to include Handel's operas........
Although operas are done in Italian, personally I think Italian language sounds more beautiful when sung compared to English, therefore I prefer them in general to oratorios. Perhaps you are drawn to the religious themes of the oratorios

Besides you are running out of oratorios to buy now aren't you.......  ;)
 

Very true.  I am indeed getting close to running out of Handel oratorios to buy.  My enthusiasm for getting every version available for each oratorio is not high.  I tend to get many versions of a composer signature works.  For Bach, it is WTC, Brandenburg Concertos, St Matthew Passion, etc. and I have over 20 versions of Brandenburg Concertos and 10 versions each for the other two works.  For Handel, I have over 20 versions of Messiah and probably 10 versions of Concerto Grossi Op. 6.  For Beethoven, I have almost 20 Symphonies cycles and 7 versions of his Piano Sonatas.  I expect to get another one or two Wagner Ring cycles.  I currently have three.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 15, 2009, 10:31:31 AM
A question for Elgarian or anyone really
I just listened to my Curtis/Virgin Radamisto and really enjoyed it, so much so that I am again seriously considering the 16 CD  Curtis/Virgin boxset, what say ye kind sir............is this a wise allocation of funds?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4199Z6F7XML._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

For the price of 3 operas I can purchase the entire boxset, tempting.......I remember you mercifully ended your anguish by eventually purchasing the boxset   :)

Indeed I did, and I'm almost ashamed to admit that I haven't listened to any of them yet. The problem is that I'm buying at a greater rate than I can listen, in order to take advantage of the Handel sales that keep popping up everywhere, and I have a mighty backlog.....

What tipped it for me was that because I love Handel operas, and because I've thoroughly enjoyed such Curtis stuff as I've heard so far, I know I'm going to want all these recordings, including Deidamia. But to buy the original issue of Deidamia now, secondhand, would cost me about as much as the whole box. So it simply didn't make sense not to get the box. Now it's here, sitting on the table, full of promise, I don't regret the decision in the least. And yes, I wish I had the proper booklets. But I'll cope.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 15, 2009, 10:42:33 AM
I'm actually being a bit silly, and far too casual with my Handel backlog. I was doing some jobs this afternoon, rummaged around in the backlog heap, and popped this in the player to keep me company:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BMY2QQ3QL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Well, really. I wasn't really listening properly, but had to keep stopping what I was doing because the music was demanding all my attention. Some fabulous singing by Natalie Dessay in this, and some pretty famous tunes too.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2009, 10:49:22 AM
Well, really. I wasn't really listening properly, but had to keep stopping what I was doing because the music was demanding all my attention. Some fabulous singing by Natalie Dessay in this, and some pretty famous tunes too.

I can't imagine hearing Dessay and being able to concentrate on much of anything else.  ;D 

Thanks, added to "that tiny wish list."

--Bruce
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 15, 2009, 10:53:24 AM
I am 100% the opposite of you. I consider his operas glorious, but object to too much use of choruses in the oratories. They lack the sensuality and too often the drama of the operas.

I don't make any significant distinction between Handel's operas and the oratorios, considering both to be vocal with orchestra (Handel's most compelling music).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 15, 2009, 11:26:08 AM
I can't imagine hearing Dessay and being able to concentrate on much of anything else.  ;D 

I sympathise. If you'd like a sample, here you are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FLv-aVpY0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FLv-aVpY0)

The only other version I've heard of this is by Cecilia Bartoli, who sings it with astonishing virtuosity that Dessay can't really match - and yet for all that, Dessay's version produces shivers up my spine and Bartoli's doesn't.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2009, 11:32:21 AM
I sympathise. If you'd like a sample, here you are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FLv-aVpY0 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2FLv-aVpY0)

The only other version I've heard of this is by Cecilia Bartoli, who sings it with astonishing virtuosity that Dessay can't really match - and yet for all that, Dessay's version produces shivers up my spine and Bartoli's doesn't.

Oh thanks! 

I heard Dessay in La Fille du Regiment at the Met last year, and even though the opera itself really isn't my usual thing, she was charming beyond belief.  I mean, given her superb singing, she could be a terrible actress and still have a fine career, but the fact is: she's a marvelous actress.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 15, 2009, 11:39:18 AM
I mean, given her superb singing, she could be a terrible actress and still have a fine career, but the fact is: she's a marvelous actress.

Oh yes, I share your enthusiasm. I mustn't send this Handel thread OT, but Dessay's Manon (with Villazon, and on DVD) is absolutely compelling. She becomes, now and forever, Manon.

Quick, back to Handel before anyone notices!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brewski on June 15, 2009, 11:47:34 AM
Quick, back to Handel before anyone notices!

*[grin]*

--Bruce
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 15, 2009, 11:55:08 AM
I don't make any significant distinction between Handel's operas and the oratorios, considering both to be vocal with orchestra (Handel's most compelling music).
 

Toward his mid to late composing career, Handel was heading down the path of financial ruins with his operas since the Londoners got tired of them.  The oratorios saved him from absolute disaster.  I am not sure if the work is sung in English, then it is an oratorio.   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 15, 2009, 12:58:53 PM
 

Toward his mid to late composing career, Handel was heading down the path of financial ruins with his operas since the Londoners got tired of them.  The oratorios saved him from absolute disaster.  I am not sure if the work is sung in English, then it is an oratorio.   
Well, Acis and Galatea isn't an oratorio. And I don't think Hercules is considered one, either.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 15, 2009, 04:12:29 PM
Well, Acis and Galatea isn't an oratorio. And I don't think Hercules is considered one, either.

Wiki Definition of Oratorio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oratorio)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 15, 2009, 08:27:59 PM
I know what an oratorio is, I've just seen those works described as a "semi-masque" and an English Opera respectively (I think Semele falls into the latter category as well) by knowledgeable people, perhaps in the booklets, which I haven't time to dig out.

The line can be thin though:

"However, opera is musical theatre, while oratorio is strictly a concert piece -- though oratorios are sometimes staged as operas, and operas are sometimes presented in concert form. In an oratorio there is generally little or no interaction between the characters, and no props or elaborate costumes."
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 15, 2009, 10:43:46 PM
The line can be thin though

If I'm listening (rather than watching), I don't notice a great deal of difference, with Handel, except that the oratorios have frequent recourse to choruses and the operas don't. I'm only just making a start on the oratorios, but listening to Deborah recently, in my mind's eye the characters were very 'present' and interacting - though I suppose I might have been aware of a certain kind of formality that's not present in the operas. (Not so with a masque like Acis and Galatea, which vividly brings the characters to life.) I could easily imagine these as staged dramatic performances - much as Theodora has been presented.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 16, 2009, 09:26:21 AM
Flushed with the success of my experiment with Il Trionfo the other day (i.e. just whamming it into the player and listening to it as I go about my business without even reading beforehand what it's about except in the vaguest terms), I've been trying the same game with this today:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PN2FYWZ6L._SL500_AA208_.jpg)

Well my goodness, I've no idea what the heck is going on, but what crackingly fine music there is here, in amongst all the thunderclaps! This is my first exposure to Minkowski's Handel, and I like it. I like everything about it. Some great tunes, some superwizzo singing, and some very unusual instrumental work going on at times. Noticing that Minkowski's Teseo can be had on Amazon for a mere £14 at the moment, I've immediately responded by ordering one.

Dark Angel - the Amadigi and Teseo are two of the recordings in that supercheap Minkowski box you bought - are you enjoying those as much as I am this? (The absurdity here is that by buying the original set I've got the libretto booklet - but haven't done more than merely glance at it so far.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 16, 2009, 10:06:00 AM
Flushed with the success of my experiment with Il Trionfo the other day (i.e. just whamming it into the player and listening to it as I go about my business without even reading beforehand what it's about except in the vaguest terms), I've been trying the same game with this today:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PN2FYWZ6L._SL500_AA208_.jpg)

Well my goodness, I've no idea what the heck is going on, but what crackingly fine music there is here, in amongst all the thunderclaps! This is my first exposure to Minkowski's Handel, and I like it. I like everything about it. Some great tunes, some superwizzo singing, and some very unusual instrumental work going on at times. Noticing that Minkowski's Teseo can be had on Amazon for a mere £14 at the moment, I've immediately responded by ordering one.

Dark Angel - the Amadigi and Teseo are two of the recordings in that supercheap Minkowski box you bought - are you enjoying those as much as I am this? (The absurdity here is that by buying the original set I've got the libretto booklet - but haven't done more than merely glance at it so far.)

I haven't listened yet, but yes those are the same versions as in the super cheap 6 CD Handel Minkowski boxset I just purchased for $16 at Amazon! I think it will turn out to be a wise investment  

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31O1Ubse5PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 16, 2009, 11:17:23 AM
I haven't listened yet, but yes those are the same versions as in the super cheap 6 CD Handel Minkowski boxset I just purchased for $16 at Amazon!

If you get a spare couple of minutes, take the second CD of Amadigi and give a spin to track 13 ('Tu mia speranza' in Act 2). The long driving bass notes and the jabbing higher strings produce a strange effect that I don't believe I've ever heard before in Handel - the whole thing sounds surprisingly 'modern' in fact. Or is it just me?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 16, 2009, 11:35:04 AM
If you get a spare couple of minutes, take the second CD of Amadigi and give a spin to track 13 ('Tu mia speranza' in Act 2). The long driving bass notes and the jabbing higher strings produce a strange effect that I don't believe I've ever heard before in Handel - the whole thing sounds surprisingly 'modern' in fact. Or is it just me?

Sorry But I am one of the few people in USA that still must work for a living, so I will have to check that later tonight at home.

I have resolved the Curtis/Virgin Handel boxset purchase with minimal damage to my funds  :D

I placed order with Crotchet UK (no VAT for USA) for 31.91 pounds = $52.65 dollars
Shipping to USA is only a few extra dollars since they charge the same rate for boxset as single CD
And finally I can sell my new Radamisto opera set at Amazon for $20 used

So the boxset will only cost me an extra $36 total, life is good.........

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 16, 2009, 12:35:04 PM
So the boxset will only cost me an extra $36 total, life is good.........

Good for you! You know it makes sense ....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 16, 2009, 04:27:04 PM
I haven't listened yet, but yes those are the same versions as in the super cheap 6 CD Handel Minkowski boxset I just purchased for $16 at Amazon! I think it will turn out to be a wise investment  

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31O1Ubse5PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


WarnerMusic has offered many box sets at very attractive prices.  I bought one set by Les Arts Florissants/Christe - Alcina & Orlando ...

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 16, 2009, 05:30:24 PM
If you get a spare couple of minutes, take the second CD of Amadigi and give a spin to track 13 ('Tu mia speranza' in Act 2). The long driving bass notes and the jabbing higher strings produce a strange effect that I don't believe I've ever heard before in Handel - the whole thing sounds surprisingly 'modern' in fact. Or is it just me?

Yes I hear this same sound in numerous tracks............I suspect it is from various size theorbo as noted in booklet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorba)

Perhaps Minkowski is using artistic liscense in various places, do you hear those distant reverberant vocals as in a far away choir loft on track 26 act III "han penetrato i detti", I noted some other unusual sounds throughout.......no problem sounds great to me

I also noted prominent woodwinds throughout and several orchestral sections reminded me of Water Music, checked dates and opera Amadigi 1715 very close to Water Music 1717............I suspect Handel recycled some ideas from Amadigi to use in Water Music.

I really liked the Minkowski Amadigi overall, so far having a hard time finding any Handel opera I do not like  :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 16, 2009, 05:39:09 PM
Yes I hear this same sound in numerous tracks............I suspect it is from various size theorbo as noted in booklet
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorba (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theorba)

I also noted prominent woodwinds throughout and several orchestral sections reminded me of Water Music, checked dates and opera Amadigi 1715 very close to Water Music 1717............I suspect Handel recycled some ideas from Amadigi to use in Water Music.

I really liked the Minkowski Amadigi overall, so far having a hard time finding any Handel opera I do not like  :D

Are you familiar with MDT?  If so, how does it compare with Crotchet UK?  Shopping in the UK has become much less attractive these days as the Pound has gone up some 15% against the Dollar over the past few weeks.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 16, 2009, 05:46:55 PM
Are you familiar with MDT?  If so, how does it compare with Crotchet UK?  Shopping in the UK has become much less attractive these days as the Pound has gone up some 15% against the Dollar over the past few weeks.

I only have used Presto and Crotchet in UK...........the key is what do they charge for shipping to USA?
Presto is very reasonable and Crotchet ships any boxset for same price as 1CD

That price at Crotchet of 31.91 pounds for USA is lowest I have found anywhere for Curtis/Virgin boxset, much lower that any seller at Amazon USA
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 16, 2009, 05:58:28 PM
I only have used Presto and Crotchet in UK...........the key is what do they charge for shipping to USA?
Presto is very reasonable and Crotchet ships any boxset for same price as 1CD

That price at Crotchet of 31.91 pounds for USA is lowest I have found anywhere for Curtis/Virgin boxset, much lower that any seller at Amazon USA


I paid a little over £24 in S&H when I ordered the mammoth 60-CD Harnoncourt Bach Cantatas set plus 2 other CD's.  That is close to $40 at current exchange rate and is the most I have ever paid for CD S&H.  But this has to do with the dollar or pound value of the shipment.  I received that order in 2 days (a record time) after it was shipped.  It arrived on a Saturday and I actually had to sign for it.  The only MDT order I have received that required a signature.  Supposedly, MDT charges 75 pence per CD but I have never really done the exact calculation.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 16, 2009, 06:07:02 PM
Just to clarify at Crotchet............boxset (up to 10 CDs) ships same price as 1CD
Since Curtis set is 16 discs costs more than 1CD shipping cost, but still a great deal
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 16, 2009, 09:57:58 PM
Yes I hear this same sound in numerous tracks............I suspect it is from various size theorbo as noted in booklet

It wasn't just the sound, as such, that surprised me, but the particular kind of harmonies, coupled with that rhythmic, pulsing effect (very fresh and exciting) - I don't know how else to describe it, but I know I haven't heard it elsewhere. (That probably just tells you how little I know!)

Quote
I really liked the Minkowski Amadigi overall, so far having a hard time finding any Handel opera I do not like  :D

Same for me. The real shock would be finding one I disliked.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 17, 2009, 07:05:56 AM
I only have one Handel DVD currently:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51T0CVE57KL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29B1YR8yBA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29B1YR8yBA)

I have not sat down and watched every minute but my initial quick 20 minute chapter scan indicates I will be keeping this performance.

I was going to buy that Rousset Serse, as I threatened a couple of days ago, but now I'm dithering, wondering about this alternative:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31udd2l4-mL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The reason for this is that the Rousset looks rather dark, cold and grey - in fact very much like the Curtis Ariodante DVD, which I bought recently (and which also features Hallenberg). The ENO Serse, on the other hand, is visually very different, and I'm inclined to go with that. Anyone have any thoughts?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 18, 2009, 04:55:05 AM
I was going to buy that Rousset Serse, as I threatened a couple of days ago, but now I'm dithering, wondering about this alternative:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31udd2l4-mL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The reason for this is that the Rousset looks rather dark, cold and grey - in fact very much like the Curtis Ariodante DVD, which I bought recently (and which also features Hallenberg). The ENO Serse, on the other hand, is visually very different, and I'm inclined to go with that. Anyone have any thoughts?

Could be a worthy choice, was checking some youtube vids and first thing you notice is opera is in english......
Perhaps Xerxes/Serse is just not as great as Cesare for DVD performance?

I also stumbled upon our little angel Danielle de Niese in a new 2009 ROH production of Acis and Galatea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc0Slt12Mx4&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc0Slt12Mx4&feature=related)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 18, 2009, 06:39:19 AM
I also stumbled upon our little angel Danielle de Niese in a new 2009 ROH production of Acis and Galatea
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc0Slt12Mx4&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cc0Slt12Mx4&feature=related)

Thanks for this. There are a lot more clips on youtube, I see. Fabulous. Apparently this Royal Opera House double bill of Dido & Aeneas (with Sarah Connolly) and this Acis & Galatea are due for release on DVD later in the year.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 19, 2009, 10:54:55 AM
I'm actually being a bit silly, and far too casual with my Handel backlog. I was doing some jobs this afternoon, rummaged around in the backlog heap, and popped this in the player to keep me company:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2BMY2QQ3QL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Well, really. I wasn't really listening properly, but had to keep stopping what I was doing because the music was demanding all my attention. Some fabulous singing by Natalie Dessay in this, and some pretty famous tunes too.

I suspect you have a really great version there, our friends at Naive/Opus 111 have released some great recordings in new value price series including a great Trionfo: (better than the Minkowski version in 6 CD set above)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YqWlfQ7PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Rinaldo Alessandrini conducts a sparkling performance with Deborah York, Gemma Bertagnolli, Sara Mingardo
Sound quality could hardly be better, listening as I type........Handel seems to be an endless goldmine of opera/oratorio  ;)


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 20, 2009, 09:03:22 AM
Elgarian
Did your Handel Cesare DVD set come with a booklet included?
I received my used set but no booklet was inside  >:(

Still waitng for the big Curtis/Virgin boxset to arrive from UK..........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2009, 11:29:21 AM
Elgarian
Did your Handel Cesare DVD set come with a booklet included?
I received my used set but no booklet was inside  >:(

How annoying. Yes, there's a 16/18-ish page booklet with photos, a 4-page essay (in various languages), and chapter listings. I'd be inclined to contact the seller about it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2009, 11:31:05 AM
Quote
author=DarkAngel link=topic=2077.msg322767#msg322767 date=1245441295]
our friends at Naive/Opus 111 have released some great recordings in new value price series including a great Trionfo: (better than the Minkowski version in 6 CD set above)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51YqWlfQ7PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Rinaldo Alessandrini conducts a sparkling performance with Deborah York, Gemma Bertagnolli, Sara Mingardo
Sound quality could hardly be better, listening as I type

That sounds like good news - do these cheap versions come with full documentation, libretto, translation etc?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 20, 2009, 12:07:40 PM
That sounds like good news - do these cheap versions come with full documentation, libretto, translation etc?

The Naive 2CD "Trionfo" booklet has libretto in 3 languages including English, cardboard slipcover
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2009, 12:15:28 PM
I've been listening to this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DHX2MH2EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

It's pleasant enough, and quite interesting, and yet I don't feel comfortable about it. I don't know whether this is just a matter of personal preference, but often I don't feel that two voices are very well matched. The opening pair (Dessay & Gens) don't seem to these ears to complement each other particularly well. The following pair (Claycomb & Panzarella) seem a little more satisfactory, but only when the next pair begin (Petibon & Agnew) do I find myself thinking, yes - this is OK. So we have all these stars, but something doesn't quite seem to be working as I might have hoped. Also - I'm not a great judge of this, I'm sure, so this may be my incompetent listening - but sometimes the accompaniment seems not to be integrated as well as I'd expect. So in 'Ma se mendace e vana', for instance, the organ plods (and I mean plods) along too loudly, to the extent that I want it to stop so I can just listening to the singing without the booming distraction.

The closest I get to shivers up the spine is with the lovely 'Ma se l'alma sempre geme' (Claycomb & Mingardo), but even there I have reservations. When I think of the brilliant couplings I've heard from time to time - for example, Patricia Petibon & Sophie Daneman, or Didonato & Ciofi, (two pairings where the singers seem to read each other exquisitely well) these varied combinations don't seem quite to match up.

So - interesting, full of star performers, and pleasant enough - but a bit short on star performances, and short on kicks, for me.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 20, 2009, 03:40:43 PM
The Naive 2CD "Trionfo" booklet has libretto in 3 languages including English, cardboard slipcover
 

Here is the version I recently bought.  The work was actually not conducted by Robert King and I have not quite decided if I actually like the performance ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41li5d2l9QL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 20, 2009, 03:44:58 PM
How annoying. Yes, there's a 16/18-ish page booklet with photos, a 4-page essay (in various languages), and chapter listings. I'd be inclined to contact the seller about it.

It is annoying that the seller did not say he did not have the booklet. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 20, 2009, 10:13:32 PM
Elgarian,

Re: Handel Arcadian Duets:

I agree. I bought this on the basis of the reviews. But instead of a recital or a concert, it feels like a ragbag of pieces performed by anyone who had time to drop by. I agree the voices are not well matched.

It  very much falls down when compared to other discs of duets that have been discussed on the site over the last few weeks, especially the Ciofi/Di Donato one. I add now: 'Il Duetto Amoroso' on the Helos label. Gillian Fisher, Patricia Kwella and Catherine Denley in three meaty  Italian duologue cantatas. It dates from 1984 with a HIP ensemble from the time. Delightful music, nicely performed. Handel being an inveterate borrower from himself, you will recognise some of the music in other subsequent pieces.

Mike

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 20, 2009, 11:50:45 PM
Re: Handel Arcadian Duets:

I agree. I bought this on the basis of the reviews. But instead of a recital or a concert, it feels like a ragbag of pieces performed by anyone who had time to drop by. I agree the voices are not well matched.

It's quite a relief to read your comments, Mike - I found myself thinking, "Look at the names involved in this disc, for Pete's sake! What's wrong with me?" But this isn't about 'stars', it's about coherence - about art consisting of interconnecting components, each fitting in in such a way as to make allowance for all the other components; and that's what seems to be lacking here.

Quote
It  very much falls down when compared to other discs of duets that have been discussed on the site over the last few weeks, especially the Ciofi/Di Donato one. I add now: 'Il Duetto Amoroso' on the Helos label. Gillian Fisher, Patricia Kwella and Catherine Denley in three meaty  Italian duologue cantatas. It dates from 1984 with a HIP ensemble from the time. Delightful music, nicely performed. Handel being an inveterate borrower from himself, you will recognise some of the music in other subsequent pieces.

I have that Fisher/Kwella/Denley recording, and I agree with you. It's delectable stuff, and shows the way. I expect you know the lovely companion disc with Fisher & Kwella also on Helios (Aminta e Fillide)? Of course we're not being fair to compare a motley collection of duets with complete cantatas, but even so the issue of complementary voices still counts.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 21, 2009, 12:41:10 AM
Aminta e Fillide........a new one on me. I will have a little look for it.

Thanks,

Mike

Edit: Now ordered, second hand, so very low price. I imagine you part rags with me over my recent pattern of buying. I have been deliberately widening the number of Bach Cantatas I have, mainly Gardiner, but only when I can find them at very good prices. I have about 100 of them now, though many are duplicated, some multiples.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 21, 2009, 12:56:18 AM
I imagine you part rags with me over my recent pattern of buying. I have been deliberately widening the number of Bach Cantatas I have, mainly Gardiner, but only when I can find them at very good prices. I have about 100 of them now, though many are duplicated, some multiples.

Heck Mike, I lost three fillings just reading this....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 21, 2009, 01:15:36 AM
The thing about classical music is quantity. I have been buying and exploring classical music over 10 years now and I don't really know Handel yet. I have:

Acis and Galatea (Naxos)
Athalia (Naxos)
Belshazzar (Pinnock/Archiv)
Deborah (Naxos)
Giulio Cesare (excepts) (Jacobs/HM)
Giulio Cesare (Christie/Opus Arte DVD)
Hercules (Minkowski/Archiv)
Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (Naxos)
Saul (Naxos)
Semele (Christie/Decca DVD)
Susanna (McGegan/HM) <= that one cost me 63 euros!  :o
The Messiah (Naxos)
The Messiah (Solti/Decca)

Hearing the aria "Where'er You Walk" few days ago for the first time in my life on Semele DVD made me understand how much there is brilliant Handel I don't have a clue about. People are well-protected against good music. I was able to live almost 40 years on this planet without hearing that brilliant aria anywhere! I am really into Handel opera DVDs now. Other music will be given less attention.

Teseo (Arthous DVD) is ordered and on it's way...  :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 21, 2009, 01:28:50 AM
I have been buying and exploring classical music over 10 years now and I don't really know Handel yet.

It's taken me closer to 40 years to find Handel ....

Speaking of which, I've been watching this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tjP3aXlGL.AA240_.jpg)

I love this opera (I have the marvellous McGegan set on CD), but this is so, so disappointing. The sets are dark and dull. The performances generally lacklustre. Apart from one or two characters (eg Dalinda) the acting is simply dreadful; I mean seriously awful - like a bad school play. I'm watching it in 20-minutes stretches because after 20 minutes I start to feel miserable. I may even give up on it, because it's possibly damaging the images I've constructed in my imagination listening to the CDs.

This exemplifies why I'm not an 'opera on DVD' enthusiast. When they're bad, they're very, very bad. And this is bad.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 21, 2009, 02:23:09 AM
This exemplifies why I'm not an 'opera on DVD' enthusiast. When they're bad, they're very, very bad. And this is bad.

Maybe but I'm not even interested about the libretto without seeing it in action. That's why I get 20 times more watching operas on DVD compared to listening to them on CD. Lacklustre acting is better then no acting at all. I have realised that I enjoy singing more when I actually see the singer. I am an audiovisual person. That DVD is btw in my wishlist.  ;D

Whether you like the sets or not is a matter of taste. I have seen the same opera DVD getting both 1 and 5 stars ratings.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 21, 2009, 02:47:08 AM
Heck Mike, I lost three fillings just reading this....


I can give you the name of a good dentist.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 21, 2009, 03:16:13 AM
The thing about classical music is quantity. I have been buying and exploring classical music over 10 years now and I don't really know Handel yet. I have:

Acis and Galatea (Naxos)
Athalia (Naxos)
Belshazzar (Pinnock/Archiv)
Deborah (Naxos)
Giulio Cesare (excepts) (Jacobs/HM)
Giulio Cesare (Christie/Opus Arte DVD)
Hercules (Minkowski/Archiv)
Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità (Naxos)
Saul (Naxos)
Semele (Christie/Decca DVD)
Susanna (McGegan/HM) <= that one cost me 63 euros!  :o
The Messiah (Naxos)
The Messiah (Solti/Decca)

Hearing the aria "Where'er You Walk" few days ago for the first time in my life on Semele DVD made me understand how much there is brilliant Handel I don't have a clue about. People are well-protected against good music. I was able to live almost 40 years on this planet without hearing that brilliant aria anywhere! I am really into Handel opera DVDs now. Other music will be given less attention.

Teseo (Arthous DVD) is ordered and on it's way...  :)

I never knew Naxos has a decent selection of Handel oratorios/operas.  But I generally do not like its rosters of artists that much ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 21, 2009, 04:11:07 AM
Edit: Now ordered, second hand, so very low price. I imagine you part rags with me over my recent pattern of buying. I have been deliberately widening the number of Bach Cantatas I have, mainly Gardiner, but only when I can find them at very good prices. I have about 100 of them now, though many are duplicated, some multiples.

I have never been that impressed with Bach cantatas, I have tried many times over 20+ years to get into them but they just seem a bit bland after extended listening.......the good news is that allows me more money/time to spend on Handel/Vivaldi vocal works which seem endlessly exciting by comparison. I wonder how many people have 60 CD Bach cantata sets that have never listened to all cds  ;D

The missing booklet for used opera sets is an all too common occurance with Amazon sellers, because I have been buying massive amounts of opera sets I started a thread here recently to complain about it  >:(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on June 21, 2009, 04:29:14 AM
Well to each their own.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 21, 2009, 04:43:38 AM
I have never been that impressed with Bach cantatas, I have tried many times over 20+ years to get into them but they just seem a bit bland after extended listening.......the good news is that allows me more money/time to spend on Handel/Vivaldi vocal works which seem endlessly exciting by comparison. I wonder how many people have 60 CD Bach cantata sets that have never listened to all cds  ;D

The missing booklet for used opera sets is an all too common occurance with Amazon sellers, because I have been buying massive amounts of opera sets I started a thread here recently to complain about it  >:(

But St Matthew Passion is in a league by itself.  I have 12 versions of that work between LP's and CD's ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 21, 2009, 07:14:19 AM
I am an audiovisual person.

Yes, I'm very sensitive to the visual myself. The difficulty arises when what you actually see is significantly less interesting than what is imagined. There was a discussion about this somewhere else recently, where someone (it might have been DavidRoss) was explaining that the opera one imagines when listening is itself an imagined visual experience; and that these problems are less acute at a real live operformance because there are all sorts of other factors - the buzz in the air, the sense of presence, and so on.

As you say, this is a very personal decision. But even so, in terms of acting, costumes, choreographed movements on stage, and quality of sung performance, I think there's an enormous gulf between this Ariodante production and, say, the famous Giuilio Cesare Glyndebourne DVD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 22, 2009, 08:32:42 AM
Yesterday I watched Ingmar Bergman's Trollflöjten on TV. It was the first time I saw any kind of performance of a Mozart opera. It was funny to hear Mozart sung in Swedish.  ;D

The difficulty arises when what you actually see is significantly less interesting than what is imagined.

That's why I imagine things that nobody will ever do (e.g. hyperhorror). Why imagine operas when people actually produce them?


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 22, 2009, 10:20:35 AM
So the boxset will only cost me an extra $36 total, life is good.........

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

My boxset arrived today from UK, beautiful heavy box with hinged top opens to reveal 15 CDs in cardboard sleeve, each opera has different photo of bare tree on sleeve and list of singers. There is a booklet but only has enhanced track listing for all Cds, does not have plot synopsis or libretto.

There is an info CD that displays nice graphic interface menu for viewing each operas full info in PDF format, if you listen to music through computer you have it made in the shade. Otherwise a cumbersome way to access info, I refuse to print out info on full pages and somehow try to keep that with CD boxset and not look messy. Perhaps if you have a laptop you can view info while in your listening chair and make do quite well.

Still for the price this will turn out to be one of my better music investments....... :)

Elgarian do you have any misgivings with your purchase?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 22, 2009, 12:00:55 PM
Elgarian do you have any misgivings with your purchase?

No, not at all. It's a lovely thing in its own right, and I can share your pleasure in it gladly. Sure, the libretto business is a pain, but I'm not going to let that bother me.

On the other hand, DA - I still haven't listened to any of them yet. One reason is this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31iH2BOCeqL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

These Italian cantatas are so delightfully more-ish that I tend to find myself choosing to listen to them more often than anything else. On this CD, for example - the second in the Glossa series - there's a delectable thing called Notte placida e cheta which I think I could happily listen to on a daily basis. There's nothing very profound about it - just some young chap enchanted by a gentle breeze and dreaming about his love - but the first aria (there are four) is simply exquisite, perfectly matching the subject matter; and throughout, the singing of Emanuella Galli seems perfectly tuned to the mood of the piece. It all seems faultless to me, and one of those things that makes you glad to be alive and able to listen to it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 22, 2009, 05:02:13 PM
Elgarian
I have not forgotten about those Glossa label Italian Cantatas.......
but my stack of new opera & oratorio CD sets is large and demands my attention (for now)

Seems Presto UK has best price for USA buyers like me........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 22, 2009, 10:23:11 PM
but my stack of new opera & oratorio CD sets is large and demands my attention (for now)

I understand. It's one heck of a job, but someone's got to do it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 23, 2009, 06:28:26 AM
Meanwhile ... I am still plodding my way through this horrible production:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41tjP3aXlGL.AA240_.jpg)

Watching and listening to this, close to terminal boredom, even though limiting myself to 20-minute stretches, I have great difficulty in believing that Ariodante is one of my favourite Handel operas. I'm now halfway through, determined to reach the end, having paid serious money for it. It's become a matter of personal pride, like climbing a mountain or reaching the south pole. But oh, golly. The costumes are so unappealling - so ill-fitting. Ariodante looks ridiculous in a uniform that seems to have been designed to fit someone else. The acting is so wooden that I can't summon any sympathy for anyone, except Dalinda who actually sings beautifully and behaves like a human being. I haven't seen the other version by English National Opera, but surely it can't be worse than this.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 23, 2009, 08:18:08 AM
Meanwhile ... I am still plodding my way through this horrible production:

Well, 20 minutes every day will take you there in a week or so.  0:)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 23, 2009, 09:38:34 AM
I have never been that impressed with Bach cantatas, I have tried many times over 20+ years to get into them but they just seem a bit bland after extended listening.......the good news is that allows me more money/time to spend on Handel/Vivaldi vocal works which seem endlessly exciting by comparison.

Listening to Vivaldi is about as exciting as watching a cricket jump around the house. :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 23, 2009, 09:39:32 AM
Well, 20 minutes every day will take you there in a week or so.  0:)

For those comforting words, I thank you; though alas, the end lies further off than that because I won't be able to get in my 20 minute shifts during the next couple of days. Still, I need the break...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Brewski on June 23, 2009, 09:49:05 AM
Listening to Vivaldi is about as exciting as watching a cricket jump around the house. :D

 ;D  ;D  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 23, 2009, 10:08:29 AM
Watching and listening to this, close to terminal boredom, even though limiting myself to 20-minute stretches, I have great difficulty in believing that Ariodante is one of my favourite Handel operas. I'm now halfway through, determined to reach the end, having paid serious money for it. It's become a matter of personal pride, like climbing a mountain or reaching the south pole. But oh, golly. The costumes are so unappealling - so ill-fitting. Ariodante looks ridiculous in a uniform that seems to have been designed to fit someone else. The acting is so wooden that I can't summon any sympathy for anyone, except Dalinda who actually sings beautifully and behaves like a human being. I haven't seen the other version by English National Opera, but surely it can't be worse than this.

Don't suffer needlessly, cut your losses, admit your mistake and move to greener pastures.........

For long opera DVDs I try to pre-screen them as much as possible with youtube clips before actually buying
Then after DVD is purchased I do a quick preliminary viewing by watching segments of each DVD chapter and see if I have a "keeper" or a disappointment. If it passes these tests then full viewing is done and enters into permanent collection, life is too short to be consumed by boring opera DVDs

After about 40-50 opera DVD purchases I have sold 30% of them and only kept the best as worthy of repeated viewings and remain in the permanent collection. Fortunately most opera DVDs have good used resale value.......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 23, 2009, 10:18:59 AM
Don't suffer needlessly, cut your losses, admit your mistake and move to greener pastures.........

Well, at least I'm getting a break. I'm off to see Manon tomorrow night.

Quote
For long opera DVDs I try to pre-screen them as much as possible with youtube clips before actually buying
Then after DVD is purchased I do a quick preliminary viewing by watching segments of each DVD chapter and see if I have a "keeper" or a disappointment. If it passes these tests then full viewing is done and enters into permanent collection, life is too short to be consumed by boring opera DVDs

This is all very sensible. I did watch some Youtube bits beforehand, but somehow it seemed to look and sound so much better in small 5-minute snatches ...

I'll see what happens when I tackle it again after the break!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Lethevich on June 23, 2009, 12:16:15 PM
I'd just like to quickly say what a good read this thread is continuing to be. I can't really contribute, but thanks!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 23, 2009, 12:23:21 PM
I can't really contribute

You could watch the rest of my Ariodante DVD for me, if you like.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 25, 2009, 04:37:50 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513FAFA7ZGL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31NDBGWGZ3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I just recently had both of these Solomons in house and after listening to both I decided to go with the Gardiner.
One advantage for Gardiner his version fits on 2CD vs 3CD for McCreesh, but even without cost considerations I prefer
Gardiner overall. I am a big McCreesh fan and have his Theodora and Messiah, but this is one of Gardiners best Handel oratorio performances and singers sound slightly more inspired and orchestral work a bit more dramatic.

I would have been happy with McCreesh, but given the choice I took Gardiner........the McCressh sold very quickly at Amazon  :D

Anyone have a favorite Solomon they can comment on............
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 25, 2009, 04:47:42 AM
My Handel new arrivals include:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CV1J731AL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DCCMNSEBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4107994NSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41ESV0W6XEL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


And of course the Curtis boxset:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 25, 2009, 04:54:11 AM
You could watch the rest of my Ariodante DVD for me, if you like.

It is time to move on to the Curtis boxset........
Unfortunately any potential customers here for used Ariodante DVD have been scared off  >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 25, 2009, 04:43:58 PM
My Handel new arrivals include:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CV1J731AL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

And of course the Curtis boxset:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

These two sets should be nice.  I have never liked Renee Jacobs much.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on June 25, 2009, 07:25:37 PM
These two sets should be nice.  I have never liked René Jacobs much.

As a singer, as a conductor, or both?

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 26, 2009, 12:00:49 AM
It is time to move on to the Curtis boxset........

You're right, although having just been swept away by Scottish Opera's fabulous production of Manon, I may be in for a swing back to my Massenet CD sets in the immediate future.

Quote
Unfortunately any potential customers here for used Ariodante DVD have been scared off  >:D

I was only kidding. It really is very good ... honestly ...  :'(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 26, 2009, 09:06:07 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31axCNXrDdL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41G2QFBT0HL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Interesting to compare the early Italian version of Acis & Galatea by Haim/Virgin to the later expanded English 2 act pastoral opera version by Christie/Erato.

For a few reasons I prefer the early version
-I almost always prefer the sound of vocals in Italian vs English
-Haim uses two females Piau/Mingardo as the lovers Acis/Galatea, Christie uses male/female couple with Agnew/Sophie Daneman
the female version seems more beautiful and more interesting interplay of voices, more ornamentation vocally
Haim uses baritone for Polyphemus providing large contrast to two women lovers, Christie version has tenor
-the early version is slightly faster more dramatic tempo compared to the "pastoral" tempo of later version

Anyone else compared these two and have some thoughts?



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 26, 2009, 10:45:45 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31axCNXrDdL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41G2QFBT0HL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

For a few reasons I prefer the early version
-I almost always prefer the sound of vocals in Italian vs English
-Haim uses two females Piau/Mingardo as the lovers Acis/Galatea, Christie uses male/female couple with Agnew/Sophie Daneman
the female version seems more beautiful and more interesting interplay of voices, more ornamentation vocally
Haim uses baritone for Polyphemus providing large contrast to two women lovers, Christie version has tenor
-the early version is slightly faster more dramatic tempo compared to the "pastoral" tempo of later version

Anyone else compared these two and have some thoughts?

I can't comment comparatively in the way you asked, but certainly I can comment. I stumbled across Christie's Acis and Galatea primarily because it was Christie + Daneman + Petibon - a combination I'd grown to love through their French baroque recordings and particularly because the Daneman/Petibon pairing seemed made in Heaven. Their version of Acis was quite a revelation - it was the first major 'Arcadian' Handel work I'd heard, and I loved everything about it, playing it over and over. So I really am quite devoted to the Christie recording you have there.

However, I was unaware that there existed another version with a female Acis, and I can imagine that such a combination could be very beautiful, as you say. So at this point all I can really say is thank you for pointing me towards this alternative, which I think I shall have to try. This, plus the Italian instead of English, must make them very different works.

Oh but wait! I've just realised that I've completely misunderstood the relation between these two - and that A, G and P is really a very different creature in conception (as a small-scale cantata) to the later A and G masque (very nearly an opera). So this is merely to acknowledge my error; however, the fact still stands that I need to know both.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 26, 2009, 12:02:02 PM
Yes you have it.................the original early 1708 version was a very long Italian cantata (requires 2Cds at 99 minutes)
Handel later used same story to create the 2 act English language "pastoral" opera....the Christie/Erato version, very confusing

Did you know that Emanuelle Haim is a very attractive female conductor........what a lovely female trio of artists Haim/Piau/Mingardo

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Bio-BIG/Haim-Emmanuelle-13.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Haim-Emmanuelle-2.htm&usg=__3GxPJu64VSpmOzBh6yOlz6QsrQ0=&h=385&w=569&sz=50&hl=en&start=12&um=1&tbnid=Ry8T05Iv-S4-_M:&tbnh=91&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3Demmanuelle%2Bhaim%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7ADBF%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1 (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Pic-Bio-BIG/Haim-Emmanuelle-13.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Bio/Haim-Emmanuelle-2.htm&usg=__3GxPJu64VSpmOzBh6yOlz6QsrQ0=&h=385&w=569&sz=50&hl=en&start=12&um=1&tbnid=Ry8T05Iv-S4-_M:&tbnh=91&tbnw=134&prev=/images%3Fq%3Demmanuelle%2Bhaim%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7ADBF%26sa%3DX%26um%3D1)


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 26, 2009, 12:26:51 PM
Did you know that Emanuelle Haim is a very attractive female conductor........what a lovely female trio of artists Haim/Piau/Mingardo

Indeed I did. I have her excellent Il Trionfo, and also her (rather disappointing) recording of Handel Arcadian Duets with a collection of ill-assorted stars (reported on earlier in this thread).

On the whole, I'm still in the 'getting to know you' stage with Piau and Mingardo. Piau is flawless and a tremendous virtuoso performer, but I've yet to be moved much by her singing. Her acclaimed collection of Handel arias leaves me admiring the skill, but not really loving the music. Mingardo sounds rather stern and masculine - again, I don't immediately warm to her. I'm still trying to become fond of their recently released collection of Handel duets and arias, and making a little progress, I think ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on June 26, 2009, 11:49:16 PM
Teseo DVD didn't arrive fast enough for this weekend. Damn!  :-\
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 27, 2009, 01:23:31 AM
Teseo DVD didn't arrive fast enough for this weekend. Damn!

"I weep for you," the Walrus said:
"I deeply sympathize."
He watched the postman walk away
With heartfelt sobs and sighs,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 27, 2009, 07:58:41 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31W7M9KWAkL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

It is time to move on to the Curtis boxset........

OK. Lunchtime. Sitting by the window looking out into the garden. Toasted tuna sandwiches. A really great cup of coffee. Plums and oranges. And, extracted from the Curtis box almost at random, the first act of Radamisto. I have no idea of the plot; couldn't be bothered to go through all that computer nonsense with pdfs and the like, beforehand; so I just listened to it as a piece of music, with the tracklisting in front of me so I could tell who was singing when.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, and apologising in advance that sometimes it's necessary to use technical language in order adequately to express one's meaning, I would like to say that this is absolutely bloomin' marvellous. The cast is stellar - Dominique Labelle, Patrizia Ciofi, and Joyce DiDonato, just for starters - and they sound like stars, by golly. I'll be interested to hear what you think, DA, but if you're disappointed with this then I'll ... I'll ... well, I'll eat my pdf libretto CD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 27, 2009, 08:56:57 AM
Elgarian
I mentioned a couple pages back how after listening to the same Curtis/Virgin Radamisto I became convinced that I must have the entire Curtis boxset........ :D
I was able to sell Radamisto quickly used for a great price so the boxset cost me very little really. A great performance with excellent balanced sound, I don't think all 6 operas will match that same high standard but I think I (we) made a wise purchase!

Previously to that I purchased my first Curtis/Archiv opera with Handel Alcina which I mentioned very favorably here.
Rod quickly reminded me I made a mistake not getting the Christie/Erato set  >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 27, 2009, 10:06:26 AM
OK. Lunchtime. Sitting by the window looking out into the garden. Toasted tuna sandwiches. A really great cup of coffee. Plums and oranges. And, extracted from the Curtis box almost at random, the first act of Radamisto. I have no idea of the plot; couldn't be bothered to go through all that computer nonsense with pdfs and the like, beforehand; so I just listened to it as a piece of music, with the tracklisting in front of me so I could tell who was singing when.

Well, not to put too fine a point on it, and apologising in advance that sometimes it's necessary to use technical language in order adequately to express one's meaning, I would like to say that this is absolutely bloomin' marvellous. The cast is stellar - Dominique Labelle, Patrizia Ciofi, and Joyce DiDonato, just for starters - and they sound like stars, by golly. I'll be interested to hear what you think, DA, but if you're disappointed with this then I'll ... I'll ... well, I'll eat my pdf libretto CD.

So this big box of Alan Curtis's Handel is really that good?  Who on the web offers the best deal?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 27, 2009, 10:40:40 AM
So this big box of Alan Curtis's Handel is really that good?

Careful! Remember I've only listened to 1 CD (well, actually, two - because I've listened to the second act of Radamisto now also, which continues to be fabulously delectable). As DA says, we don't know whether the rest will live up to this standard. But even so I'm optimistic, I must say. As they point out at PrestoClassical: "No less than three of these operatic recordings have won the International Handel Recording Prize: Arminio in 2002, Deidamia in 2004 and Radamisto in 2006." It costs £45 at Presto, £39 at MDT.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 27, 2009, 10:44:19 AM
I mentioned a couple pages back how after listening to the same Curtis/Virgin Radamisto I became convinced that I must have the entire Curtis boxset........ :D

Of course you're right. Sorry, I'd forgotten which one it was you'd already got. Well anyway, we're off to a great start!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 27, 2009, 01:19:37 PM
While I am only a third of the way listening through this CD and jump around a bit, I am not convinced it is a worthy challenger to the much older recording by Christopher Hogwood and Emma Kirkby.  This CD just does not have that very melodious flow which is so characteristic of the Hogwood's CD.  While the two CD's only have the selections Tra le Fiamme (Il consiglio), cantata, HWV 170 in common, Kozena seems to force it a little at certain passage while Emma just got it right in the most natural way.  To be sure, Kozena is a much more attractive woman than Kirkby, her singing is still no match for the latter IMO.  I also do not think Les Musiciens du Lourvre is a better ensemble than the AAM under Hogwood.  AAM with Catherine MacIntosh and Monica Huggett in its rank just kicked ass ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 27, 2009, 10:36:28 PM
While I am only a third of the way listening through this CD and jump around a bit, I am not convinced it is a worthy challenger to the much older recording by Christopher Hogwood and Emma Kirkby.  This CD just does not have that very melodious flow which is so characteristic of the Hogwood's CD.  While the two CD's only have the selections Tra le Fiamme (Il consiglio), cantata, HWV 170 in common, Kozena seems to force it a little at certain passage while Emma just got it right in the most natural way.  To be sure, Kozena is a much more attractive woman than Kirkby, her singing is still no match for the latter IMO.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Interesting you should say this. On the strength of Kozena's collection of Handel arias (which has some truly outstanding performances, I think - perhaps some of the best I know) I too bought this cantatas disc that you have here; and I too am disappointed by it. It does often seem forced, as you say, and becomes quite wearing. I find myself wanting to ask her to relax and let the music come through. I think it predates the arias collection by a few years, and I think a lot of change must have taken place during that time. So I'd recommend that you don't rule Kozena out on the basis of this CD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 28, 2009, 03:10:24 AM
Interesting you should say this. On the strength of Kozena's collection of Handel arias (which has some truly outstanding performances, I think - perhaps some of the best I know) I too bought this cantatas disc that you have here; and I too am disappointed by it. It does often seem forced, as you say, and becomes quite wearing. I find myself wanting to ask her to relax and let the music come through. I think it predates the arias collection by a few years, and I think a lot of change must have taken place during that time. So I'd recommend that you don't rule Kozena out on the basis of this CD.

I will not rule out Kozena on the basis of one CD.  I already had a few Kozena's CD's and found them reasonably good.  But for this particular CD and the selection Tra le Fiamme (Il consiglio), cantata, HWV 170 , not only Emma Kirkby sounded superior, the playing of AAM was also vastly superior to Les Musiciens du Lourvre - more full bodied and articulate.  My last order from MDT also included a few other CD's by Minkowski and Kozena and I shall find out what they are like soon enough.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 28, 2009, 10:58:53 AM
I welcome these more individual and stylish performances by artists like Kozena, Danielle de Neise etc while recognizing they are not for everyone. The further you stray from convention the more feathers will get ruffled........but I would never want to clip the wings of these beautiful elegant song birds

The scathing comments that Danielle de Niese collection gets from many people at Amazon shows how entrenched conventional tastes are in classical music crowd. Of course if she had no singing skill it is understandable, but I think many just don't have an open mind to individual expression

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31eApB094PL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 28, 2009, 11:02:52 AM
I welcome these more individual and stylish performances by artists like Kozena, Danielle de Neise etc while recognizing they are not for everyone. The further you stray from convention the more feathers will get ruffled........but I would never want to clip the wings of these beautiful elegant song birds

The scathing comments that Danielle de Niese collection gets from many people at Amazon shows how entrenched conventional tastes are in classical music crowd. Of course if she had no singing skill it is understandable, but I think many just don't have an open mind to individual expression

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31eApB094PL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)


I know nothing about Danielle de Niese, though I have seen this particular CD getting promoted on a number of websites.  I much prefer to deal with a known quantity like

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510KVIECAwL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 28, 2009, 11:05:49 AM
The scathing comments that Danielle de Niese collection gets from many people at Amazon shows how entrenched conventional tastes are in classical music crowd. Of course if she had no singing skill it is understandable, but I think many just don't have an open mind to individual expression

Indeed. If there were no Danielle, there'd have been no Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare (at least, not in the form we now know it). And then where would we be?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 28, 2009, 11:23:02 AM
I know nothing about Danielle de Niese, though I have seen this particular CD getting promoted on a number of websites.  I much prefer to deal with a known quantity like

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510KVIECAwL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Take a chance on de Niese - be a risk taker.  8)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 28, 2009, 12:44:46 PM
Take a chance on de Niese - be a risk taker.  8)


I live in a time warp and do not always feel like getting the latest.  I drive a Honda, though I know people who are financially less well off than myself driving bimmers or MB's.  It looks like Danielle de Niese is being hailed as the new Kiri Te Kanawa ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 28, 2009, 02:04:52 PM
Indeed. If there were no Danielle, there'd have been no Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare (at least, not in the form we now know it). And then where would we be?

Great point, we would be forced to watch things like:   >:D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512kf6xvLwL._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 28, 2009, 09:56:29 PM
It looks like Danielle de Niese is being hailed as the new Kiri Te Kanawa ...

More like opera's answer to Kylie Minogue, I should think. Coop, when you say you know nothing of her, that suggests you haven't seen the famous Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare DVD - is that so?

Here she is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 28, 2009, 09:58:31 PM
Great point, we would be forced to watch things like:   >:D
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/512kf6xvLwL._SL160_AA115_.jpg)

No! No! Anything but that!  :o
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 29, 2009, 10:32:17 AM
My Handel new arrivals include:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41CV1J731AL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DCCMNSEBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Oratorio update.........

The Minkowski/Archiv Hercules did not wow me too much, I was a bit bored overall to be honest.......
Nothing to do with Minkowski's performance I suspect, I just think I am not going to be a fan of Hercules oratorio in general, some money finally saved  :)

The Jacobs/HM Saul was a dazzling performance by comparison, much more drama and forward momentum to this work
A real spontaneous feel to this with highly detailed sound recording, very impressed with this!
I have Jacobs new Mozart operas also.......this conductor is one of my very favorite for baroque opera so far!

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 29, 2009, 11:34:21 AM
More like opera's answer to Kylie Minogue, I should think. Coop, when you say you know nothing of her, that suggests you haven't seen the famous Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare DVD - is that so?

Here she is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related)

Almost certainly the best Handel opera DVD currently available, check this review with a very good description of Danielle's talents in paragraph 3:

http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=10090 (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=10090)

Danielle de Niese is just impossible to resist........she will surely cost me much money in the future!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on June 29, 2009, 12:05:00 PM


I live in a time warp and do not always feel like getting the latest.  I drive a Honda, though I know people who are financially less well off than myself driving bimmers or MB's. 

I drive a 1988 Honda - the best car I ever had and easily as good as any expensive piece of depreciating junk.  I'll never understand the "status" nonsense about certain vehicles, but it has nothing to do with reliable transporation.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 29, 2009, 12:20:54 PM
Almost certainly the best Handel opera DVD currently available

Let's commit ourselves: Certainly the best Handel opera DVD currently available  ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 29, 2009, 03:09:40 PM
More like opera's answer to Kylie Minogue, I should think. Coop, when you say you know nothing of her, that suggests you haven't seen the famous Glyndebourne Giulio Cesare DVD - is that so?

Here she is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJ-EzvZs94I&feature=related)

The only vocal DVD's I have are the Bach's passions and oratorios.  I also have Colin Davis's Tannhauser ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on June 29, 2009, 04:37:49 PM
The only vocal DVD's I have are the Bach's passions and oratorios.  I also have Colin Davis's Tannhauser ...

Coop you need to dip your toes into the world of Opera DVD......just be careful of the giant sucking sound coming from your wallet   :D

Elgarian
look what will be released 7/14/09

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41v9XC-l98L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Yes our darling Danielle as the seductive Poppea, could be some real fireworks here!
We also get Emanuelle Haim at the podium........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 29, 2009, 05:10:28 PM
Coop you need to dip your toes into the world of Opera DVD......just be careful of the giant sucking sound coming from your wallet   :D


But it looks like only a minority of GMG members are into classical music DVD (including opera) ...   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 30, 2009, 12:47:07 AM
Elgarian
look what will be released 7/14/09

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41v9XC-l98L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Yes our darling Danielle as the seductive Poppea, could be some real fireworks here!
We also get Emanuelle Haim at the podium........

Thanks! Not to be missed!!!!

Don't forget that her Glyndebourne Acis & Galatea will also be on DVD later this year.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on June 30, 2009, 05:53:27 PM
Just finished listening to this CD ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nKchyZzsL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Of the 11 tracks on this CD, I only enjoyed Joshua and Rinaldo.  I think I enjoyed Kozena performing Bach vocal works more so than her Handelian endeavor.  At any rate, among the newer bloods, Karina Gauvin is my favorite for Handel vocal works ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510KVIECAwL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on June 30, 2009, 11:21:12 PM

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41nKchyZzsL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Of the 11 tracks on this CD, I only enjoyed Joshua and Rinaldo.

Gosh - I'm really quite shocked. I think her performances of Scherza Infida and Dopo notte - and also, oh my goodness, 'In Darkness Deep' - on that CD are superb. But then, we all clearly look for different things - I still struggle with Sandrine Piau's Handel CD even though the critics rave about it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 01, 2009, 05:45:55 AM
OK ... these two discs are not directly comparable - the Ciofi/Didonato is a collection of duets; the Mingardo/Piau is a mix of duets and solo arias. But, that said, they have in common the duets 'Caro amico amplesso' from Poro and 'Scherzano sul tuo volto' from Rinaldo, so it's very interesting just switching between these to see how they compare.

I must say at the outset that the Didonato/Ciofi disc is simply fabulous - the voices complement each other beautifully, and the performances pulse with vitality. It's truly thrilling. Well, in my initial comparisons, I don't think the Piau/Mingardo versions quite match up, but they are so different that I hesitate to be too insistent on it. Piau has a very pure soprano voice, very technically perfect. Mingardo's contralto is quite deep, almost masculine - rather hard; a bit severe. So there are two extremes here. By contrast, Didonato's mezzo is softer, more feminine than Mingardo; and Ciofi's soprano is warmer than Piau. So the overall effect when they sing together is very, very different; and truly it's not easy to say which is 'best'.

I don't know if this is too subjective to be useful, but I feel I really must add that whereas Didonato/Ciofi give me shivers and thrills up my spine, Piau/Mingardo, frankly, do not. They're giving virtuoso performances alright, but they seem detached; cool. If I had to walk away with only one of these CDs, I wouldn't hesitate - I'd take the Didonato/Ciofi and leave the Piau/Mingardo behind. But whether it would strike others the same way is hard to know. If you don't have the Didonato/Ciofi disc already, then I'd say get that first, cherish it, revel in it, thrill to it; and then think about the Mingardo/Piau disc later.

Well I placed an order for both of these Handel aria sets: (the baroque diva robots are mine!)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qUVdIdcKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I know that Elgarian was not thrilled with the Piau/Mingardo set, but I really like Piau's style much more so I think this will be right up my alley  :D
I have many baroque operas now with Sandrine and have almost always been quite impressed. These will make nice companions to these CDs which are already in the collection:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51hmnK-B5sL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/310rME9KvbL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 01, 2009, 06:05:33 AM
NO! The baroque diva robots are MINE!!

Seriously, I have all four of those - and for me, the diva robots are easily runaway favourites. Theirs is a wonderful collection of duets, sung with phenomenal commitment, feeling, and coherence - the voices could hardly be more perfectly matched, both in the character of their individual timbres, and in the way they integrate with each other.

Where else can you get artificial lifeforms that sound this good?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 01, 2009, 04:13:23 PM
I still struggle with Sandrine Piau's Handel CD even though the critics rave about it.

Don't feel bad as I may never even bother with this recording since I generally am not a trend follower.  I am already quite happy with the pretty large Handel's collection I have.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 03, 2009, 04:31:39 AM
Don't feel bad as I may never even bother with this recording since I generally am not a trend follower.  I am already quite happy with the pretty large Handel's collection I have.

Don't want to make you unhappy.......... :'(
but times are really changing, there has been a baroque revival underway that is very exciting and the bar has been raised for baroque perfromance art. A flood of almost forgotten works being revived for CD/DVD and lost works like Vivaldi operas being discovered has given rise to a new dynamic generation of baroque specialist singers who have mastered the style like never before, very exciting 

Reminds me of late 1980s when Hogwood/Norrington forever shook up the world of Beethoven with thier original instrument versions of the symphonies, changed everything that followed in a positive way.

I suspect it is not yet time to close the wallet.........Elgarian is living proof, right?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 04:39:55 AM
Don't want to make you unhappy.......... :'(
but times are really changing, there has been a baroque revival underway that is very exciting and the bar has been raised for baroque perfromance art. A flood of almost forgotten works being revived for CD/DVD and lost works like Vivaldi operas being discovered has given rise to a new dynamic generation of baroque specialist singers who have mastered the style like never before, very exciting 

Reminds me of late 1980s when Hogwood/Norrington forever shook up the world of Beethoven with thier original instrument versions of the symphonies, changed everything that followed in a positive way.

I suspect it is not yet time to close the wallet.........Elgarian is living proof, right?

My wallet always stays open.  There is now a feeding frenzy on new Handel's recordings on the 250th anniversary of his death.  I need to be careful not to pick up any duds.  That is all.  A conductor's interpretation is also subject to the listener's interpretation.  Some may be well received, others are not.  I do not feel the majority on the forum feel that Hogwood, Gardiner and Pinnock are totally out of touch.  For certain recordings such as the following Handel's orchestral works, I do not believe Minkowski can do any better ...

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/40/d6/ac15419328a09eedbe3ae110.L.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: karlhenning on July 03, 2009, 04:43:24 AM
. . . There is now a feeding frenzy on new Handel's recordings on the 250th anniversary of his death.  I need to be careful not to pick up any duds.  That is all.

That has the sound (contrariwise) of a supplier frenzy  0:) ;) 8)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 03, 2009, 06:20:47 AM
Elgarian is living proof, right?

Coming in as I have done, from never having paid any serious attention to Handel, to suddenly being struck by Handelian lightning, it can all be a bit bewildering. But the kind of revolution in performance that's taking place - eg the revolutionary take on Giulio Cesare by de Niese, Christie & co - is I think more than just a fashion swing. I think something very real is being let out of the bag, and thank goodness for it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 06:26:23 AM
I am now listening to the Dixit Dominus CD by Minkowski.  While it appears to be an excellent recording, I am not sure if it actually is better than the following two older recordings I also have ... 

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41VWWJ07X3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51gRSn29NuL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51J9FPYQ4RL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 06:34:02 AM
Coming in as I have done, from never having paid any serious attention to Handel, to suddenly being struck by Handelian lightning, it can all be a bit bewildering. But the kind of revolution in performance that's taking place - eg the revolutionary take on Giulio Cesare by de Niese, Christie & co - is I think more than just a fashion swing. I think something very real is being let out of the bag, and thank goodness for it.

We may have to look back in twenty years to determine if the trend we are now witnessing is indeed revolutionary.  Only time will tell ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 03, 2009, 08:06:08 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61iFdF7zzfL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61FSQP9EE4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Here is basically similar story line for Italian opera done by two different composers Handel & Vivaldi, interesting to compare styles
(Bajazet is main character in Handel's Tamerlano)

Tamerlano 1724 features one of the new generation baroque conductors in young George Petrou, has everything you expect from Handel's Italian operas a fascinating and dramatic experience in great modern sound, great success overall even though most of his vocalists are unknown to me.......I have another new Petrou opera by Handel but doesn't sound quite as good to me so can't give uniform thumbs up to all Petrou performances. Also don't have the older Gardiner/Erato Tamerlano to do direct comparison, but most everything I have read indicates the newer Petrou is the preferred version. So this represents Handel near the peak of his Italian opera skills coming just after Cesare, one of his more essential works, 3 CD version with large booklet.

Bajazet 1735 by Vivaldi is a shorter more concise opera that fits on 2 CDs, and is slightly more dramatic with greater demands on vocalists and freer use of vocal embellishments........I find this to be true of almost all of the new Vivaldi operas being released, they are vigorous and highly dramatic works with very complex plots. The Handel version tends to have slightly richer orchestration, Vivaldi has heavy emphasis on string section. The great thing about the Boindi/Virgin Bajazet is that you get a bonus DVD showing various arias being recorded and provides great insight for listener.......should be standard feature for all new baroque opera releases  ;)

In case you are wondering if I could own only one it would be Bajazet.....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 03, 2009, 08:18:06 AM
Really useful comparative review, DA - many thanks - all earmaked for the future. (I now have my hands full with the arrival of the Kings Consort Vivaldi box which came this morning.)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 08:21:45 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FGAXYDFWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)   (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411SqYLFfPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513KDCHZ1WL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)   (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4113JKSNFSL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

These are the listening plans for the 3-day weekend.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 08:23:16 AM
And this

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21WP5R8FVEL._SL500_AA130_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 03, 2009, 08:28:15 AM
Elgarian......I think I know another person who will soon be buying the Curtis/Virgin opera boxset   >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2009, 08:34:03 AM
Elgarian......I think I know another person who will soon be buying the Curtis/Virgin opera boxset   >:D


I am still not completely sold on the idea that Minkowski is more HIP than any of the names that I have been familiar with for years.  I have always known Alan Curtis as an outstanding harpsichordists as I have had his LP recordings on EMI for years.  Minkowski is new to me since I have never bothered to buy his recordings over the past ten years (until a few weeks ago) ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 04, 2009, 04:29:51 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31867HAGXJL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

Listened to Semele yesterday, unique hybrid opera/oratorio creation done near the end of Handels career in English so as to assure its financial success among London crowd. Unlike other oratorios this is secular theme dealing with frolicking love life of the gods, and like humans they too must deal with touchy situations, jealous suitors etc....... :D

The 1990 performance above is most highly regarded of the handful of CD versions out there, a true "luxury" cast of star vocalists.
Fortuantely we have Kathleen Battle near her prime as Semele, her light clear slivery tone perfectly suited to baroque singing as we expect today, Sylvia McNair & Michael Chance are baroque stars with solid body of work, throw in Sam Ramey and Marilyn Horne.
Striking pose by Kathleen on the cover as she ponders the vagaries of love.......

A very enjoyable work but not one of my very favorite Handel works, some of the arias from this work have become well known Handel staples so this is pretty essential work to collect, and any opportunity to get Kathleen Battle in her prime should not be passed by. I
would have preferred Italian language, but there is much to admire here and pretty easy to get good price on used version at Amazon
 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 04, 2009, 04:37:17 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31867HAGXJL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

Listened to Semele yesterday, unique hybrid opera/oratorio creation done near the end of Handels career in English so as to assure its financial success among London crowd. Unlike other oratorios this is secular theme dealing with frolicking love life of the gods, and like humans they too must deal with touchy situations, jealous suitors etc....... :D

The 1990 performance above is most highly regarded of the handful of CD versions out there, a true "luxury" cast of star vocalists.
Fortuantely we have Kathleen Battle near her prime as Semele, her light clear slivery tone perfectly suited to baroque singing as we expect today, Sylvia McNair & Michael Chance are baroque stars with solid body of work, throw in Sam Ramey and Marilyn Horne.


A very enjoyable work but not one of my very favorite Handel works, some of the arias from this work have become well known Handel staples so this is pretty essential work to collect, and any opportunity to get Kathleen Battle in her prime should not be passed by. I
would have preferred Italian language, but there is much to admire here and pretty easy to get good price on used version at Amazon
 

I like Kathleen Battle, though John Nelson is an unknown to me.  I think the ECO generally performed best under Raymond Leppard, who was also the founder of this ensemble.  I have quite a number of Handel's oratorios and operas by ECO and Leppard ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 04, 2009, 04:58:04 AM
This Semele is excellent. Battle conveys a delight in the act of singing that infects her work here. Horne is relatively restrained....in a good way and sings her plum piece well. Chance was also at his best when the recording was made. The conducting produces light and airy textures.

As an aside, I saw Battle in concert wearing that dress. She looked and sounded beautiful and her charm ran counter to the many stories that circulated about her.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 04, 2009, 09:02:06 AM
Just kicked off my Handelathon for this weekend.  Alan Curtis's Rodelinda is my first selection ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513KDCHZ1WL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 04, 2009, 01:26:18 PM
Alan Curtis's Tolomeo is my second selection for my Handelathon this weekend ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411SqYLFfPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 04, 2009, 10:58:28 PM
My goodness, Coop, you're racing away. I'm still drowning, gloriously, in Vivaldi.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 02:58:22 AM
My goodness, Coop, you're racing away. I'm still drowning, gloriously, in Vivaldi.

Good afternoon (UK time) Elgarian.  I will probably order the Vivalid's set from Hyperion before the end of this month as I need more time to whittle down my play list.  It is time for us to give both the US and UK economy a shot in the arm ...
 ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Henk on July 05, 2009, 03:42:11 AM
My goodness, Coop, you're racing away. I'm still drowning, gloriously, in Vivaldi.

To compete with Coop ;).. I have the Curtis box, a box with Minkowski as conductor, containing Cesare, Ariodante, Hercules. I have Ricardo Primo, Faramondo and Alcina (Curtis). And in order are Tolomeo, Ezio and Floridante (all Curtis).

I prefer Curtis above other conductors, though other ones do very well also.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 05, 2009, 03:44:02 AM
I have the Curtis box. A box with Mrawinski as conductor, containing Cesare, Ariodante, Hercules. I have Ricardo Primo, Faramondo and Alcina (Curtis). And in order are Tolomeo, Ezio and Floridante.
Mrawinski - didn't know he was into baroque opera..... ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 03:47:35 AM
I have the Curtis box. A box with Minkowsky as conductor, containing Cesare, Ariodante, Hercules. I have Ricardo Primo, Faramondo and Alcina (Curtis). And in order are Tolomeo, Ezio and Floridante.


I will probably order Ezio and Alcina as I really enjoy the performance of Tolomeo and Rodelinda, which were conducted by Alan Curtis.  I already have Alcina by Christe.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Henk on July 05, 2009, 03:52:32 AM


I will probably order Ezio and Alcina as I really enjoy the performance of Tolomeo and Rodelinda, which were conducted by Alan Curtis.  I already have Alcina by Christe.

How did you like Agrippina (Gardiner)?

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 06:12:23 AM
How did you like Agrippina (Gardiner)?


 

I have not had the chance to get to Agrippina yet, but Tolomeo and Rodelinda were excellent ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 05, 2009, 07:34:06 AM
My Handel new arrivals include:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51DCCMNSEBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/4107994NSPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Although Rene Jacobs has a limited Handel recording list so far, he is quickly becoming my conductor of choice for Handel!
I commented previously here about how much I loved his Saul which caused me to sell the very highly rated McCreesh/Archiv version. His Cesare/HM is also very highly rated, but I have not heard that version.........yet
(if I were to purchase a Cesare today I would get the Jacobs/HM even though strong competion from Minkowski/Archiv, I have the DVD with Christie to hold me over)

The Rinaldo if anything is even more impressive, little for me to critique so I will extol its many virtues.
Rinaldo was the first Italian opera Handel composed after moving to London where he remained the rest of his life. As typical of baroque opera complex plot with sorcery, magic gardens, assumed idenities etc but basically details the trails and tribulations of the knight named Rinaldo who fought in the battle for Christians to take the city of Jerusalem.

Musically you will be delighted to hear Moorish themes in the music and several harpsicord solo cadenzas during the opera. Rinaldo is sung by Vivica Genaux (who is known for her castrati roles) and female character Almirena by Miah Persson who has made quite a splash with her recent Mozart work. Fortuantely the Italian style is still firmly in place and we have many exciting arias with ornamented sections freely used, the orchestra plays with great passion and drama with very rich recitativio sections. Sound quality from Harmonia Mundi could hardly be better and Jacobs keeps everything moving along with expert dramatic flair.

The wonderful packaging from Harmonia Mundi deserves special mention, you get thick hinged outer box with artwork (not just thin slip cover) Inside a very thick booklet and a beautiful 3 panel digipak to hold the 3 CDs with wonderful artwork, a first class package all the way!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 07:51:17 AM
Although Rene Jacobs has a limited Handel recording list so far, he is quickly becoming my conductor of choice for Handel!
I commented previously here about how much I loved his Saul which caused me to sell the very highly rated McCreesh/Archiv version. His Cesare/HM is also very highly rated, but I have not heard that version.........yet

The Rinaldo if anything is even more impressive, little for me to critique so I will extol its many virtues.
Rinaldo was the first Italian opera Handel composed after moving to London where he remained the rest of his life. As typical of baroque opera complex plot with sorcery, magic gardens, assumed idenities etc but basically details the trails and tribulations of the knight named Rinaldo who fought in the battle for Christians to take the city of Jerusalem.

Musically you will be delighted to hear Moorish themes in the music and a harpsicord solo cadenza during the opera. Rinaldo is sung by Vivica Genaux (who is known for her castrati roles) and female lead character Almirena by Miah Persson who has made quite a splash with her recent Mozart work. Fortuantely the Italian style is still firmly in place and we have many exciting arias with ornamented sections freely used, the orchestra plays with great passion and drama with very rich recitativio sections. Sound quality from Harmonia Mundi could hardly be better and Jacobs keeps everything moving along with expert dramatic flair.

The wonderful packaging from Harmonia Mundi deserves special mention, you get thick hinged outer box with artwork (not just thin slip cover) Inside a very thick booklet and a beautiful 4 panel digipak to hold the 3 CDs with wonderful artwork, a first class package all the way!

I prefer this Rinaldo by Christopher Hogwood and have never liked Renee Jacobs as a soloist ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/3109201JYNL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on July 05, 2009, 07:56:37 AM
I prefer this Rinaldo by Christopher Hogwood and have never liked Renee Jacobs as a soloist ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/3109201JYNL._SL500_AA180_.jpg)



That's not relevant since Jacobs only conducts in his recording of Rinaldo.  Of course, you already know this, so why bring up your opinion of his vocal capabilities?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 08:03:57 AM
That's not relevant since Jacobs only conducts in his recording of Rinaldo.  Of course, you already know this, so why bring up your opinion of his vocal capabilities?

It is highly relevant since I do not like him as a soloist, it is quite unlikely I will buy a CD with him conducting either.  I am entitled to my opinion ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 05, 2009, 08:19:22 AM
It is highly relevant since I do not like him as a soloist, it is quite unlikely I will buy a CD with him conducting either.  I am entitled to my opinion ...
Of course you are. But we are entitled to see the lack of relevance here as well. Horowitz reputedly was a bad singer as well, doesn't mean he couldn't play the piano. You are missing out on one of my two baroque conducting heroes. You remember my advice on the other one, Minkowski (whos La Ressurezione probably is my favorite recording of a Handel oratorio)? 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 08:34:08 AM
Of course you are. But we are entitled to see the lack of relevance here as well. Horowitz reputedly was a bad singer as well, doesn't mean he couldn't play the piano. You are missing out on one of my two baroque conducting heroes. You remember my advice on the other one, Minkowski (whos La Ressurezione probably is my favorite recording of a Handel oratorio)? 


But did Horowitz ever release any recordings that featured him as a singer instead of a pianist?  Anything that is not in the public record (i.e. like a released recording) clearly does not count.  I have a good number of CD's featuring Pinnock and Hogwood as soloists.  Had I not liked them as conductors, I probably would not have bought those CD's.  I still have not made up my mind if I actually like Minkowski, even though I have recently bought a number of his CD's.  OTOH, I enjoyed the Handel's operas conducted by Alan Curtis.  But then I already have a good number of harpichord recordings by him that I have truly enjoyed over the years.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 05, 2009, 09:14:22 AM
If you want to hear what makes Jacobs/HM Rinaldo so special:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA)

The brass fanfares are beautifully done and have wonderful 3D staging effect when listening on your home stereo.
Genaux does have a touch of vibrato/boxiness to her vocals, but that is part of what gives her the darker tonal pallate.
Listen to the vocal interplay between Vivica and the brass section, absolutely wonderful stuff that can make you a Handel opera fanatic.

Her ability to freely ornament the repeated aria sections (3:30-4:30 in sample) is why she is in high demand for baroque castrati roles, do not hesitate to get this Rinaldo if you have any interest in Handel's Italian operas..............
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on July 05, 2009, 10:49:25 AM
It is highly relevant since I do not like him as a soloist, it is quite unlikely I will buy a CD with him conducting either.  I am entitled to my opinion ...

Yes, you are, but wouldn't you prefer to make connections that entail a little bit of sense?  I find your connection on this one very odd, especially since you seem to buy just about every recording under the sun.   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 05, 2009, 10:59:07 AM
do not hesitate to get this Rinaldo if you have any interest in Handel's Italian operas..............

Thanks DA - for this and all the tips in this thread, which I'll be revisiting when I next choose a Handel set.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 11:15:27 AM
Yes, you are, but wouldn't you prefer to make connections that entail a little bit of sense?  I find your connection on this one very odd, especially since you seem to buy just about every recording under the sun.   
 

I have some older recordings by Rene Jacobs on LP's which I acquired back in the mid to late 70's.  Then I decided I really did not like him much as a soloist and as such I do not have one recording by him on CD, which is independent of whether he is a soloist or a conductor.  This line of logic makes perfect sense to me.  If I do not own 29 versions of Bach Organ Works, I cannot be considered as buying every recording under the sun.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 05, 2009, 11:20:00 AM
I have followed this exchange and it leaves me baffled. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but currently your opinion of Jacobs as conductor is based on Jacobs the singer. Your idea of logic must be very different from mine. I simply fail to understand your line of argument.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 11:32:26 AM
I have followed this exchange and it leaves me baffled. Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but currently your opinion of Jacobs as conductor is based on Jacobs the singer. Your idea of logic must be very different from mine. I simply fail to understand your line of argument.

Mike

I really have no opinion on Jacobs as a conductor.  As my collection of Handel's oratorios/operas has already included many conductors I like, I just do not feel it is necessary to enlarge that roster any further.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 05, 2009, 11:34:41 AM
I see.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 05, 2009, 11:52:11 AM
I suppose our choices aren't always logical, and I was just now trying to think of some apparently daft things I do myself. For example, as a general rule I tend not to like countertenors much - so I'll tend to buy a Handel set where the countertenor part is taken by a contralto even if the performance as a whole is considered less successful than an alternative with a countertenor in the role. So my prejudice actually robs me of a better performance, in such a case. I may also choose a performance just because it has Sophie Daneman singing, or Wm Christie conducting, because I admire them so much and like the idea that they're 'present' in the recording regardless of how well they might actually have done on this occasion. It may seem foolish, but it's one of those intangible things that makes a kind of subjective sense. I'm not suggesting it's a good idea to let these ideas run rampant, unchecked - but they're a factor.

With Coop, since he dislikes Jacobs's singing, I guess he gets negative vibes from the idea of him being present on the recording even as conductor. I think I can understand that.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 05, 2009, 12:15:33 PM
If you want to hear what makes Jacobs/HM Rinaldo so special:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA)

The brass fanfares are beautifully done and have wonderful 3D staging effect when listening on your home stereo.
Genaux does have a touch of vibrato/boxiness to her vocals, but that is part of what gives her the darker tonal pallate.
Listen to the vocal interplay between Vivica and the brass section, absolutely wonderful stuff that can make you a Handel opera fanatic.

Her ability to freely ornament the repeated aria sections (3:30-4:30 in sample) is why she is in high demand for baroque castrati roles, do not hesitate to get this Rinaldo if you have any interest in Handel's Italian operas..............

If you want more evidence of  mezzo Vivica Genaux's baroque talents..........

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51d2xJrn7kL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

On the recent Vivaldi Atenaide opera recording she teams up with Sandrine Piau and others for some amazing
vocal arias, Elgarian.......keep the wallet open!  >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on July 05, 2009, 01:37:32 PM
It is highly relevant since I do not like him as a soloist, it is quite unlikely I will buy a CD with him conducting either.  I am entitled to my opinion ...

Indeed, but only your comment on his singing is an opinion, your comment on his conducting is merely a guess... 8)

And for the record: I share your reservations on René Jacobs' singing, but as a (Baroque & Classical) conductor I think he is really in the top league. One of the best and groundbreaking conductors around. Try him! :)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 05, 2009, 01:45:32 PM

And for the record: I share your reservations on René Jacobs' singing, but as a (Baroque & Classical) conductor I think he is really in the top league. One of the best and groundbreaking conductors around. Try him! :)

Q

Exactement!

You are missing out on one of my two baroque conducting heroes. You remember my advice on the other one, Minkowski (whose La Ressurezione probably is my favorite recording of a Handel oratorio)? 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on July 05, 2009, 02:57:33 PM
And for the record: I share your reservations on René Jacobs' singing, but as a (Baroque & Classical) conductor I think he is really in the top league.

Exactement, indeed.

On the other hand, there's Domingo, who's a lot better (even now) as a singer than he is a conductor.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 03:12:11 PM
Exactement, indeed.

On the other hand, there's Domingo, who's a lot better (even now) as a singer than he is a conductor.
 

An over the hill opera singer who just will not quit.  Indeed, my instinct tells me to stay away from his recordings as a conductor ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 05, 2009, 03:14:12 PM
I suppose our choices aren't always logical, and I was just now trying to think of some apparently daft things I do myself. For example, as a general rule I tend not to like countertenors much - so I'll tend to buy a Handel set where the countertenor part is taken by a contralto even if the performance as a whole is considered less successful than an alternative with a countertenor in the role. So my prejudice actually robs me of a better performance, in such a case. I may also choose a performance just because it has Sophie Daneman singing, or Wm Christie conducting, because I admire them so much and like the idea that they're 'present' in the recording regardless of how well they might actually have done on this occasion. It may seem foolish, but it's one of those intangible things that makes a kind of subjective sense. I'm not suggesting it's a good idea to let these ideas run rampant, unchecked - but they're a factor.

With Coop, since he dislikes Jacobs's singing, I guess he gets negative vibes from the idea of him being present on the recording even as conductor. I think I can understand that.
 

Elgarian, You made the best analysis.  Negative vibes can be quite overwhelming.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 05, 2009, 08:32:48 PM
 

An over the hill opera singer who just will not quit.  Indeed, my instinct tells me to stay away from his recordings as a conductor ...

Half wrong there....he is not over the hill and has been conducting for at least 20 years, a point at which he was still in his prime. As to his conducting, I have not heard any that I would recommend to anyone.

Then there was Dietrich Fischer Dieskau.....he tried his hand at conducting, with mixed results.

But Jacobs is in a different league as a conductor. Daniel Taylor, the singer, looks set also to end up as a talented conductor.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 06, 2009, 12:02:55 AM
On the recent Vivaldi Atenaide opera recording she teams up with Sandrine Piau and others for some amazing
vocal arias, Elgarian.......keep the wallet open!  >:D

It never closes, DA, it never closes ....

Incidentally, listening again to the Baroque Diva Robots again for the zillionth time yesterday, I hereby declare that it is the most outstanding Handel collection that I own. (Amazing when you think that duets are relatively rare in Handel.) They sing as if each knows so intimately and immediately what the other is going to do, that the precision of the singing becomes a platform for performances that take off into some kind of expressive stratosphere, beyond all expectation. I find myself constantly astonished by these recordings.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg)

Just listen and adore.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 06, 2009, 04:03:32 PM
 

An over the hill opera singer who just will not quit.  Indeed, my instinct tells me to stay away from his recordings as a conductor ...

You are so right about Domingo's conducting talents.  I remember the first time I heard him conduct on a Saturday broadcast from the Met.  It was so awful that I always make sure he is not the conductor of a disc I am contemplating purchasing.

I have been eavesdropping on everyone's conversation which has given me many pointers to pay attention to.  I am a true novice in this field and thank everyone.

Coopmv,
I know you are not interested in hearing Jacobs conduct and I respect your wishes.  I just would like to say that had it not been for Jacobs' conducting, there is no way I would be even considering listening to Handel or Vivaldi.  He changed my mind about the music of this period - knocked the cobwebs off from it and added exciting touches of beautiful brass instruments, fanfares, and wonderful tempos.  He is thrilling, vibrant, incredibly alive and brings the music to life!  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 06, 2009, 04:33:31 PM
You are so right about Domingo's conducting talents.  I remember the first time I heard him conduct on a Saturday broadcast from the Met.  It was so awful that I always make sure he is not the conductor of a disc I am contemplating purchasing.

I have been eavesdropping on everyone's conversation which has given me many pointers to pay attention to.  I am a true novice in this field and thank everyone.

Coopmv,
I know you are not interested in hearing Jacobs conduct and I respect your wishes.  I just would like to say that had it not been for Jacobs' conducting, there is no way I would be even considering listening to Handel or Vivaldi.  He changed my mind about the music of this period - knocked the cobwebs off from it and added exciting touches of beautiful brass instruments, fanfares, and wonderful tempos.  He is thrilling, vibrant, incredibly alive and brings the music to life!  

Anne,  I grew up with the music produced by the trio of English conductors, Hogwood, Gardiner and Pinnock and had actually attended concerts given by two of them in NYC.  My love for Handel's works has gone back many years and there are few recorded Handel oratorios I do not already have.  But as Elgarian put so eloquently in an earlier post, it is sometimes difficult to shake off that negative vibes ...

It looks like you experienced an epiphany when you heard a Handel's recording conducted by Jacobs ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 06, 2009, 05:57:41 PM
Here is a pretty delightful Nine German Arias, part of my Handel collection.  While it is an older recording, the SQ is still excellent ...

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 07, 2009, 09:02:06 AM
 I found the "Tannhauser" DVD from Bayreuther Festspiele conducted by Collins.  Thanks for that tip.

I also discovered a "Der Fliegende Hollander" DVD conducted by Sawallisch with Bayerisches Staatsorchester.

Thank you for the "Nine German Arias" CD recommendation.  Much appreciated!

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 07, 2009, 04:21:35 PM
Anne,

My love for Handel's oratorios pre-dated my serious interest in JS Bach passions by a more than a decade.  I only started to get seriously interested in St Matthew Passion a few years ago.  My 9 sets of St Matthew Passion on CD were all purchased in the past three years while the 2 sets on LP have been languishing on the shelf for the last twenty years.  Great singing in a Handel's oratorio is the prerequisite for good listening and virtuoso orchestral playing is just icing on the cake.  Here is the first Handel oratorio that I truly enjoyed that started almost 30 years ago.  Indeed, some on the forum would myopically deride it as non-HIP.  But the soprano singing by Elly Ameling was nothing short of exquisite.  After all, female vocalists like Elly Ameling and Janet Baker from the 70's were some of the greatest singers from the last 50 years ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 07, 2009, 09:31:05 PM
Thank you for that recommendation.  I will get it as soon as possible.  I do appreciate the help and will stick with Handel for now.  One thing at a time.  You have a lot of experience which I respect. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 08, 2009, 03:34:25 AM
Anne,
My love for Handel's oratorios pre-dated my serious interest in JS Bach passions by a more than a decade.  I only started to get seriously interested in St Matthew Passion a few years ago.  My 9 sets of St Matthew Passion on CD were all purchased in the past three years while the 2 sets on LP have been languishing on the shelf for the last twenty years.  Great singing in a Handel's oratorio is the prerequisite for good listening and virtuoso orchestral playing is just icing on the cake.  Here is the first Handel oratorio that I truly enjoyed that started almost 30 years ago.  Indeed, some on the forum would myopically deride it as non-HIP.  But the soprano singing by Elly Ameling was nothing short of exquisite.  After all, female vocalists like Elly Ameling and Janet Baker from the 70's were some of the greatest singers from the last 50 years ...

No we would never want to dissuade open discussion of different styles...... 0:)
but my three favorite Messiahs are all newer HIP versions:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y8S42WA2L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61Z31YG4GFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XT16QN5SL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 08, 2009, 04:31:32 AM
No we would never want to dissuade open discussion of different styles......

One of my favourite versions of 'Dopo Notte' is Janet Baker's, with Raymond Leppard conducting. It's as un-HIP as they come, but who could care? The way the pace, tempo, urgency is picked up at about 1m30s is sheer rock&roll, and after that there's no looking back. You can sense Ariodante strutting back and forth, punching the air with sheer joy. This is how to do it, folks, HIP or no HIP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 08, 2009, 05:01:28 AM
One of my favourite versions of 'Dopo Notte' is Janet Baker's, with Raymond Leppard conducting. It's as un-HIP as they come, but who could care? The way the pace, tempo, urgency is picked up at about 1m30s is sheer rock&roll, and after that there's no looking back. You can sense Ariodante strutting back and forth, punching the air with sheer joy. This is how to do it, folks, HIP or no HIP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU)

Looks like this performance has recently been released as a reduced price Phillips Trio:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/410YHFRVQZL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

That was very nice sample, much better than I expected as Baker has stylish and beautiful dramatic ornaments, singing both boldly and with great tonal beauty.....surely she is the best baroque female voice from the pre-HIP era singers. The orchestra playing by Leppard is nicely sprung rythms, but compared to todays HIP standards a bit smoothed out and not as clarified or transparent textures
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 08, 2009, 05:10:39 AM
The orchestra playing by Leppard is nicely sprung rythms, but compared to todays HIP standards a bit smoothed out and not as clarified or transparent textures

Oh yes, certainly. But it still rocks in my book.

Another way to get this is to buy the excellent Janet Baker box:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41BSR7RNMDL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

5 discs in the set, of which the second consists almost entirely of Handel arias recorded with Leppard.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidRoss on July 08, 2009, 05:36:51 AM
Oh yes, certainly. But it still rocks in my book.
I think the technical term for Ms Baker's performance in the youtube clip is "bitchin'!"  (Apologies to those who were not teenagers in southern California during the 1960s.)  In other words, it forced me to search Amazon and to order a copy of the complete opera recording with Baker in the title role (even though I might prefer Minkowski or McGegan at the helm).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 08, 2009, 05:42:13 AM
In other words, it forced me to search Amazon and to order a copy of the complete opera recording with Baker in the title role (even though I might prefer Minkowski or McGegan at the helm).

Well the way I see it is that if I've run out of money of my own to spend, I may as well find ways to encourage other people to spend theirs, and so enjoy the spending process vicariously. Rock on with Ray and Janet, Dave!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 08, 2009, 06:41:43 AM
One of my favourite versions of 'Dopo Notte' is Janet Baker's, with Raymond Leppard conducting. It's as un-HIP as they come, but who could care? The way the pace, tempo, urgency is picked up at about 1m30s is sheer rock&roll, and after that there's no looking back. You can sense Ariodante strutting back and forth, punching the air with sheer joy. This is how to do it, folks, HIP or no HIP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiTNGWx9rnU)

Listened a couple more times to the dazzling run of embellishments from 1:40->2:50, wonderfully exciting and dramatic yet in complete harmony with the music.......a true artist at work here

Do not hate me, but I would prefer just a touch of trill at times as some modern baroque singers use..........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 08, 2009, 12:11:15 PM
Do not hate me, but I would prefer just a touch of trill at times as some modern baroque singers use..........

Of course I won't hate you.

But I am looking for something to do with this custard pie.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 08, 2009, 03:16:31 PM
No we would never want to dissuade open discussion of different styles...... 0:)
but my three favorite Messiahs are all newer HIP versions:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Y8S42WA2L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

 

I have had the Pinnock's Messiah for years.  Personally, I prefer the Hogwood's Messiah a bit more since the soloists are definitely better.  Gardiner's Messiah is actually my first HIP version and I also have the two versions by Harnoncourt.
The 76 Marriner's Messiah excels in the singing department, which is entirely independent of the argument of modern instruments vs. period instruments.  The beautiful soprano singing of Elly Ameling simply cannot be diminished by the modern instruments used in that recording ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31RH894NFZL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 09, 2009, 11:04:56 AM
 

I have had the Pinnock's Messiah for years.  Personally, I prefer the Hogwood's Messiah a bit more since the soloists are definitely better.  Gardiner's Messiah is actually my first HIP version and I also have the two versions by Harnoncourt.
The 76 Marriner's Messiah excels in the singing department, which is entirely independent of the argument of modern instruments vs. period instruments.  The beautiful soprano singing of Elly Ameling simply cannot be diminished by the modern instruments used in that recording ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31RH894NFZL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Can't really say anything bad about Hogwood........if I would extend list to top 6 Messiahs then Hogwood would make the list.
Historically very important since it influenced every HIP performance that followed.
 
The reason that I prefer Pinnock over Hogwood is that having the benefit of hindsight Pinnock takes all the best qualities of Hogwood and refines them into a more integrated hybrid style while still keeping the fresh clarified textures of Hogwood.....vocals of Von Otter and company sound very dramatic and fresh for Pinnock
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 09, 2009, 11:11:44 AM
I now have all my Cesare bases covered, my Jacobs/HM CD set just arrived to join the Christie DVD.......... :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AV2c4MX5L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 09, 2009, 11:41:49 AM
I now have all my Cesare bases covered, my Jacobs/HM CD set just arrived to join the Christie DVD.......... :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51AV2c4MX5L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Well done, that man.

Those are the versions I have too. Wonderful stuff.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 09, 2009, 03:53:33 PM
Can't really say anything bad about Hogwood........if I would extend list to top 6 Messiahs then Hogwood would make the list.
Historically very important since it influenced every HIP performance that followed.
 
The reason that I prefer Pinnock over Hogwood is that having the benefit of hindsight Pinnock takes all the best qualities of Hogwood and refines them into a more integrated hybrid style while still keeping the fresh clarified textures of Hogwood.....vocals of Von Otter and company sound very dramatic and fresh for Pinnock

While I like Von Otter and have many of her recordings, I think it is a stretch to say she is superior to all the sopranos and mezzo-sopranos out there for Handel operas/oratorios.  I think Pinnock generally excels in instrumental music by Handel compared with Hogwood and Gardiner. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 09, 2009, 06:24:00 PM
Well done, that man.

Those are the versions I have too. Wonderful stuff.

I will try out this version this weekend.  My first Handel's opera by Minkowski ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FGAXYDFWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 09, 2009, 06:28:02 PM
Here is one of my early baroque vocal works favorites by Raymond Leppard and the ECO ...



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Anne on July 09, 2009, 08:46:23 PM
Nice to see the word "Ramey" on that disc.  He is one of my favorite singers.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 11, 2009, 05:30:22 PM
I am currently listening to this set.  Is anyone familiar with it?  I got this set along with most of the other King's Consort's Handel oratorios that were on sale at MDT 2 months ago ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDA67171-3.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 12:13:24 AM
I am currently listening to this set.  Is anyone familiar with it?  I got this set along with most of the other King's Consort's Handel oratorios that were on sale at MDT 2 months ago ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDA67171-3.jpg)

It's almost the only one on Hyperion's half-price list that I haven't bought ....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 12, 2009, 12:28:21 AM
Yesterday I was listening to record review: they were comparing versions of Handel's Acis and Galatea. Listening along, despite the misgivings of the reviewer, I especially took to the extracts of the Christie version. I decided to order it and discovered that it was more cost effective to order a new compendium box that also has his version of Theodora.

I have the Glyndbourne version on DVD, but no CD version I know of has come close. In my collection I have an ancient heavily cut performance, kept due to  the singing, and the McCreech version which does not pack remotely the emotional wallop of Christie/Daniels/Hunt-Lieberson/Upshaw. I hope the CD version with different singers will be more to my taste than McCreech. Daniel Taylor is singing Dydimus, so I have some hopes.

Yesterday there must have been something in the water...I also ordered Mendelssohn Piano Trios, Suk Asrael, Greig and Schumann piano concertos...then went into town and bought, Walton's 1st Symphony, Korngold Die Tote Stadt, Martinu Scenes from Juliette and Dvorak's Mass in D minor and Te Deum.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 12:40:51 AM
Yesterday I was listening to record review: they were comparing versions of Handel's Acis and Galatea. Listening along, despite the misgivings of the reviewer, I especially took to the extracts of the Christie version. I decided to order it and discovered that it was more cost effective to order a new compendium box that also has his version of Theodora.

You won't regret choosing that Christie recording of Acis & Galatea, Mike. It's one of my very favourite Handel recordings; Sophie Daneman and Patricia Petibon define their roles right at the outset, and I don't think I could cope with anyone else singing them now. If there exists a perfect recorded performance of anything, for me this comes as close as it gets.

The only problem with buying the box instead of the individual sets is that you don't get a printed libretto (although you can download pdfs from their website, so all is not lost).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 12, 2009, 12:45:04 AM
Yesterday I was listening to record review: they were comparing versions of Handel's Acis and Galatea. Listening along, despite the misgivings of the reviewer, I especially took to the extracts of the Christie version. 

I have that and like it a lot as well (also have Gardiner on LP).



I have the Glyndbourne version on DVD, but no CD version I know of has come close.

Great DVD that manages to illustrate the tragedy in a way that is very hard to achieve on a sound-only medium. Great, great, great singing, particularly from the two female characters I think.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 12, 2009, 12:56:36 AM
Thanks both of you...mouth watering. A pity about the libretti, I am not good at downlaoding then sitting at my machine to listen. At least it is in English!

I was watching Christie conduct the Rameau Indes and Julius Caesar yesterday. I am becoming increasingly fond of his approach to this repertoire.

This morning I gave that lovely Amintta e Fillide another listen and how lovely it all is. Elgarian, do you know the Nine German Arias? Not an entirely disimilar soundworld.


Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 01:18:19 AM
Elgarian, do you know the Nine German Arias? Not an entirely disimilar soundworld.

Yes I do (Carolyn Sampson's lovely versions), though I found initially that the sound of the German language took some getting used to, in that unfamiliar context - and maybe I've still not quite got used to it, in fact.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 01:37:54 AM
This morning I gave that lovely Amintta e Fillide another listen and how lovely it all is.

Yes it's too gorgeous for words. And still following the Arcadian trail, a couple of days ago I ordered one of these:

(http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/images/stories/aci_galatea_polifemo.jpg)

There are some samples here (click the audio excerpts tab):

http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/discography/aci-galatea-e-polifemo (http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/discography/aci-galatea-e-polifemo)

These sound pretty marvellous to me, and confirm Gramophone's favourable review of this recording. Dark Angel was recommending Haim's version of this work a short time ago, but listening to these samples, I think I prefer these singers to Haim's Piau and Mingardo. The duet (1st sample) is particularly fine, I think. And this 2CD set on Brilliant Classics is about half the price of the Haim.... I've ordered mine through Amazon marketplace, but I see that PrestoClassical are offering it cheaply here:

http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/w/51432
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 04:19:41 AM
Yes I do (Carolyn Sampson's lovely versions), though I found initially that the sound of the German language took some getting used to, in that unfamiliar context - and maybe I've still not quite got used to it, in fact.

And what label is that on?  I showed my version on BIS a few posts ago.  I have Brockes Passion (on LP), which was sung in German ...

Sorry for the underexposed shot as I did not turn on the flash.
 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 12, 2009, 04:29:09 AM


Sorry for the underexposed shot as I did not turn on the flash.
 

You're not a flasher?   ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 04:31:59 AM
It's almost the only one on Hyperion's half-price list that I haven't bought ....

One of my longer-term goals is to have at least one version of every Handel's oratorio that has ever been recorded.  I am now wondering if I should include operas as well.  Again, I have no patience for the me-too recording.  I have just added Alan Curtis to my list of Handel's conductors (choral works only) which now includes Marriner, Richter, Mackerras, Harnoncourt, Hogwood, Gardiner, Pinnock, Christe, King, Curtis and Minkowski.  As of now, Minkowski is a TBD.  As such, I do not know if I would add more of his recordings to my collection ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 04:32:37 AM
You're not a flasher?   ;D

And I am too lazy to re-take the shot ...    ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 04:36:35 AM
Here is the CD version of this recording (shown below), which is now OOP and may never be re-issued since it does not appear to be a popular recording, even for the Handel diehards (http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Brockes-Passion-August-Wenzinger/dp/B00005MJ10/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1247405589&sr=1-5)



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 05:14:55 AM
Now playing this set.  This will be a make-or-break for Minkowski in my Handel collection.  So far, he has not impressed me more than the trio of Hogwood, Gardiner and Pinnock ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FGAXYDFWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 05:55:17 AM
There is actually a version of Handel's Brockes Passion by McGegan on BC ... (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2003/Jun03/Handel_Passions.htm)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 06:47:55 AM
And what label is that on?

Here you go, Coop. It's on Hyperion:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yUZaZPi0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 06:51:48 AM
One of my longer-term goals is to have at least one version of every Handel's oratorio that has ever been recorded.  I am now wondering if I should include operas as well.

Well, you know what we'll all say! Go for it!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 08:12:41 AM
Well, you know what we'll all say! Go for it!

I think I am actually pretty close to that goal between my LP and CD collections ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 09:20:22 AM
Here you go, Coop. It's on Hyperion:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yUZaZPi0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Thanks Elgarian.  Carolyn Sampson is a known quantity to me and I will put this CD on my shopping list ...    ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 09:23:28 AM
Now playing this set.  This will be a make-or-break for Minkowski in my Handel collection.  So far, he has not impressed me more than the trio of Hogwood, Gardiner and Pinnock ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41FGAXYDFWL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I am enjoying this set.  So far, this has been a much better recording than the Italian Cantatas.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510SS27QY6L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 12, 2009, 03:09:27 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/310rME9KvbL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31fkJXCC-KL._SL500_AA181_.jpg) and (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qUVdIdcKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Joyce DiDonato
We discussed the two Cds shown above previously here, Elgarian was very smitten with the duets CD by our beloved baroque diva robots. Indeed it is very fine and I think it is a step up from the Hyperion duets also mentioned here, Curtis orchestral work is all you could ask for, DiDonato and Ciofi are a great duet with individually fine voices and when blended or in dialog with each other  are very complimentary.

Actually I like the solo DiDonato "furore" aria collection even better, a collection of mad scences from Handel opera that features the perils of love as a theme........nothing more passionate or angry than a jilted lover  
The duet structure is by design going to be less a showcase of solo vocal talent, so here DiDonato is given free flight and soars where eagles dare, exciting dramatic powerful, Rousset & Les Talons deliver the orchestral goods......me likey  ;D

Now for the bad news
I did not like the Piau/Mingardo duet CD, something just does not quite work here, very earthbound performances that never take flight, the song selection does not work well or display the singers considerable talents........a sell for me
Sandrine how could you let your biggest fan down like this  :(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 12, 2009, 03:20:45 PM
Yes it's too gorgeous for words. And still following the Arcadian trail, a couple of days ago I ordered one of these:

(http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/images/stories/aci_galatea_polifemo.jpg)

There are some samples here (click the audio excerpts tab):

http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/discography/aci-galatea-e-polifemo (http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/discography/aci-galatea-e-polifemo)

These sound pretty marvellous to me, and confirm Gramophone's favourable review of this recording.

Be interesting if you share my findings............
that the early "aci, galatea-e-polifemo" italian cantata version is actually preferable to later reworking into english language two act opera "Acis and Galatea"  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 12, 2009, 03:38:54 PM
Here you go, Coop. It's on Hyperion:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yUZaZPi0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)


Is Hyperion involved in some licensing to music club in much the same way like DG allows some of its CD's to be released under BMG for the latter's music club members?  I noticed an Amazon MarketPlace member advertised this CD at a pretty low price and identified the CD as a club disc ...   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 11:19:11 PM
Actually I like the solo DiDonato "furore" aria collection even better, a collection of mad scences from Handel opera that features the perils of love as a theme........nothing more passionate or angry than a jilted lover  
The duet structure is by design going to be less a showcase of solo vocal talent, so here DiDonato is given free flight and soars where eagles dare, exciting dramatic powerful, Rousset & Les Talons deliver the orchestral goods......me likey  

Of it's kind I'm sure it's excellent - I just find it 'too much', and I can't warm to it.  But this is a purely personal thing - I've never been very keen on 'mad scenes' in general;

Quote
Now for the bad news
I did not like the Piau/Mingardo duet CD, something just does not quite work here, very earthbound performances that never take flight, the song selection does not work well or display the singers considerable talents........a sell for me
Sandrine how could you let your biggest fan down like this  :(

As you know, I share your disappointment in this, so you have my sympathy.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 11:24:29 PM
Be interesting if you share my findings............
that the early "aci, galatea-e-polifemo" italian cantata version is actually preferable to later reworking into english language two act opera "Acis and Galatea"  

Acis & Galatea is one of my very favourite Handel vocal works, beautifully recorded by a collection of my favourite performers, so at this moment I think it's unlikely that I'll prefer the earlier cantata. But, that said, the fragments I've heard so far do sound very lovely, so who knows? I expect to enjoy it very much, no matter what.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 12, 2009, 11:25:29 PM
Is Hyperion involved in some licensing to music club

Sorry, no idea.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 13, 2009, 05:58:18 AM
I can't recall this being discussed before:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571152622.png)

I stumbled across it by accident today, and there are samples here:
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDH55262&f=helios%20fisher%20handel%20duets

I'm not generally strongly drawn towards countertenors, but in this case the lovely Gillian Fisher is singing with James Bowman, and the result is delightful, I think. It's on Helios, so inexpensive (and even cheaper than cheap at the moment in Hyperion's sale).

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 14, 2009, 11:30:36 AM
Although I very much like counter tenors; I find James Bowman difficult to take. Hooty and with an acidic tone. Just as well we don't all hear voices the same way; otherwise he would have been out of work for a long time by now.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 14, 2009, 12:45:10 PM
Although I very much like counter tenors; I find James Bowman difficult to take. Hooty and with an acidic tone. Just as well we don't all hear voices the same way; otherwise he would have been out of work for a long time by now.

Mike
I was going to psot the same yesterday but forgot in the 9/11 frenzy    ;D

I'm quite partial to countertenors, but except for praising Mr Bowman for his valuable contributions as an example for the younger genereation, his voice is one of those I enjoy the least. Hooty is exactly the word (which I actually have used in another posting as regards James Bowman). Admirable yes, enjoyable; only partially I'm afraid.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 16, 2009, 11:02:42 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571152622.png)

Ok guys (Mike, erato), I hear all you say, and as I said, I'm not the biggest fan of countertenors in general myself, and certainly not of Mr Bowman. But this CD arrived today, and I listened to the first half hour's worth of duets... and my prejudices went down like ninepins.

There's something about the delightful airiness of Gillian Fisher's singing that seems to couple in the most delicious way with Bowman's voice. You know how if you look at, let's say, a tree in an Impressionist painting, and cover up the shadow, then the tree just looks like a dull tree; and if you cover up the tree, then the shadow just looks like an uninteresting blue-grey blob. Yet together, the colour of each - shadow and tree - illuminates the other, and ignites the whole into something alive and vibrant so that the picture gives the illusion of actually being a source of light. Tell me I'm being fanciful if you like, but I feel that something like that is going on between the two voices on this disc.

I was making a meal listening to this, and I kept having to stop, and listen and tune in more fully - as if the very air was being transformed into something beyond the normal by the passage of the music through it. This could easily become a favourite Handel collection.

Of course over half of it remains unheard as yet; but that seems pretty exciting.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on July 16, 2009, 11:37:46 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571152622.png)

Ok guys (Mike, erato), I hear all you say, and as I said, I'm not the biggest fan of countertenors in general myself, and certainly not of Mr Bowman. But this CD arrived today, and I listened to the first half hour's worth of duets... and my prejudices went down like ninepins.


Well, I'm a big fan of Mr. Bowman; his Handel Heroic Arias disc on Hyperion is my favorite Handel vocal recording.  No hoot to it at all, just beautifully expressive characterizations.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 16, 2009, 12:12:04 PM
Perhaps James had his good years and his bad. I have unpleasant memories of him singing in Salisbury cathedral, St Matthew Passion.....I would have rather chewed my own legs off than listen to him again.

Having said that Alan, you make for a convincing advocate. But I think my Handel tank is full for the mo. I need to absorb what I have bought over the last month. The Acis and Throdora box has just arrived. The weekend hoves into view.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on July 16, 2009, 01:41:10 PM
Just watched the first act of Theodora DVD (Glyndebourne Festival Opera/William Christie, 1996)

Sounds great. Lorraine Hunt shines.

The sets/choreoraphy look weird/radical. I like that, at least when done well.  0:)

Tomorrow act 2 (and perhaps even 3)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 16, 2009, 10:33:48 PM
Lorraine Hunt shines.

Yes, almost from the moment she appears she becomes a 'presence' - even when not singing. And when she sings .... well! Unbelievable.  :o
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 16, 2009, 10:35:11 PM
Yes, almost from the moment she appears she becomes a 'presence' - even when not singing. And when she sings .... well! Unbelievable. :o
Yes, she has amazing stage presence in that DVD, a marvellous actor obviously beside the great singing.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidRoss on July 17, 2009, 03:41:35 AM
Just watched the first act of Theodora DVD (Glyndebourne Festival Opera/William Christie, 1996)

Sounds great. Lorraine Hunt shines.

The sets/choreoraphy look weird/radical. I like that, at least when done well.  0:)

Tomorrow act 2 (and perhaps even 3)
Now that seems intriguing:  Peter Sellars staging baroque opera with William Christie directing and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Dawn Upshaw in the leads.  An all-American production?

http://www.youtube.com/v/IQlt1UxjvWU&feature=related

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 17, 2009, 04:31:22 AM
Yes, almost from the moment she appears she becomes a 'presence' - even when not singing. And when she sings .... well! Unbelievable.  :o

I thought Lorraine Hunt also started out as a violinist before taking up vocal in her twenties ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on July 17, 2009, 11:09:38 AM
I thought Lorraine Hunt also started out as a violinist before taking up vocal in her twenties ...

Actually, she was a violist.  I guess she was too good a musician to stick to that instrument.   ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 17, 2009, 11:12:00 AM
Actually, she was a violist.  I guess she was too good a musician to stick to that instrument.   ;D

You meant too good of a vocalist?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 17, 2009, 11:32:09 AM
It was a joke.

She sang initially as a soprano. Her recordings, fine but not distinctive. Then she opened up as a mezzo; I think it was then that she truly found her voice, artistically as well as physically. Then the performances became distinctive and memorable.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 17, 2009, 11:40:21 AM
The Acis and Throdora box has just arrived. The weekend hoves into view.

The Acis, I predict, will enchant you. The Theodora, though good on its own terms, will probably disappoint, because you're coming to it from a Glyndebourne/Hunt-Lieberson perspective, and nothing can live up to that.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 17, 2009, 12:16:24 PM
Alan, You are correct about the Theodora, which though fine, simply pales besides the favoured Glyndbourne cast. I played quite a bit of it, but was a little disappointed. The visceral drama is pretty much missing. Juliette Galstien has none of the focus that Hunt Lieberson provided to the unadorned written vocal line. Not only does Galstein utilise decoration to provide a pale kind of emphasis, but her non English vowels are often slighly wrong, less round and produced from the hard palate. So the benediction of, 'As with rosy steps' is a penny plain affair.

Daniel Taylor is good, but with not near the juice of the voice David Daniels produces. He does not sound nearly as committed. Sophie Daenman is excellent as Theodora.

Something that surprised me was that on the sixth disc, there are three Italian Cantatas sung by Eva Mei. I am looking forward to those and to the Acis.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 17, 2009, 12:22:28 PM
So the benediction of, 'As with rosy steps' is a penny plain affair.

Yes I agree. And also ...

Quote
Sophie Daneman is excellent as Theodora.

I love Sophie D's singing with a great passion, but even though she makes a really good shot at the part, I think there's something a bit missing from her version of 'With darkness deep'. It isn't dark, nor deep enough. Not her fault; her voice doesn't do dark and deep. But there it is.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 18, 2009, 05:19:10 PM
I am now playing the last set of Handel's operas - Agrippina I bought from MDT a few weeks ago.  Next on the shopping list are Ariodante by Minkowski, Alcina, Arminio, Radamisto and Ezio by Alan Curtis.  I may also get a few sets by William Christie ...     ;D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41-8taxum-L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 18, 2009, 06:08:58 PM
It looks like the most logical approach for my acquisition of Alan Curtis' Handel operas is via this box set, where Admeto is the only duplicate set - I bought the EMI recording on LP over 20 years ago ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 18, 2009, 06:45:48 PM
Is anyone familiar with or like Jean-Claude Malgoire?  I was going through one of my LP shelves that hold operas and saw a few long forgotten Handel's operas by Jean-Claude Malgoire.  They are Xerxes and Rinaldo.  I also have Partenope by Sigiswald Kuijken with La Petite Bande.  BTW, this latter recording will be released on CD come 7/21.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41937YAyrKL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 18, 2009, 11:53:02 PM
It looks like the most logical approach for my acquisition of Alan Curtis' Handel operas is via this box set, where Admeto is the only duplicate set - I bought the EMI recording on LP over 20 years ago ...

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

Looks like the Curtis box got us all in the end.....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 19, 2009, 04:26:53 AM
Elgarian......I think I know another person who will soon be buying the Curtis/Virgin opera boxset   >:D

My prediction of 7/3/09 is about to become reality........ ::)

I have been very busy with Mozart and Vivaldi opera recently, my Curtis boxset has not been sampled yet.
I did have the Curtis/Virgin Radamisto seperately and discussed it here recently (great performance), sealed the deal to buy boxset, so much more to come for Handel opera

The "logical" thing to do BTW is stop reading these threads so you can enjoy the music you have and not be constantly
tempted to buy more (and more and more)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 19, 2009, 07:41:55 AM

The "logical" thing to do BTW is stop reading these threads so you can enjoy the music you have and not be constantly
tempted to buy more (and more and more)

Come on.  You need to keep spending to give this economy a shot in the arm ...     ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 19, 2009, 08:05:27 AM
The "logical" thing to do BTW is stop reading these threads so you can enjoy the music you have and not be constantly tempted to buy more (and more and more)

Sorry DA - no time to read your post, or reply. Too busy buying more Handel. And Vivaldi. And Elgar (new collection of songs just out); and Beethoven. And then there are these bankcruptcy documents to deal with.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 19, 2009, 08:07:52 AM
Sorry DA - no time to read your post, or reply. Too busy buying more Handel.
 

Yeah, keep on buying is the word, Elgarian.  Since I am almost done with my Handel oratorio collection, I am turning my attention to his operas ...     ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 19, 2009, 08:29:12 AM
I want to talk about something I mentioned in a previous post, but which is very difficult to express in words, and I'm not sure if it's just a personal thing, or if others experience it.

This phenomenon occurs only with certain kinds of Handel's music. A soprano will be singing; if it's a duet, it's even more likely to happen; it often happens in the cantatas - I'm thinking of the two Helios discs for instance, that Mike and I love so much; or the set of duets I've just bought (see above), with Gillian Fisher and James Bowman.

So what is it, and how can I describe it? The feeling is that the music is somehow energising or enchanting the air itself. Yes, I know that all sound is energy transmitted through the air, but I don't mean just that - not the mere physics of the process. It's a feeling that the voices are actually changing the nature of the air momentarily; the sound becomes almost tangible, as if sprinkled with audible stardust, that I might actually feel if I swept my hands through it; or perhaps it might be described as a feeling that the air is blessed by the music. Forgive me if this sounds gooey or corny - I'm struggling to express the inexpressible here.

I'm not suggesting anything supranormal - this is a purely perceptive experience, 'as if' - but it's a characteristic I encounter again and again in Handel. I've noticed it before in Couperin occasionally, again when two female voices are involved. Oh - and of course it doesn't work at all with headphones. It has to be out there, the music filling the air from loudspeakers.

What I want to know is - does anyone else experience this thing? Or is it just me, and am I nuts?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 19, 2009, 09:48:43 AM
Alan, Not exactly similar, nor by any means confined to Handel. But yes, I can relate to this though I express it differently. I think of it in terms of a stasis, where time stands still and I become unaware of anything other than what I am listening to. There is an elevated, 'other' quality to the music.

In Handel, various passages from Theodora, Julius Caesar the duet between Cornelia and her son, a number of specific arias in Bach cantatas, Strauss Four Last songs, the closing scene from Capriccio. The duet of the Armed Men in Magic Flute, but only in the Klemperer set. Brahms Op118 piano pieces, Bach cello suites.

There is a concentration, but I don't have the powers of expression, it is not mere beauty, something more profound.

Mike




Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 19, 2009, 09:52:46 AM
Looks like the Curtis box got us all in the end.....

It is a no brainer since that box offers lots of value ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 19, 2009, 10:36:16 AM

I want to talk about something I mentioned in a previous post, but which is very difficult to express in words, and I'm not sure if it's just a personal thing, or if others experience it.

This phenomenon occurs only with certain kinds of Handel's music. A soprano will be singing; if it's a duet, it's even more likely to happen; it often happens in the cantatas - I'm thinking of the two Helios discs for instance, that Mike and I love so much; or the set of duets I've just bought (see above), with Gillian Fisher and James Bowman.

So what is it, and how can I describe it? The feeling is that the music is somehow energising or enchanting the air itself. Yes, I know that all sound is energy transmitted through the air, but I don't mean just that - not the mere physics of the process. It's a feeling that the voices are actually changing the nature of the air momentarily; the sound becomes almost tangible, as if sprinkled with audible stardust, that I might actually feel if I swept my hands through it; or perhaps it might be described as a feeling that the air is blessed by the music. Forgive me if this sounds gooey or corney - I'm struggling to express the inexpressible here.

I'm not suggesting anything supranormal - this is a purely perceptive experience, 'as if' - but it's a characteristic I encounter again and again in Handel. I've noticed it before in Couperin occasionally, again when two female voices are involved. Oh - and of course it doesn't work at all with headphones. It has to be out there, the music filling the air from loudspeakers.

What I want to know is - does anyone else experience this thing? Or is it just me, and am I nuts?


That is just the right side of your brain taking over..........the creative inventive side that operates on instinct/imagination and not conscious analytical thought. You are like a bird in flight that glides on the musical air currents, you see/imagine things in a different enhanced way (with no drugs)

What about the actual singers and musicians themselves?
They surrender to thier creative side and magically flow with the music, you cannot consciously think how to play each note of music (that is for practice and learning skills) it must flow naturally during performance........just a different way of thinking when dealing with music and arts in general etc
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 19, 2009, 10:45:36 AM
That first paragraph is a very good description I feel.

Re the second paragraph. I used to sing a great deal in choral works. I was very fortunate to participate in a lot of superb performances. There would indeed be times when it was like flying. One instance was in stretches of the Berlioz Te Deum, I felt as though I could throw away the music, I was locked into an experience that I likened to flying, nothing could go wrong. Another was in the first two long movements of the Missa Solemnis; here the machine was pounding forward in its highly complex configurations. I had prepared so thoroughly that again, I was on  a kind of high, where I knew the work so well, I was free to express it, live in it, no longer perform, but bath in it.

This did not happen often enough, but there were some pieces that would never induce it.

In contrast to the listening experience, where the contemplative takes me out of myself, in performance it was the energy of the instances that I mentioned where I had my sense of flight.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on July 19, 2009, 10:50:41 AM
I've had that air is enchanted feeling with Handel, it's as if the music is magical.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 19, 2009, 12:03:11 PM
That is just the right side of your brain taking over..........the creative inventive side that operates on instinct/imagination and not conscious analytical thought. You are like a bird in flight that glides on the musical air currents, you see/imagine things in a different enhanced way (with no drugs)

I think that's a partial explanation, DA, in that for sure, the right brain has to be engaged with the music for this experience to occur. But there are many other times when my right brain is actively engaged with the music, but I don't get this quasi-physical sensation. For instance, I've never had this experience listening to Elgar, yet his music stimulates my right brain, intuitive, imaginative activity perhaps like no other.

The feeling is very specific to a very particular type of Handel's music, as I said. Of course other music generates different, equally powerful, even overwhelming, imaginative effects; but this one is very specific. The air itself seems alive, as if some magic essence has been breathed into it; it seems full of something indefinable.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 19, 2009, 12:09:12 PM
Re the second paragraph. I used to sing a great deal in choral works. I was very fortunate to participate in a lot of superb performances. There would indeed be times when it was like flying. One instance was in stretches of the Berlioz Te Deum, I felt as though I could throw away the music, I was locked into an experience that I likened to flying, nothing could go wrong. Another was in the first two long movements of the Missa Solemnis; here the machine was pounding forward in its highly complex configurations. I had prepared so thoroughly that again, I was on  a kind of high, where I knew the work so well, I was free to express it, live in it, no longer perform, but bath in it.

It was worth making my post just to elicit this super description of your singing experience. How fabulous, to have experienced that. Those expressions you're using there - 'live in it', 'bathe in it' - they do seem to be coming close to the thing I've been trying to describe. As if ... as if you wouldn't be surprised to find yourself floating a little above the ground, because the air had just gently lifted you without you noticing? That's the thing about this feeling in the air - it's so gentle, so  ... benevolent.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 19, 2009, 12:11:22 PM
I've had that air is enchanted feeling with Handel, it's as if the music is magical.

Excellent. We're obviously talking about the same thing. And reassuring, in that now I know it's not just me who's nuts.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 19, 2009, 12:20:45 PM
Excellent. We're obviously talking about the same thing. And reassuring, in that now I know it's not just me who's nuts.
 

I think this feeling is not limited only to Handel's vocal works.  I actually share similar feeling when I listen to a number of Bach's oratorios or passions.  This feeling is actually quite contagious when I watch Bernada Fink or Dietrich Henschel sing in a number of the Bach DVD's I have - seeing is believing ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 20, 2009, 09:54:13 AM
(http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/images/stories/aci_galatea_polifemo.jpg)

Wow. I'm not going to attempt to say whether I prefer this or the later Acis & Galatea; they're quite different works. But I've been enchanted by this, today - and how marvellous to have both of these approaches, by Handel, to the Acis & Galatea myth. There's one thing worthy of note that strikes me as odd; Aci is sung by a soprano, and Galatea by a mezzo. This takes some getting used to, because one automatically assumes that the higher voice is Galatea, and the lower, Aci. I wonder why Handel did that?

But let's set that curiosity aside. This music is ravishing. It's full of those 'magic in the air' moments we've been talking about. When it finished I went for a walk by the river - we're just a few miles from the estuary here, and walking there on this light, sunny day, watching the water rippling its way towards the sea, it wasn't at all difficult to think of it as Acis, hurrying to embrace Galatea in the sea, despite the absence of any volcanoes in the guise of Polifemo. I was struck by the three-way symbiosis of the myth, the music, and nature; how each feeds the others to the enrichment of all. Perhaps even a four-way symbiosis, actually, because I was being affected by recent delvings into Poussin's Arcadian landscapes, too. Painting, music, myth, and the natural world: an ancient combination.

My admiration fror Handel grows and grows. Aci, Galatea e Polifemo is so good that I suspect it would have granted immortality to any composer who'd produced it; and Handel kept them coming and coming. Delight, magic, lovely singing, some tunes so lovely that they hurt - a 2 CD set for under £10. Just don't think about it. Buy one. Next month I hope to get the Haim version and see which I like best.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 20, 2009, 11:16:25 AM
(http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/images/stories/aci_galatea_polifemo.jpg)

Wow. I'm not going to attempt to say whether I prefer this or the later Acis & Galatea; they're quite different works. But I've been enchanted by this, today - and how marvellous to have both of these approaches, by Handel, to the Acis & Galatea myth. There's one thing worthy of note that strikes me as odd; Aci is sung by a soprano, and Galatea by a mezzo. This takes some getting used to, because one automatically assumes that the higher voice is Galatea, and the lower, Aci. I wonder why Handel did that?

No you can say it...........you prefer the early Italian cantata version  ;)

One would normally think that a sea nymph like Galatea would get the soprano part and the shepard Aci would get the mezzo/alto
I will check my Haim/Virgin set when I get home from work and see how the vocals are handled

It is almost impossible to find a weak work among Handel's early Italian opera/cantata output.
The English oratorios are less appealing to me in general  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 20, 2009, 12:41:12 PM
Elgarian
Haim/Virgin set for Aci, Galatea e Polifemo cantata uses same vocalist arrangement

Aci - soprano (Sandrine Piau)
Galatea - alto (Sara Mingardo)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 20, 2009, 12:52:35 PM

It is almost impossible to find a weak work among Handel's early Italian opera/cantata output.
The English oratorios are less appealing to me in general  
My sentiments exactly.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 20, 2009, 03:50:17 PM
My sentiments exactly.
 

Looking back, it is interesting so see that Handel switched to oratorios when the English people lost their interests in his operas, which nearly ruined him financially. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 20, 2009, 05:34:45 PM
Looking back, it is interesting so see that Handel switched to oratorios when the English people lost their interests in his operas, which nearly ruined him financially. 

More reasons for switch to english language oratorio format:

1)Much cheaper to stage an oratorio, did not use elaborate stage settings like operas, not as much money would be lost if
work had short performance run.

2)Not only did audience better understand the english language works, but also leaders in power did not like Italian culture "forced" upon the population and preferred for nationalistic reasons Handel to produce english language works
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 20, 2009, 05:37:47 PM
More reasons for switch to english language oratorio format:

1)Much cheaper to stage an oratorio, did not use elaborate stage settings like operas, not as much money would be lost if
work had short performance run.

2)Not only did audience better understand the english language works, but also leaders in power did not like Italian culture "forced" upon the population and preferred for nationalistic reasons Handel to produce english language works

Handel was probably able to charge more for admissions to his operas and thereby offset some of the higher expenses.  The bottomline all came down to public reception.

Handel did not begin to compose oratorios in earnest until the 1740's, shortly after George III became the English monarch who was also the third British monarch of the House of Hanover who also spoke English.  Perhaps having an English speaking monarch did help ...

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 20, 2009, 10:33:21 PM
No you can say it...........you prefer the early Italian cantata version  ;)

Ha! I know you want me to, DA - but truly I can't say. The Christie/Daneman/Petibon/Agnew Acis & Galatea is such a superb performance that even if we were talking about the same work, I wouldn't know how to choose. I think this Brilliant classics Aci, Galatea e Polifemo is less outstanding performance-wise, but the music is certainly very fine. As I said - what a great stroke of luck to have both!

Quote
One would normally think that a sea nymph like Galatea would get the soprano part and the shepard Aci would get the mezzo/alto
Yes - as you say later, it's the same on your Haim set. It was Handel's choice to switch the voices, I presume. Odd.

Quote
It is almost impossible to find a weak work among Handel's early Italian opera/cantata output.

Yes. I have a fair collection now, and I wouldn't like to say there was a weak one among them.

Quote
The English oratorios are less appealing to me in general

I don't have extensive experience of them yet, but from what I've heard so far, I find much the same.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 24, 2009, 12:02:15 PM
(http://www.contrastoarmonico.eu/images/stories/aci_galatea_polifemo.jpg)

This will amuse DarkAngel, I think. I'm growing to love this more, and more. I tell myself to sample another opera from the Curtis box, but somehow this is what I find myself slipping into the player. It may be that this 'serenata' displaces the later Acis & Galatea masque in my affections eventually. Not in terms of performance - these singers don't, for me, reach the heights that Daneman etc reach. But for sheer lyrical delight, some of these arias take some beating, and there's a gorgeous trio in the second part. The whole thing is beautifully paced, too. My only quibble is that, at the end, I think we get just a bit too much of Polifemo, who narrates what's going on with Aci (now transformed into a river) at some length. This sort of makes sense dramatically, because he's actually the only character remaining; but since Aci and Galatea come back anyway for the last couple of minutes, it hardly seems to matter.

But who cares, really, when the music is this good. I will definitely get the Haim version; and I wonder if there are any others? I shall investigate. But if there's anyone out there reading this and wanting a quick Handelian thrill, and cheap - you can't do better than buy one of these 2CD sets on the Brilliant label.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on July 24, 2009, 12:46:27 PM
This thread has been VERY active. Too active for me, slow as I am.  ;D

"ERROR #55932001.32: INFORMATION OVERLOAD"
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on July 24, 2009, 10:27:44 PM
Alan, I have the Haim recording. It is fine and dandy. The singers are excellent. It may sound odd when I cannot put my finger on it, but Haim's work does not really satisfy me. She garners praise, but I sense a lack of architectural grip, to my ears the piece feels episodic. But the music is nevertheless very lovely.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 24, 2009, 11:06:18 PM
Alan, I have the Haim recording. It is fine and dandy. The singers are excellent. It may sound odd when I cannot put my finger on it, but Haim's work does not really satisfy me. She garners praise, but I sense a lack of architectural grip, to my ears the piece feels episodic. But the music is nevertheless very lovely.

I understand those misgivings to some extent Mike, because of my reaction to that collection of duets she did with a bundle of stars (Dessay, Petibon etc). It should have been wonderful - all those stars - and we know what we know about Handel's duets, do we not? But it remains an unsatisfactory hotchpotch.

I have Haim's Trionfo, which I enjoy very well - very well indeed, as a matter of fact - but I wonder if it too might seem episodic if compared with other versions? However, I definitely want to explore alternative versions of A, G, & Polifemo, and Haim's seems the obvious one to try unless anyone has any other suggestions?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 25, 2009, 04:45:55 AM
This will amuse DarkAngel, I think. I'm growing to love this more, and more. I tell myself to sample another opera from the Curtis box, but somehow this is what I find myself slipping into the player. It may be that this 'serenata' displaces the later Acis & Galatea masque in my affections eventually.

Ha ha the worm slowly turns........
There is just a certain spontaneity and excitement in his early Italian works that seems to have been subdued in his later English language period, perhaps it is just the bird of youthful fancy that was not yet reigned in

The Curtis boxset still patiently awaits my attention..........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 01, 2009, 03:39:54 PM
Just ordered this set this evening and began my quest of hopefully owning every Handel opera that is currently available.  Airmail from the UK is almost 20% of the price of this set ...    ???

I am giving a tiny shot in the arm for the UK economy.     ;D 

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on August 01, 2009, 09:32:26 PM
Just ordered this set this evening and began my quest of hopefully owning every Handel opera that is currently available.  Airmail from the UK is almost 20% of the price of this set ...    ???

I am giving a tiny shot in the arm for the UK economy.     ;D  

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

This set is now even further discounted at mdt; 27 £ .......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on August 01, 2009, 11:44:37 PM
(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

This set is now even further discounted at mdt; 27 £ .......

Indeed - they're almost giving them away now. We should've waited!!

I've just ordered these, to take advantage of Hyperion's July sale prices:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571174631.png)  (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571120508.png)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 02, 2009, 02:50:10 AM
Indeed - they're almost giving them away now. We should've waited!!

I've just ordered these, to take advantage of Hyperion's July sale prices:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571174631.png)  (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571120508.png)

 
I ordered the set at MDT, the only non-US e-tailer I have ever dealt with.  The airmail cost to the US is almost 20% of the price.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on August 07, 2009, 03:15:37 PM
I am giving a tiny shot in the arm for the UK economy.     ;D 

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

The boxset has been cracked open finally........but all it is not perfect here for Curtis after 1st three operas

Rodrigo
Not sure if it is the work itself or the performance, but I was bored to tears with this, a cure for insomniacs, rate 3/10 only because the sound quality is very good

Radamisto
Discussed earlier in this thread as a seperate purchase great performance and sound, rate 9/10 I love it!
Hard to believe this was done by same conductor.......can't be that much better work than Rodrigo can it?

Admeto
Is also a miss but not quite as bad as Rodrigo, slow and devoid of life and dramtic impact, rate 5/10
I hope things pick up for 2nd half of this boxset  :-\

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on August 07, 2009, 03:23:06 PM
I see a possible reason why I am very dissappointed with 2 of 3 in this set:

Rodrigo 1997 & Admeto 1977 (yes that is right date!)
Radamisto 2003
Seems Curtis has really stepped up his baroque game from 1997-2003

Remaining operas:
Fernando 2005
Armino 2000
Deidamia 2002
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on August 07, 2009, 11:15:34 PM
I see a possible reason why I am very dissappointed with 2 of 3 in this set:

Rodrigo 1997 & Admeto 1977 (yes that is right date!)
Radamisto 2003
Seems Curtis has really stepped up his baroque game from 1997-2003

I must say, I hadn't looked at the dates of the recordings. That 1977 is remarkable! I listened to a large chunk of Deidamia recently, though not very attentively because I was doing something else at the time. It was entertaining enough, though I didn't experience any 'stop doing this and listen properly' moments.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 08, 2009, 06:13:47 AM
I must say, I hadn't looked at the dates of the recordings. That 1977 is remarkable! I listened to a large chunk of Deidamia recently, though not very attentively because I was doing something else at the time. It was entertaining enough, though I didn't experience any 'stop doing this and listen properly' moments.
 

I have Admeto on a 3 or 4-LP set, which I bought in the early to mid 80's.  I may have some other Handel's operas by Curtis on LP as well but I have to check.  At any rate, I have no complaints since I paid about $50 with shipping from the UK while most US e-tailers are selling this set for $75.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 09, 2009, 12:56:37 PM
I must say, I hadn't looked at the dates of the recordings. That 1977 is remarkable! I listened to a large chunk of Deidamia recently, though not very attentively because I was doing something else at the time. It was entertaining enough, though I didn't experience any 'stop doing this and listen properly' moments.

I may digitize my LP version of Admeto one of these days and do an A-B comparison with the same work in the CD-set, which will probably arrive from MDT next week.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 12, 2009, 01:01:36 PM
The following set arrived yesterday.  I hope to get to it some times this weekend.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 15, 2009, 09:09:01 AM
Now playing the first opera Rodrigo from this set.  Anyone has heard this recording and cares to share some insights?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on August 15, 2009, 02:11:00 PM
Now playing the first opera Rodrigo from this set.  Anyone has heard this recording and cares to share some insights?

I did comment on it just a couple posts back #595   ::)

I found it a quite booring performance.......hard to believe the same conductor did the excellent Radamisto from same set
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 15, 2009, 02:21:13 PM
I did comment on it just a couple posts back #595   ::)

I found it a quite booring performance.......hard to believe the same conductor did the excellent Radamisto from same set

On balance, Rodrigo was a little dry.  The solo singing was reasonably good.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on August 15, 2009, 02:31:47 PM
Overall the Curtis boxset was a mild disappointment.......even at the low price

My final short scorecard of the operas:

very good - Radamisto
good - Fernando, Deidamia
below average - Admeto, Arminio
dud - Rodrigo

The bar has been raised very high recently for baroque performance and several operas here just don't make the grade.
Radamisto is wonderful and the newer Archiv label work by Curtis like Alcina are likewise very good, so I think the key
for Curtis is stick to his newer performances
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on August 15, 2009, 02:33:40 PM
On balance, Rodrigo was a little dry.  The solo singing was reasonably good.

Somehow I think you are just being too nice, sometimes you have to seperate the wheat from the chaff  :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 15, 2009, 02:42:59 PM
Somehow I think you are just being too nice, sometimes you have to seperate the wheat from the chaff  :D


You live and learn.  Even as I started collecting Handel operas over 20 years ago, it is still a subgenre that I feel I am less familiar with than with oratorios ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on August 17, 2009, 11:27:26 PM
Overall the Curtis boxset was a mild disappointment.......even at the low price
My final short scorecard of the operas:

very good - Radamisto
good - Fernando, Deidamia
below average - Admeto, Arminio
dud - Rodrigo

for Curtis is stick to his newer performances

I see the price of the set is sinking steadily lower - last one I saw was almost half the price I paid.

I'm still lagging behind I'm afraid - Radamisto is terrific, I agree; Deidamia was fine, I thought. But I'm now rather reluctant to try Rodrigo in the light of these comments, particularly when I'm enjoying other Handel pieces so much. I've been listening again to this, for instance:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571172835.png)

This is now one of my very favourite Handel recordings. The marvellous tunes just never stop coming; the singing is superb, and there are moments so moving that I'm tempted to think music doesn't ever really get any better than this. So, what with this, and the recent Aci/Galatea/Polifemo revelation, and the early cantatas, the operas are getting neglected just now.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 18, 2009, 03:59:15 PM
I see the price of the set is sinking steadily lower - last one I saw was almost half the price I paid.

I'm still lagging behind I'm afraid - Radamisto is terrific, I agree; Deidamia was fine, I thought. But I'm now rather reluctant to try Rodrigo in the light of these comments, particularly when I'm enjoying other Handel pieces so much. I've been listening again to this, for instance:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571172835.png)

This is now one of my very favourite Handel recordings. The marvellous tunes just never stop coming; the singing is superb, and there are moments so moving that I'm tempted to think music doesn't ever really get any better than this. So, what with this, and the recent Aci/Galatea/Polifemo revelation, and the early cantatas, the operas are getting neglected just now.

This is an excellent recording.  I zipped through the set a tad too fast ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 21, 2009, 08:27:25 AM
Now playing the first opera Radamisto from this set.  Ezio should be in the shopping cart once I am through with listening to this set ... 

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/4778073.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on August 22, 2009, 08:42:31 AM
Now playing the third opera Admeto from this set.  I actually find this opera quite delightful.  I also have had the LP version of the same recording for over 20 years.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/6958622.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 13, 2009, 06:26:14 AM
So it is Marc Minkowski vs. Alan Curtis.  Who comes out on top, we can have a vote?  I personally prefer Alan Curtis ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 13, 2009, 06:42:24 AM
So it is Marc Minkowski vs. Alan Curtis.  Who comes out on top, we can have a vote?  I personally prefer Alan Curtis ...

The new Alan Curtis that records for Archiv label certainly sounds much better to me than the old version of Alan Curtis represented by many operas in the Virgin boxset........the standout exception being Radamisto which was easily the best performance of the Virgin boxset for me.

So my answer in general is:

new Curtis/Archiv > Minkowski > old Curtis/Virgin

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 13, 2009, 06:53:31 AM
The new Alan Curtis that records for Archiv label certainly sounds much better to me than the old version of Alan Curtis represented by many operas in the Virgin boxset........the standout exception being Radamisto which was easily the best performance of the Virgin boxset for me.

So my answer in general is:

new Curtis/Archiv > Minkowski > old Curtis/Virgin


 

The only full-length Handel's opera by Marc Minkowski I own is Giulio Cesare.  While the latter is a nice recording, it suffers from a lack of credible comparison.  The only other version I have is the verson by Karl Richter on LP.  At any rate, Minkowski's Messiah is NOT particularly well received.  OTOH, I now have quite a few Alan Curtis' recordings.  I have supplemented a few of his Handel's operas on LP with the Virgin's box, Tolomeo, Floridante and Rodelinda.  Alcina and Ezio will probably be next. 


 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 19, 2009, 05:00:45 AM
How do you folks, my fellow Handel's admirers, like this set?  I already have the set by William Christie, but what the heck?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aXYYd7A4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 19, 2009, 06:30:42 AM
Netflix is shipping what will be my first experience with Handel's operas--

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Oct08/Handel_Orlando_101309.jpg)

Any particular thoughts on this opera and this performance?  I will get to enjoy it in high definition with dts-hd ma soundtrack.  Big step up from the last time I watched an opera... which was on vhs! ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 19, 2009, 07:28:47 AM
How do you folks, my fellow Handel's admirers, like this set?  I already have the set by William Christie, but what the heck?
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aXYYd7A4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Sorry Coop - I only have the Christie set. I'd like to know your opinion though, when you've listened to it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 20, 2009, 03:03:51 PM
Sorry Coop - I only have the Christie set. I'd like to know your opinion though, when you've listened to it.

No problems Elgarian.  This probably won't happen until I am through with listening through a bunch of Renaissance CD's currently on order.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 20, 2009, 03:43:48 PM
Netflix is shipping what will be my first experience with Handel's operas--

(http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2008/Oct08/Handel_Orlando_101309.jpg)

Any particular thoughts on this opera and this performance?  I will get to enjoy it in high definition with dts-hd ma soundtrack.  Big step up from the last time I watched an opera... which was on vhs! ;D

Netflix is a good source to view opera DVD before purchase...........amazing how expensive opera DVDs are, so pays to be sure they are
going to please you

Be very careful with modern versions of baroque opera, they can sometimes be strange bizarre affairs that leave you shaking your head.
Haven't seen the Orlando you show, but best Handel opera DVD I have seen is: (also available at Netflix)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2009, 03:54:27 PM
Be very careful with modern versions of baroque opera, they can sometimes be strange bizarre affairs that leave you shaking your head.

I was wondering about that! :D  They don't change the music though right?  I'm hoping that it's kind of along the lines of those WWII-esque Shakespeare adaptations. :-\

Quote
Haven't seen the Orlando you show, but best Handel opera DVD I have seen is: (also available at Netflix)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I'll put it on my que! :)  I started this renting opera business because Ross' book inspired me to watch Salome, and I also put Orlando on the que too, and just happened to have them ship at the same time. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 20, 2009, 04:28:34 PM
I found some youtube vids of Orlando........actually I may have to get that from netflix also :D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoowG6KzA3U&feature=PlayList&p=0E4889E127CDA71F&index=2 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoowG6KzA3U&feature=PlayList&p=0E4889E127CDA71F&index=2)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BXmqsQxKyw&feature=PlayList&p=0E4889E127CDA71F&index=3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BXmqsQxKyw&feature=PlayList&p=0E4889E127CDA71F&index=3)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwP9bDeKag&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhwP9bDeKag&feature=related)

Marijana Mijanovic is familiar to me from the excellent Vivaldi Bajazet opera CD Biondi/Virgin
She has very expressive facial movements and a natural tomboy appearance which helps when you are playing a male role
in baroque operas.......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2009, 05:03:01 PM
Wow DarkAngel she is very expressive! :o 

It's funny I was wondering if it would be like those Shakespeare--WWII modernizations, and yup that looks like it, and I now checked and it's WWI. :D  Well I'm still interested, those looking for strictly period piece would likely pass but I look forward to it. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 20, 2009, 05:20:32 PM
For some strange reason I could not take my eyes off the "action" in 2nd middle video.............. >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 20, 2009, 06:10:34 PM
For some strange reason I could not take my eyes off the "action" in 2nd middle video.............. >:D

Yeah that's a hot nurse, seems almost like a setup for a porno... ;D

 :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 20, 2009, 11:59:47 PM
best Handel opera DVD I have seen is: (also available at Netflix)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Message to DavidW: Just adding my opinion to DA's. This is not just the best Handel opera DVD I've seen. It's one of the two or three best opera DVDs by anyone I've ever seen. It is seriously amazing.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 21, 2009, 02:13:54 AM
Message to DavidW: Just adding my opinion to DA's. This is not just the best Handel opera DVD I've seen. It's one of the two or three best opera DVDs by anyone I've ever seen. It is seriously amazing.

Alright I've added it to my queue. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 23, 2009, 12:33:55 PM
I was walking by the river this afternoon - a lovely afternoon with a warm wind, blue sky, and clouds like cauliflower tops, and I found myself very conscious of a kind of synthesis of music, art, and nature that's been developing while I've been listening to Handel's Italian cantatas, operas and so on. The works that have attracted me most have tended to be the predominantly Arcadian works - Acis & Galatea, the pastoral passages from L'Allegro, and a whole bunch of the cantatas. While this has been going on over several months, I've also been dipping into books on Claude Lorrain, and a newly acquired one on Poussin:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Xd60Jy-VL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)                    (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v82/Alan_/LuneValleysmall.jpg)

And while all this has been going on, I've been regularly doing another favourite pursuit - walking by the river.

What I'm finding is that all three of these activities are becoming intertwined in a delectable and increasingly satisfying way. The music feeds the imaginative response to the paintings. The paintings create a shift in my perception of the river and the valley and the trees and the fields. They in turn feed me with imagined landscapes when I listen to, or recall, the music. The real valley, coloured and mythicised by the Poussin landscapes, becomes a backdrop for an imagined enactment of Acis & Galatea, in which the mythical characters merge with, or personify or animate the landscape, and so the process goes on, with the music feeding the art, and the art feeding the response to the valley, and then that feeds back into the music, in an endless loop.

I'm not sure what I can conclude from all this, except to observe that with this tripartite intertwinement going on, any notion of 'absolute music', or of the arts being independent of each other, goes right out of the window. And in this context, those lovely cantatas - which some might describe as 'artificial' constructs - take their place as a perfectly harmonious component of an imagined, mythicised naturalism; so that a simple thing like a walk by the river can become a deeply enriching, and almost visionary experience of nature, art and music all in one.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 23, 2009, 03:20:33 PM
Elgarian......I see you have acquired the good habit of observing the world around you, a wonderful harmonius cycle
nature > music > imagination...........all building upon each other

Life is good and we are here only a short time, we celibrate its beauty and sing the praises musical arts here at this forum.
Many people are too focussed with lifes probelms to enjoy the beauty of simple things all around them.



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 24, 2009, 11:57:29 AM
My angel Danielle DeNiese in full flight, live outdoor performance at intimate Princes Canal Concert with very small orchestra 8/2009. Love her boundless energy and infectious joy, a pure delight watching this artist........17 yr old trumpeter also pretty good (shouldn't he be at home getting ready for school tomorrow)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjRnHrYbJ8g&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjRnHrYbJ8g&feature=related)

Many other videos from same concert available, I will have to see if a Blue Ray version of this becomes available   :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 24, 2009, 12:36:45 PM
My angel Danielle DeNiese in full flight, live outdoor performance at intimate Princes Canal Concert with very small orchestra 8/2009. Love her boundless energy and infectious joy, a pure delight watching this artist........17 yr old trumpeter also pretty good (shouldn't he be at home getting ready for school tomorrow)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjRnHrYbJ8g&feature=related (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjRnHrYbJ8g&feature=related)

Many other videos from same concert available, I will have to see if a Blue Ray version of this becomes available   :D

Oh great. Thanks for this DA. She is the ultimate performer, isn't she? She injects life and vibrancy into everything she touches. Even when, sometimes, I find myself wanting perhaps a more subtle approach, I can't help smiling and giving in, and just going along with the ride. And that trumpet certainly rocks, doesn't it?

And, as somebody shouts at the end: 'Yeah!'
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on September 24, 2009, 01:32:24 PM
I like that Dark Angel, this was one is also wonderful--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GssMS-fypiU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GssMS-fypiU)

 :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 24, 2009, 02:51:59 PM
I like that Dark Angel, this was one is also wonderful--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GssMS-fypiU (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GssMS-fypiU)

 :)

Oh yes, Danni can melt your heart also................

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 26, 2009, 08:27:38 AM
Elgarian......I see you have acquired the good habit of observing the world around you, a wonderful harmonius cycle
nature > music > imagination...........all building upon each other

Life is good and we are here only a short time, we celibrate its beauty and sing the praises musical arts here at this forum.
Many people are too focussed with lifes probelms to enjoy the beauty of simple things all around them.





Elgarian needs to listen to this recording to enjoy even better harmony ...

 ;D

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/a8/27/2edab340dca0d01279cc3010.L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2009, 09:53:14 AM
Elgarian needs to listen to this recording to enjoy even better harmony ...

I'm sure there's a good deal of harmony in there for you and others, Coop, but sadly I'm very unlikely to rush to buy anything by Pinnock in the near future: I just can't get into his Mozart symphonies despite trying hard and for some time. I'm sure they're very worthy, but just not for me. It's built up into a kind of prejudice - a bit like the problem you have with Jacobs, which we once talked about. So purely personally speaking, I'd be looking for blacksmithing harmony somewhere else.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 26, 2009, 01:25:41 PM
I'm sure there's a good deal of harmony in there for you and others, Coop, but sadly I'm very unlikely to rush to buy anything by Pinnock in the near future: I just can't get into his Mozart symphonies despite trying hard and for some time. I'm sure they're very worthy, but just not for me. It's built up into a kind of prejudice - a bit like the problem you have with Jacobs, which we once talked about. So purely personally speaking, I'd be looking for blacksmithing harmony somewhere else.

But it is Handel we have been discussing.  I do not own any Pinnock's Mozart recordings and do not intend to get any either.   OTOH, Hogwood's Mozart recordings are actually quite good.

I still have not bought into Minkowski.  I prefer Alan Curtis over Minkowski by a very wide margin.  But Alan Curtis is no new discovery for me, as I bought quite a number of his early Handel's operas on LP in the early to mid 80's, which have been largely forgotten, sitting on the shelves and collecting dust.  I think I am now pretty close to owning every Handel opera CD set recorded by Curtis.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 26, 2009, 10:36:14 PM
But it is Handel we have been discussing.

Indeed. I wasn't suggesting my prejudice was reasonable; just that it's there, and affects my choices.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 27, 2009, 03:43:44 AM
Indeed. I wasn't suggesting my prejudice was reasonable; just that it's there, and affects my choices.

IMO, John Eliot Gardiner is the only one of the three English HIP conductors from the 80's - Gardiner, Hogwood and Pinnock, who has successfully transformed himself into conductor of classical and romantic works which have been well received.  While Pinnock's Haydn may be fine but I would not try his Mozart.  Hogwood's Beethoven cycle was a bit of a mixed bag, though his Mozart recordings have been well received.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on September 27, 2009, 09:39:17 AM
You are forgeting about Norrington who is increasingly gaining critical approval for his movement into the Romantic and Classical repertoire.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 27, 2009, 10:07:03 AM
You are forgeting about Norrington who is increasingly gaining critical approval for his movement into the Romantic and Classical repertoire.

Mike

You have a point there.  I only have 2 CD recordings by Norrington, his Beethoven 9th on EMI and his Purcell's Fairy Queen.  I really was not too overwhelmed by his Beethoven 9th, which I bought in the early 90's.  What are some of his defining recordings?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on September 27, 2009, 10:19:26 AM
I think his Berlioz Symphonie is first rate. He has had some mixed reviews for some Bruckner recently, but even those who were not convinced said it was fascinating music making. I also read a good review of his Holst Planets. Mainly though I think his increased reputation arises from his increasing range of concert work.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 29, 2009, 01:09:08 PM
The dam has burst............flood of new baroque diva Cds just released

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41RBxFrCfzL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41JVgk5PakL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516kPK6jH7L._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yzybLWKtL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The Karina Gauvin CD is very interesting, an Italian composer named Nicola Porpora active in early/mid 1700s (with Handel and Vivaldi) that has 48 operas, never heard of him but these samples sound great........amazing baroque treasures surfacing recently!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 29, 2009, 04:23:20 PM
The dam has burst............flood of new baroque diva Cds just released
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yzybLWKtL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

The Karina Gauvin CD is very interesting, an Italian composer named Nicola Porpora active in early/mid 1700s (with Handel and Vivaldi) that has 48 operas, never heard of him but these samples sound great........amazing baroque treasures surfacing recently!

I have the following CD's by Karina Gauvin ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/510KVIECAwL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)    (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/411SqYLFfPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)     (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51BcdzaZMBL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517uilRxUSL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on September 29, 2009, 09:09:03 PM


The Karina Gauvin CD is very interesting, an Italian composer named Nicola Porpora active in early/mid 1700s (with Handel and Vivaldi) that has 48 operas, never heard of him but these samples sound great........amazing baroque treasures surfacing recently!
Handels main competitor for a period in London and one of the main reasons Handels first (IIRC) opera company went belly up. There's also a recent cantata CD on Hyperion that you might want to investigate.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 30, 2009, 12:07:06 AM
There's also a recent cantata CD on Hyperion that you might want to investigate.

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571176215.png)

Details here:
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67621&f=porpora (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67621&f=porpora)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on September 30, 2009, 12:12:17 AM
Yes, I got mine at half price on "Please somebody buy me". Lucky me!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on September 30, 2009, 05:17:39 AM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571176215.png)

Details here:
http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67621&f=porpora (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67621&f=porpora)

Some interesting background.......
Nicola Porpora taught many great singers including Farinelli, also young Joseph Haydn studied music under Porpora........quite a resume of influence!
Lived to very old age of 82, hope we see more of his work in the future

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porpora (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porpora)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 30, 2009, 07:43:23 AM
Lucky me!

Lucky we.  :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 30, 2009, 03:57:05 PM
Handels main competitor for a period in London and one of the main reasons Handels first (IIRC) opera company went belly up. There's also a recent cantata CD on Hyperion that you might want to investigate.
 

Just as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart had the rivalry with Antonio Salieri, Handel also had a rival in Nicola Porpora.  But Handel was probably the eventual victor ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on September 30, 2009, 11:56:52 PM
Lucky we.  :)
Happy, happy, happy we was how Handel expressed it (Acis and galatea).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 01, 2009, 12:20:15 AM
Happy, happy, happy we was how Handel expressed it (Acis and galatea).

Yes indeed - we're thinking in unison! (After I made my previous post, I very nearly went back and added the quote myself, but got distracted by something else.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 03, 2009, 05:36:58 PM
Well I finally had time to watch that bd of Orlando and man sublime music!  Excellent acting, strange but intoxicating plot, just like the music.  It was WONDERFUL!! :) :) :)

I need to watch more operas, especially written by Handel. 8)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 03, 2009, 08:07:25 PM
I need to watch more operas, especially written by Handel. 8)

In short, you need:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Lethevich on October 03, 2009, 09:06:13 PM
In short, you need:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

[2]!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 04, 2009, 12:28:26 AM
[2]!

As you say, 2 copies would be even better.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 04, 2009, 05:25:18 AM
Well I finally had time to watch that bd of Orlando and man sublime music!  Excellent acting, strange but intoxicating plot, just like the music.  It was WONDERFUL!! :) :) :)

I need to watch more operas, especially written by Handel. 8)


 8)  I have a decent sized collection of classical concerts on DVD but do not have any operas yet.  I think I will start with Handel operas.  Since I already have most of the recorded Handel's operas on CD. it is time to get some on DVD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 04, 2009, 06:00:39 AM
Yup it's on the queue Elgarian. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on October 04, 2009, 06:41:03 AM
Well I finally had time to watch that bd of Orlando and man sublime music!  Excellent acting, strange but intoxicating plot, just like the music.  It was WONDERFUL!! :) :) :)

I need to watch more operas, especially written by Handel. 8)

Very exciting times now for baroque opera, we have wonderful imaginative productions that actually use real acting and choreographed dance along with singing.......not the wooden stautue / costumed robot style of stand and deliver the aria old boring routine, no need to watch these as the visuals would actually be a complete let down compared to the exciting music. If you listen to much of Handels music it suggests movement and dance elements which are now being utilized..........

When you are ready for the ultimate Handel DVD experience do what must be done...........Cesare!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 04, 2009, 11:14:41 AM
In short, you need:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Was the Sarah Connolly in this Handel's opera the same as this one?  They are very different repertoire ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5155PBTQVNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 04, 2009, 12:15:32 PM
Was the Sarah Connolly in this Handel's opera the same as this one?  They are very different repertoire ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5155PBTQVNL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Yes. She will astonish you.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 04, 2009, 12:20:59 PM
Yes. She will astonish you.

I do not have any of her recordings yet.  Any recommendation besides this DVD?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Bulldog on October 04, 2009, 12:44:15 PM
I do not have any of her recordings yet.  Any recommendation besides this DVD?

This one on the Coro label is excellent.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 04, 2009, 01:22:53 PM
I do not have any of her recordings yet.  Any recommendation besides this DVD?

I've seen her live, singing Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti, and she was wonderful - but in Cesare she somehow defines her character in a thoroughly unforgettable way and it must be close to her finest hour. Close my eyes, and I see her as Giulio - the look, the attitude, the voice.

I'm not as fond of her Handel collection as Bulldog is, but this is just a matter of personal preference. I have her recording of Dido & Aeneas (Purcell), which seems pretty good - though it's not a work I know well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 04, 2009, 06:34:01 PM

I'm not as fond of her Handel collection as Bulldog is, but this is just a matter of personal preference. I have her recording of Dido & Aeneas (Purcell), which seems pretty good - though it's not a work I know well.

It looks like Sarah Connolly has mainly recorded for the Coro label, which has yet to make its way into my collection ...    ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 06, 2009, 02:03:31 PM
Oh I've made this order to get more Handel operas and oratorios (and a few other goodies)

I didn't know about these bargain sets before-- Handel Edition.  6 cd set of goodies conducted by Harnoncourt.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41NfdKy3mjL._SS400_.jpg)

And 6 cd set of goodies conducted by Christie, who also conducted Orlando on the bd that I watched.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41eQrNKzghL._SS400_.jpg)

 8)

Any thoughts on these recordings? :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 01:13:27 AM
Oh I've made this order to get more Handel operas and oratorios (and a few other goodies)
Any thoughts on these recordings? :)

I have that Alcina/Orlando box, David (one of my first Handel opera purchases in my Handel opera explosion of this last year). I don't have any other versions to compare them with, but I suppose that's because I've enjoyed these so much that I haven't felt the need to get alternatives (yet!). In fact, these contributed to my vague notion, early on, that Christie might be able to walk on water. The Alcina is notably packed with stars of course (and I seem to recall that it's been criticised for a certain lack of unity arising from that), but I haven't noticed any problem in that respect, and it contains some tremendous singing - Natalie Dessay being particularly wonderful at the closing of Act I.

The downside is that there are no librettos in the box, though there's a link to them online. But 6 CDs of Christie & Handel at this low price is a snip no matter what way you look at it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 04:37:04 AM
That's a strong endorsement!  Awesome! :)  I'll just have to find the libretti online and print them out in advance. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on October 07, 2009, 05:58:17 AM
I have 4 of those boxsets extremely cheap........the ones to get first are by William Christie. (like one you show)

Then get any Gardiner, Minkowski boxes........
Harnoncourt would not be the first choice for Handel opera or oratorio, but at these prices can't go too wrong

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EBQczAOuL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41qt2BIWmQL._SL500_AA240_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31O1Ubse5PL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 07:30:39 AM
Thanks Dark Angel, that will help guide me in purchasing future box sets if these prove to be satisfactory. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 07:34:20 AM
David, that Christie Acis & Galatea is one of my very favourite Handel recordings (the singing by Daneman and Petibon is as delectable as anything I know), and the Theodora is very fine, too. I have them in their original issues (ie with librettos in a booklet), but again, you really cannot go wrong with that cheap box with both of them in it. No need to hesitate, not at all.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 07:40:11 AM
Coolness!  The box sets are averaging about $15 per for 6 cds, so I won't hesitate if I like the christie box that's on it's way.  The blowitoutahere store that I bought the other two from uses priority mail which is even more encouragement to order more. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 07, 2009, 07:51:28 AM
The box sets are averaging about $15 per for 6 cds
Unbelievable! Do those guys have cheap gold and diamonds for sale, too?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 08:11:47 AM
Unbelievable! Do those guys have cheap gold and diamonds for sale, too?

Yeah it's pretty sweet isn't it? :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 07, 2009, 07:07:03 PM
Coolness!  The box sets are averaging about $15 per for 6 cds, so I won't hesitate if I like the christie box that's on it's way.  The blowitoutahere store that I bought the other two from uses priority mail which is even more encouragement to order more. :)


I discovered blowitoutahere a few months ago and have been buying a good number of CD's from that store.  It has certainly blown away the Amazon's prices for sure ... 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 07, 2009, 07:40:45 PM


I discovered blowitoutahere a few months ago and have been buying a good number of CD's from that store.  It has certainly blown away the Amazon's prices for sure ... 

I think I saw you or someone else talking about it awhile back, but the name was so funny that I thought that a joke was being made! :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on October 08, 2009, 04:18:43 AM
I think I saw you or someone else talking about it awhile back, but the name was so funny that I thought that a joke was being made! :D

I think I mentioned many pages back that I purchased all 4 of my Handel boxsets from Amazon USA seller "blowitoutahere" for $15-17 each. Not only are they extremely cheap but shipping is very fast with great packaging........A+++ seller

These are great introductions to these works and some versions still hold up quite well, however the baroque performance bar has been raised greatly in last 10 years and there are sometimes great new performances available that surpass these versions..........unfortunately a costly upgrade to entertain since a single new opera/oratorio boxset costs more than these entire 6CD sets  :o
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 08, 2009, 05:56:03 PM
I think I saw you or someone else talking about it awhile back, but the name was so funny that I thought that a joke was being made! :D

George and I both bought the Martha Agerich's The Collection 2 - the Concertos
from blowitoutahere at a great price.  I also bought a number of other sets at great prices, though I did not get any of the Handel's sets there.  I got most of the Handel's sets at MDT.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 09, 2009, 06:04:34 PM
In short, you need:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ZMAbXQoFL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

BTW, was this opera staged in traditional (i.e. historically informed) costumes?  
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 10, 2009, 12:33:41 AM
BTW, was this opera staged in traditional (i.e. historically informed) costumes?  

The setting is transposed into a roughly late 19th century period, but although I am extremely resistant to these sort of period adjustments (the much-acclaimed Glyndebourne Theodora, for example, is quite spoiled for me), in the case of Giulio Cesare, everything is done so perfectly that I'm completely won over. There are plenty of excerpts on Youtube, Coop, so you can get some idea of the sort of thing it is.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on October 10, 2009, 01:35:24 AM
Slightly OT; but I still think it is appropriate for us Handel lovers. Hyperion is reissuing this a a Dyad:


(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/CDD22073.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2009, 04:59:29 AM
The setting is transposed into a roughly late 19th century period, but although I am extremely resistant to these sort of period adjustments (the much-acclaimed Glyndebourne Theodora, for example, is quite spoiled for me), in the case of Giulio Cesare, everything is done so perfectly that I'm completely won over. There are plenty of excerpts on Youtube, Coop, so you can get some idea of the sort of thing it is.


I have my misgivings for these non-historical "transposition" in the staging of an opera.  I guess this trend was started when the Wagner Ring recorded by Pierre Boulez back in the 80's when he cast the Rhinemaidens as a bunch of prostitutes with some 19th century smokestack setting.  I am just too old-fashioned to appreciate such non-traditional approach.        ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DavidW on October 10, 2009, 06:52:15 AM
Well I received my box sets yesterday, no listening yet, I was too tired and busy for anything but Bach cantatas.  But once I've done my horrible work for the day (writing tests) I'll enjoy either some Handel or watch Don Giovanni.  Or both, if the tests don't take too long. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on October 10, 2009, 09:49:40 AM
I have my misgivings for these non-historical "transposition" in the staging of an opera.

I have more than misgivings. I need to be dragged towards them, kicking and screaming. Yet even so, the Giulio Cesare is so brilliant as to sweep away all my prejudice (almost uniquely).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on October 10, 2009, 12:14:44 PM
I have more than misgivings. I need to be dragged towards them, kicking and screaming. Yet even so, the Giulio Cesare is so brilliant as to sweep away all my prejudice (almost uniquely).
 

I have to decide if I want to buy the DVD.  I have my reservations ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on October 11, 2009, 06:33:30 AM
I have to decide if I want to buy the DVD.  I have my reservations ...

Consider joining Netflix DVD rental service.......very large selection of recent opera DVDs
Online website lets you pick DVD and arrives in mail 1-2 days later (no booklets just DVD discs), keep as long as you like, then return mail
in supplied mailer and they will ship out next DVD in your list.

Great service to screen opera DVDs as well as just watch regular movies, they have large selection of
latest blue ray DVDs also..........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 01, 2009, 04:59:45 AM
Consider joining Netflix DVD rental service.......very large selection of recent opera DVDs
Online website lets you pick DVD and arrives in mail 1-2 days later (no booklets just DVD discs), keep as long as you like, then return mail
in supplied mailer and they will ship out next DVD in your list.

Great service to screen opera DVDs as well as just watch regular movies, they have large selection of
latest blue ray DVDs also..........

DA,  Haven't noticed Elgarian online for a while ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 01, 2009, 05:45:49 AM
DA,  Haven't noticed Elgarian online for a while ...

Perhaps he is on "holiday" over in UK or taking long strolls along river bank.......

Also he may have taken a 2nd job to pay for all his recent purchases at this forum  >:D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 01, 2009, 05:54:41 AM
Perhaps he is on "holiday" over in UK or taking long strolls along river bank.......

Also he may have taken a 2nd job to pay for all his recent purchases at this forum  >:D

We should get Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios 2.0 going ...    0:)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 03, 2009, 01:24:15 PM
DA,  Haven't noticed Elgarian online for a while ...

He's been walking the Malvern Hills and attending the English Touring Opera Handel festival: Alcina 3 stars; Ariodante 4/5 stars (I wept buckets during Anne Marie Gibbons's performance of 'Scherza infida' which was so utterly desolate and so utterly beautiful at the same time).

I'm back home now but don't want to be. I want to be still there, living in a cottage with a view across fields and woods that haven't changed significantly since Elgar cycled among them; listening to the wind in the trees; walking among the hills; and all the while anticipating the thrill of a Handel opera in the evening.

So while I've been away, have you guys come up with any new ways to plummet into Handelian bankcruptcy?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 03, 2009, 02:00:08 PM
I think I have almost spent enough money to be caught up with Handel opera........next on the list
is probably the newest Curtis/Archiv release:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eCBeYQVLL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Coop may have already purchased this.........
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 03, 2009, 02:19:11 PM
I think I have almost spent enough money to be caught up with Handel opera........next on the list
is probably the newest Curtis/Archiv release:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eCBeYQVLL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Coop may have already purchased this.........

You're a long way ahead of me (though not, I hope, closer to the cliff edge). I was listening to some of those cantatas from the Glossa series today. My goodness, but they are unspeakably lovely. Shouldn't there be another release from that series before too long?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 03, 2009, 05:07:16 PM
You're a long way ahead of me (though not, I hope, closer to the cliff edge). I was listening to some of those cantatas from the Glossa series today. My goodness, but they are unspeakably lovely. Shouldn't there be another release from that series before too long?

You have a good point there..........
Why worry about a very obscure opera like Ezio when I should be collecting the early italian cantatas on Glossa label, I shall begin the task very soon, a very costly task that will nick my wallet nicely

Coop............surely has that Ezio opera set since his beloved Karina Gauvin is featured
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 03, 2009, 05:54:18 PM
You have a good point there..........
Why worry about a very obscure opera like Ezio when I should be collecting the early italian cantatas on Glossa label, I shall begin the task very soon, a very costly task that will nick my wallet nicely

Coop............surely has that Ezio opera set since his beloved Karina Gauvin is featured

Before the end of the year for sure.  I have been busy loading up on early music.  Handel Ezio has been on my shopping list and Karina Gauvin is indeed a lovely woman ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 03, 2009, 05:56:18 PM
You're a long way ahead of me (though not, I hope, closer to the cliff edge). I was listening to some of those cantatas from the Glossa series today. My goodness, but they are unspeakably lovely. Shouldn't there be another release from that series before too long?

Elgarian,  I probably missed something when I was loading up on Glossa CD's 2 months ago.  Which Glossa CD are you referring to?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 03, 2009, 07:28:15 PM
Elgarian,  I probably missed something when I was loading up on Glossa CD's 2 months ago.  Which Glossa CD are you referring to?

There are currently 5 CDs of the italian cantatas on Glossa label, this is volume I with 4 cantatas, all CDs share the same look.
I believe there are 30+ italian cantatas so more volumes to come........

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921521.jpg)

After we buy them all at full price of course then the budget boxset will be released   ::)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 03, 2009, 07:30:30 PM
There are currently 5 CDs of the italian cantatas on Glossa label, this is volume I with 4 cantatas, all CDs share the same look.
I believe there are 30+ italian cantatas so more volumes to come........

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921521.jpg)

Are these all relatively new recordings?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 03, 2009, 07:33:00 PM
Are these all relatively new recordings?

Indeed they are, volume I was just released 7/2006........excellent sound of course
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 03, 2009, 07:35:02 PM
Indeed they are, volume I was just released 7/2006........excellent sound of course

I bet the soloists are probably no household names either.  Perhaps that is what is needed to make these recordings refreshing ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 04, 2009, 07:33:28 AM
There are currently 5 CDs of the italian cantatas on Glossa label, this is volume I with 4 cantatas, all CDs share the same look.
I believe there are 30+ italian cantatas so more volumes to come........

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921521.jpg)

Yes, they're the ones. I bought all 5 in a bargain-priced deal somewhere - at PrestoClassical I think - a few months ago. They're among my most treasured Handel recordings. There's something about the intimacy of them; and they come up so fresh and light - full of good tunes, but by no means devoid of drama and contrast. And also, each cantata is digestible within a reasonable time, unlike an opera which requires a lot more commitment of time. So a cantata can be squeezed easily into little gaps in the day, as it were. The presentation of these Glossa sets is distinctively attractive too - a fold-out package with booklet 'built-in'. If you don't have any of these, Coop, then you have a great treat in store.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 04, 2009, 05:52:12 PM
Yes, they're the ones. I bought all 5 in a bargain-priced deal somewhere - at PrestoClassical I think - a few months ago. They're among my most treasured Handel recordings. There's something about the intimacy of them; and they come up so fresh and light - full of good tunes, but by no means devoid of drama and contrast. And also, each cantata is digestible within a reasonable time, unlike an opera which requires a lot more commitment of time. So a cantata can be squeezed easily into little gaps in the day, as it were. The presentation of these Glossa sets is distinctively attractive too - a fold-out package with booklet 'built-in'. If you don't have any of these, Coop, then you have a great treat in store.

I just loaded up on many Glossa CD's at the last MDT sales but somehow missed these?  At any rate, I was focusing on the likes of Dufay, etc - the early music.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 04, 2009, 10:54:20 PM
And vol 6 is on the release list for next month. I've been proclaiming the qualities of this series loudly - and will buy with confidence (but will perhaps wait for the next Gliossa promotion). Treasures indeed!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 05, 2009, 03:40:42 AM
And vol 6 is on the release list for next month.

Excellent news.

Quote
I've been proclaiming the qualities of this series loudly

And with success, too. I think my introduction to them was almost entirely thanks to you.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 05, 2009, 08:24:23 AM
Excellent news.

And with success, too. I think my introduction to them was almost entirely thanks to you.

I have two Glossa volumes ordered.........

My research from WIKI music shows around 100 cantatas HWV 77-177 most of which composed 1707-1710, so there is ample material
to continue the series
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 05, 2009, 09:21:46 AM
I have two Glossa volumes ordered.........

Bet you a million pounds (dollars?) that you'll love them.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 05, 2009, 09:58:01 AM
I have two Glossa volumes ordered.........

My research from WIKI music shows around 100 cantatas HWV 77-177 most of which composed 1707-1710, so there is ample material
to continue the series

They are doing only those with instrumental accompagniement besides the basso continuo, estimated AFAIK at 10 discs.

Vol 6: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002TW37PM/worldtwitch06 (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002TW37PM/worldtwitch06)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 05, 2009, 12:17:25 PM
They are doing only those with instrumental accompagniement besides the basso continuo, estimated AFAIK at 10 discs.

Vol 6: http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002TW37PM/worldtwitch06 (http://www.amazon.de/exec/obidos/ASIN/B002TW37PM/worldtwitch06)

I skipped over Glossa volume III because instead of two sopranos they use soprano/bass.........
Does this change in a winning formula make results less appealing?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921523.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 05, 2009, 05:55:33 PM
There are currently 5 CDs of the italian cantatas on Glossa label, this is volume I with 4 cantatas, all CDs share the same look.
I believe there are 30+ italian cantatas so more volumes to come........

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921521.jpg)

After we buy them all at full price of course then the budget boxset will be released   ::)

Instant gratification always ends up hurting your wallet ...    ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 06, 2009, 07:48:21 AM
NOW HEAR THIS!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41fdXfH%2Bv3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Buy from Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handel-Italian-Cantatas-George-Frederick/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1257521174&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handel-Italian-Cantatas-George-Frederick/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1257521174&sr=8-1)

Buy from Amazon USA: http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Italian-Cantatas-George-Frederick/dp/B0000D1FCM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1257521218&sr=1-2 (http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Italian-Cantatas-George-Frederick/dp/B0000D1FCM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1257521218&sr=1-2)

I was browsing through Amazon a couple of days ago and stumbled across this 2CD set of Handel cantatas, apparently discontinued, on the Brilliant label. Copies are available on Amazon marketplace for absurd sums - I bought mine for 99 pence, which was less than the cost of postage; other copies are still available for about £1. On Amazon USA they seem to cost a bit more - a few dollars; but still very, very cheap.

I've just spent my lunch listening to the first CD of the set (about 49 pence-worth), and it is wonderful. Maria Zadori sings with a beguiling, delicate, butterfly-like vibrato - I'm reminded of Natalie Dessay at her shimmering best, quite often. The recordings were made in 1995, and sound excellent to these ears, and on my system. There are 6 cantatas: HWV 82, 97, 99, 110, 142, 150. If you have the 5 Glossa discs then you'll be duplicating 3 cantatas, but it certainly doesn't matter because Zadori is so delectable to listen to that you'll want to hear her take on these. Also, if you have the lovely (and cheap) Darlow discs on Helios, you'll duplicate HWV 82. But heck, where else are you going to get over two hours of Handel Italian cantatas of this quality for £1 (or a few dollars, in the USA)? My advice - get one now, while they're still up for grabs.

Buy first; think later.


Afterthought:

There's a review of this set on MusicWeb, here:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2003/Jun03/Handel_Italian_Brilliant.htm (http://www.musicweb-international.com/classRev/2003/Jun03/Handel_Italian_Brilliant.htm)

It calls into question the historical authenticity of the performance - personally, I don't care. Elsewhere I've read comments about a tendency to shrillness in Zadori's voice. I see why that might be said, but it doesn't trouble me in any way. I think such 'shrillness' is my 'lightness'.

I also forgot to mention that the set comes with a booklet containing all the words - in Italian, but with no translation. There are quite detailed notes, but they're full of typos and translational awkwardnesses.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on November 06, 2009, 08:19:46 AM
Maria Zadori is a wonderful soprano, and I did not notice any shrillness in this recording.
I have almost 90% of her recordings.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 06, 2009, 08:21:35 AM
I skipped over Glossa volume III because instead of two sopranos they use soprano/bass.........
Does this change in a winning formula make results less appealing?

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/GCD921523.jpg)

Don't worry unduly, DA. Only one of the cantatas, HWV165 ('Spande ancor a mio dispetto') has a bass soloist, and it makes up only 8 minutes in total. The other three cantatas are for soprano soloist (Raffaella Milanesi).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 06, 2009, 06:10:14 PM
NOW HEAR THIS!


Now hear this -- NHT is back
 (http://www.engadgethd.com/2009/06/23/now-hear-this-nht-is-back/)      ;D   NHT is an American speaker manufacturer ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 07, 2009, 10:46:42 AM
Don't worry unduly, DA. Only one of the cantatas, HWV165 ('Spande ancor a mio dispetto') has a bass soloist, and it makes up only 8 minutes in total. The other three cantatas are for soprano soloist (Raffaella Milanesi).

Perhaps Glossa will offer a mega box on all Handel Italian Cantatas in a few years?  Hopefully, it will be before 2012 ...     ;D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 08, 2009, 07:51:21 PM
Elgarian & DA:

Just ordered this set - a 2009 recording from an Amazon MP vendor this evening.  The price was just too good to pass up.  This is my second version of Handel Alcina ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aXYYd7A4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
 
 
 
 
 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: rubio on November 14, 2009, 09:09:13 AM
Has anybody here heard Emma Kirkby in Italian Cantatas? Can it be recommended?

http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Cantatas-Australia-George-Frederick/dp/B000AL8ZEW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258218170&sr=1-4

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515G7AJNBVL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 14, 2009, 11:23:49 AM
Has anybody here heard Emma Kirkby in Italian Cantatas? Can it be recommended?

http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Cantatas-Australia-George-Frederick/dp/B000AL8ZEW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258218170&sr=1-4

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515G7AJNBVL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

I have had this CD for over 20 years.  It is the gold standard for these works.  The CD trounced the more recent CD by Minkowski and Kozena.  I have both.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Harry on November 14, 2009, 11:26:14 AM
I have had this CD for over 20 years.  It is the gold standard for these works.  The CD trounced the more recent CD by Minkowski and Kozena.  I have both.

Very much agreed!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 14, 2009, 12:32:24 PM
Elgarian & DA:

Just ordered this set - a 2009 recording from an Amazon MP vendor this evening.  The price was just too good to pass up.  This is my second version of Handel Alcina ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41aXYYd7A4L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Very nice...........I think you will notice that Curtis newest work for Archiv label is more up tempo compared to older works in Virgin boxset, and singers are more adventureous with ornamenting the repeated section of arias
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on November 14, 2009, 12:42:39 PM
Has anybody here heard Emma Kirkby in Italian Cantatas? Can it be recommended?

http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Cantatas-Australia-George-Frederick/dp/B000AL8ZEW/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1258218170&sr=1-4

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515G7AJNBVL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

Yes quite good...........but until recently there was little to compete with it so one might rightfully say it set the standard, recently there are new players that demand to be heard!

Scroll back to prior page where we were discussing just such a project for Glossa label, and there are a few more misc releases also for Virgin label
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 14, 2009, 01:33:13 PM
Yes quite good...........but until recently there was little to compete with it so one might rightfully say it set the standard, recently there are new players that demand to be heard!

Scroll back to prior page where we were discussing just such a project for Glossa label, and there are a few more misc releases also for Virgin label

Yes, these are wise words from DA. The Glossa series definitely needs to be considered as competition for the Kirkby disc, as do the two cheap Darlow discs on Hyperion:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571151366.png)  (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571150772.png)

(Not to mention the incredibly cheap 2CD set I've been raving about in post #706 earlier in this thread.)

I don't have the Emma Kirkby disc that's under discussion here, though I do have the set of cantatas she recorded with London Baroque:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KXV5kEpCL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is so much a matter of personal preference, but I find Emma Kirkby's singing in these cantatas less attractive on the whole, and acquiring more wouldn't be a high priority (though I wouldn't by any means rule it out). I suspect I'm not critical enough - I do tend to love most of what I hear in this area - though I agree with others above that the Kozena/Minkowski disc is a terrible disappointment (particularly since Kozena at her best is nothing less than stupendous).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: rubio on November 14, 2009, 02:46:22 PM
Thank you all for the comments! I take them into consideration.  I have the Glossa series, and I enjoy these discs a lot.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 15, 2009, 01:36:12 AM
I have the Glossa series, and I enjoy these discs a lot.

Ah, that could be a significant pointer. That series (but not forgetting the old Hyperion Darlow discs) sets the benchmark, for me.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 15, 2009, 10:47:10 AM
Yes, these are wise words from DA. The Glossa series definitely needs to be considered as competition for the Kirkby disc, as do the two cheap Darlow discs on Hyperion:

(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571151366.png)  (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571150772.png)

(Not to mention the incredibly cheap 2CD set I've been raving about in post #706 earlier in this thread.)

I don't have the Emma Kirkby disc that's under discussion here, though I do have the set of cantatas she recorded with London Baroque:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41KXV5kEpCL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

This is so much a matter of personal preference, but I find Emma Kirkby's singing in these cantatas less attractive on the whole, and acquiring more wouldn't be a high priority (though I wouldn't by any means rule it out). I suspect I'm not critical enough - I do tend to love most of what I hear in this area - though I agree with others above that the Kozena/Minkowski disc is a terrible disappointment (particularly since Kozena at her best is nothing less than stupendous).

I will check out the Glossa series at some point ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Guido on November 22, 2009, 09:38:07 AM
A wild and fabulous version of "Endless Pleasure" by Renee Fleming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbCnqoxmyCE

Her studio recording is nowhere this unbuttoned, but I think this is just fantastic! 0:55 to 1:02 "Useless though his 'thunder' lies" is just so so good - makes me wish I was I woman so that I could sing this aria!!!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on November 22, 2009, 09:46:46 AM
I did enjoy it and thought it extremely short for a Handel aria. Here is another version almost twice as long. Some blank time at the start and a choral section...but also a slightly more sedate and measured take on it. I think it more effective. Incidentally, I can understand every word Battle sings, not so with Fleming, though I enjoyed her singing and evident pleasure at what she was singing.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Guido on November 22, 2009, 05:39:46 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSHu6u_xDRI

Here's the link that I assume knight forgot to paste into text! Thanks for this - a very nice version to be sure, lovely singing but I still like Fleming's sexyness and cheekyness and as you say her unbridled joy is infectious even if the diction suffers as a result of the increased tempo. Again it's 0:55 to 1:02 that sells it for me!!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 28, 2009, 05:11:39 PM
(http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/jpegs/034571173610.png)

http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67361/2&f=vivaldi (http://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/al.asp?al=CDA67361/2&f=vivaldi)

This turned up last week in Hyperion's Bottom Ten sale and I snapped it up. It's a delight. The performances are lovely (with Carolyn Sampson you can't go wrong ...

Not so fast Elgarian with your unqualified praise for Carolyn Sampson even as I am a semi-Anglophile.  I was somewhat disappointed with her performance on this CD I bought about a month ago ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yUZaZPi0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 29, 2009, 01:50:59 AM
I was somewhat disappointed with her performance on this CD I bought about a month ago ...
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yUZaZPi0L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
My own reservations about that disc concern the material, not the performer, Coop. For me, there's a lightness and airiness about her singing that seems exquisitely musical. But we all have our different preferences.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 29, 2009, 04:42:24 AM
My own reservations about that disc concern the material, not the performer, Coop. For me, there's a lightness and airiness about her singing that seems exquisitely musical. But we all have our different preferences.

I bought this CD just to compare it with a much older CD on BIS and I think the BIS CD is better.  I have heard criticism of her German before and these Handel arias were written in German ...

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 29, 2009, 07:41:41 AM
these Handel arias were written in German ...

Yes, that's the source of my reservations about them. I don't think I could say whether it was her slightly dodgy German, or the sound of the German per se, that was the cause. However, I have absolutely no such reservations about her Vivaldi in the disc I was talking about earlier.*


*If anyone is confused at this point ('what Vivaldi?'), it's because this conversation has been transferred here from the Vivaldi thread, here (see #72):

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13065.60.html
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 29, 2009, 09:46:30 AM
Yes, that's the source of my reservations about them. I don't think I could say whether it was her slightly dodgy German, or the sound of the German per se, that was the cause. However, I have absolutely no such reservations about her Vivaldi in the disc I was talking about earlier.

I bet it is just the German factor.  Overall, I am not that familiar with her.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 02, 2010, 12:51:03 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41fdXfH%2Bv3L._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
I've just transferred a couple of Handel cantatas into my cheap mp3 player so I can listen to them when I ride my bike. It's a while since I last listened to this 2CD set (I played it over and over when I first bought it, as reported in #706 of this thread).

It's been good having a decent gap, because they come up so fresh and new on this revisiting, and I can only endorse what I said back then. These 2 CDs are an incredible bargain, and the singing of Maria Zadori is just about the most enchanting I've ever heard in this area. Her performance of the haunting Notte placida e cheta goes beyond exquisite. The bad news is that the set seems to be drifting out of print, and now can only be found among a few Marketplace sellers on Amazon uk. If you're a Handel cantata fan (or even if you're not but think you might be), get one while you still can. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 02, 2010, 03:38:07 PM
Elgarian
First new post here in 7 months........
 
Brings back memories, this thread cost me a small fortune  ???
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 02, 2010, 06:10:13 PM
Elgarian
First new post here in 7 months........
 
Brings back memories, this thread cost me a small fortune  ???

You meant you bought all 6 volumes of these Italian Cantatas.  I did as well but was not too impressed with half of them ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HOL3XJ8VL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

The version by Christopher Hogwood with AAM and Emma Kirkby still beats whatever volume that has the same works ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 02, 2010, 06:12:44 PM
This set should be in my collection by end of this month ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51eCBeYQVLL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 02, 2010, 11:38:09 PM
You meant you bought all 6 volumes of these Italian Cantatas.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HOL3XJ8VL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
I bought them all too, and have ordered the 7th (Apollo e Dafne), which I read somewhere will be the last in the series. I enjoy all those Glossa collections, and would have happily gone on buying any more there might have been. Even so, my favourite is the absurdly cheap 2CD Maria Zadori set on Brilliant Classics I mentioned above.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on July 03, 2010, 04:22:44 AM
next
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 03, 2010, 06:29:01 AM
next
Next what, DA?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2010, 09:14:37 AM
I bought them all too, and have ordered the 7th (Apollo e Dafne), which I read somewhere will be the last in the series. I enjoy all those Glossa collections, and would have happily gone on buying any more there might have been. Even so, my favourite is the absurdly cheap 2CD Maria Zadori set on Brilliant Classics I mentioned above.

So Vol. 7 is now available.  I may still grab it to complete the full volume.  I never like to have one version of any work.  I also do not know anything about the Maria Zadori BC set. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 03, 2010, 10:55:17 AM
Next what, DA?

What is your game plan?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 03, 2010, 11:49:45 AM
I also do not know anything about the Maria Zadori BC set.
Yes you do:
1. It's so cheap at Amazon uk marketplace that there's no point in not having it, and there seems to be only one left at the rock bottom price.
2. It's marvellous. Zadori's singing is irresistible. You might be interested in Harry's comment about her in 2007: "Maria Zadori was a absolute favourite soprano for me, in fact as good as Emma Kirkby is, and even better, dare I admit it."
3. All the signs suggest it will soon be unavailable.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 15, 2010, 01:48:14 AM
Just put in an order for the new Curtis recording:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yEqssgftL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Seems good value (£16 for 3CDs at Amazon uk) and PrestoClassical have assembled some nice comments about it here:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/advsearch.php?composer=handel&work=berenice&performer=curtis&medium=all&label=&cat= (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/advsearch.php?composer=handel&work=berenice&performer=curtis&medium=all&label=&cat=)

Has anyone heard it?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 15, 2010, 01:56:19 AM
Just put in an order for the new Curtis recording:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41yEqssgftL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Seems good value (£16 for 3CDs at Amazon uk) and PrestoClassical have assembled some nice comments about it here:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/advsearch.php?composer=handel&work=berenice&performer=curtis&medium=all&label=&cat= (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/advsearch.php?composer=handel&work=berenice&performer=curtis&medium=all&label=&cat=)

Has anyone heard it?
Yes I have, once (mentioned in the "listening-to" thread). Not enough to form an informed opinion, but my initial impression is that the playing and conducting are very powerful and dramatic, and that the relatively unkhown singers aquits themselves pretty well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 15, 2010, 02:13:02 AM
That's encouraging enough for me, erato. Thanks for this.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 15, 2010, 02:14:56 AM
Another small step for mankind on the way to a complete Handel.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: False_Dmitry on July 15, 2010, 12:21:26 PM
Harry's comment about her in 2007: "Maria Zadori was a absolute favourite soprano for me, in fact as good as Emma Kirkby is

Damning with faint praise indeed :(  I'm sure Zadori is rather better than that.   
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 15, 2010, 12:28:00 PM
Damning with faint praise indeed :(  I'm sure Zadori is rather better than that.
Well, I think so myself, by some margin. But Coopmv is a particular fan of Emma Kirkby's singing, and the comment I quoted was chosen specifically for his benefit.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on July 15, 2010, 05:23:53 PM
Well, I think so myself, by some margin. But Coopmv is a particular fan of Emma Kirkby's singing, and the comment I quoted was chosen specifically for his benefit.

At the present moment, I still do not have a single recording by Maria Zadori.  I may go straight to the Hungaroton label since that particular reissue on BC may be no longer available ...   :(
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: False_Dmitry on July 15, 2010, 09:53:07 PM
Well, I think so myself, by some margin. But Coopmv is a particular fan of Emma Kirkby's singing, and the comment I quoted was chosen specifically for his benefit.

I'm afraid I have never been convinced by Kirkby's performances in Italian opera - I find a more "gutsy" performance needed.  It's all been an over-reaction to the overblown "choral society massed choirs" performances of Handel from the middle of last century...  a mistaken idea that Handel is like a badly-restored painting, and that there is an "original" there to be had, if only we first remove centuries of soot, varnish, glue and the unwanted retouchings of others. 

I'm certain that the shareholders of the Royal Academy Of Musick (all of whom were young bucks who'd made the Grand Tour and spent extensive time in Italy) didn't shovel their money into importing outrageously-priced soloists from Italy (Durastanti, Cuzzoni, Bordoni etc) if local talent would have done the job.  It's noticeable that even where local soloists (Anastasia Robinson) were used initially, they were mainly filling-in until an Italian could be put on contract...  viz the recasting of RADAMISTO (in which Robinson was elbowed-out).  Whether we like it or not, it was the star casts which attracted the audiences to Handel's operas - when Senesino split with Handel and started his own company with Heiddeger, the audience voted with their feet and stomped off down the road to see and hear Senesino.  (Our legacy of partiality for Handel - howbeit so charmingly loyal - has blinded us to the exceptional operas of Porpora, Bononcini, Lotti etc - the claims made that the "Opera Of The Nobility" was a dumbed-down public of canary-fanciers are very wide of the mark...  the repertoire there was no less sophisticated).

I'm not opposed to Kirkby - only to her casting in Italian opera.  Her performances in Bach etc (an entirely different genre of protestant church music written for boy trebles) are very fine,  and I would not like to be ranked alongside her adversaries - I'm not ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 15, 2010, 11:04:17 PM
(Our legacy of partiality for Handel - howbeit so charmingly loyal - has blinded us to the exceptional operas of Porpora, Bononcini, Lotti etc - the claims made that the "Opera Of The Nobility" was a dumbed-down public of canary-fanciers are very wide of the mark...  the repertoire there was no less sophisticated).

And boy how I wish more of that was recorded. As we are nearing (I guess) Handel saturation (I've got good to exceptional recordings of 75% of his operas now) I guess this is about to happen. As well as more of the Hamburg operas (Telemann, Keiser, Conradi, Hasse), and early Venetian stuff (why is Cesti so poorly represented?). And what about southern Germany/Austria (Caldara et al)?

Handel and the frenchies (and probably Vivaldi thanks to Naive) is the only areas where I'm reasonably satisfied.

Guess I'm hopeless.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 16, 2010, 12:07:04 AM
I'm afraid I have never been convinced by Kirkby's performances in Italian opera - I find a more "gutsy" performance needed.
It's worth a reminder that our comments weren't made in the context of Italian opera, but of Handel's early cantatas - that is, quite intimate Arcadian works, usually with only one or sometimes two singers, and a relatively small number of instruments. One may or may not prefer this or that soprano singing them, but Kirkby's light, airy voice seems well suited to expressing the delights or laments of a shepherdess, or the like. I find her a little shrill, myself, but that's purely a matter of personal preference. I don't think there's anything about her singing that's fundamentally unsuited to the works that were under discussion here.

Of course one may argue that we shouldn't be discussing Handel's cantatas in a thread devoted to his operas, but we seem to have established a tradition in this thread of discussing them all, regardless: untidy collection of Handel enthusiasts as we are!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: False_Dmitry on July 16, 2010, 02:24:11 AM
It's worth a reminder that our comments weren't made in the context of Italian opera, but of Handel's early cantatas - that is, quite intimate Arcadian works, usually with only one or sometimes two singers, and a relatively small number of instruments.

A timely point, and well made :)  The solo cantatas, and more especially the more musically-rewarding cantate a due voci, are charming pieces, and we should be grateful to those who've spent time bringing them to disk :)  I wonder for whom Handel intended them?  Clearly they were a welcome source of publishing income for him (they ran through several editions) and their modest resources (continuo only) suggest domestic performance - did they have "professional" performances too, I wonder?  I must scrub-up my rusty Italian and revisit these pieces soon - a pleasant way to pass a summer evening! :)   (BTW, the scores of all of them - along with the rest of GFH's output - can be downloaded free (and legally) from the Bayerische Handel-Gesellschaft, if anyone would like to play them at home...  as the composer intended? :) )

And boy how I wish more of that was recorded. As we are nearing (I guess) Handel saturation (I've got good to exceptional recordings of 75% of his operas now) I guess this is about to happen. As well as more of the Hamburg operas (Telemann, Keiser, Conradi, Hasse), and early Venetian stuff (why is Cesti so poorly represented?). And what about southern Germany/Austria (Caldara et al)?

Yes, yes, and yes :)  I confess to be an irredeemable Telemann fan - but his operas suffer from very poor libretti. Only ORPHEUS is really up-to-standard.  I mean here not the poetry and fine versification (although that's not much better), but bad plotting, dull stories, and missed dramatic opportunities.  Of course the interest is always primarily the music - but when opera-houses are planning how to spend scant resources, an opera with a weak story, set in remote classical antiquity, and lacking piquant scenes of love, conflict, power-struggle, war, tyranny, treachery etc will always come-off second-best.  But more than that - composers rarely write their best stuff for dull stories ;)

I'm sure we are due for a Porpora revival sometime soon!  He had a shrewd sense of the dramatic, and - like Handel - sought-out juicy libretti that would give full reign to his powers.  He was also a singing-teacher - his pupils included not only the legendary Farinelli, but also Handel's late-period leading man, Caffarelli, who was alleged to have been the finest of them all.  And he wrote "for the best", knowing what would sit well in their voices and produce the most striking effects in the theatre.   The list of his librettists reads like a roll-call of the finest in the business - Metastasio, Stampiglia, and Zeno dominate the list... although his period in London compelled him (by contract) to write to the verses of the dull versifier Rolli.  His PORO (to a Metastasio libretto) is an outstanding work, and badly needs a worthwhile full recording.   But he was ahead of his time in also writing comedies (by which I mean works overtly labelled "commedia per musica" or "opera buffa", rather than works like Handel's SERSE which merely happen to be amusing in places) - THE BARON OF ZAMPANO and THE TRIUMPH OF VALOUR would be worth reviving :)   ORLANDO has actually been recorded, but I haven't heard it.

I wonder what this legendary vocal teacher would think of our discussion of sopranos above?  And I wonder who he would cast himself, if allowed to make a greatly-delayed return to the harpsichord to supervise a recording of PORO?   Natalie Dessay?  DiDonato?  Fleming? De Niese?   And more pertinently, how to cast the castrato roles?  My own declared preference is for coloratura mezzos (because they have the power and "blade" that counter-tenors can't easily achieve) - but yes, they often "look wrong", and don't always have the masculine ring to their voices.  But I've worked with countertenors (Oleg Ryabets - a male sopranist like Caffarelli, he doesn't do the alto roles) too, and they can be excellent.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 16, 2010, 02:53:20 AM
I wonder for whom Handel intended them?
They were commissioned by various patrons (Ruspoli, Ottoboni, Pamphilli, etc.) during the very few years Handel was in Italy. I remember reading somewhere (probably one of the booklets accompanying the superb Glossa series of recordings) that during one period Handel was required to produce a new cantata every week, for private performance for his patron, on Sundays.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: False_Dmitry on July 16, 2010, 03:15:26 AM
I remember reading somewhere (probably one of the booklets accompanying the superb Glossa series of recordings) that during one period Handel was required to produce a new cantata every week, for private performance for his patron, on Sundays.

Yes, that's confirmed in the Hogwood biography of Handel, too. :) I wonder who the performers were, though, and what the performance conditions were?  For salon performance?  Perhaps by Ruspoli himself, or members of his family and their circle?  Or by soloists invited from the opera-house to entertain at private soirees?  Were these vignettes staged/costumed, or semi-staged, or sung purely as concert items, I wonder?  These are the things that keep me awake at nights ;)  I must get out more! :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on July 16, 2010, 05:07:55 AM
I wonder who the performers were, though, and what the performance conditions were?  For salon performance?  Perhaps by Ruspoli himself, or members of his family and their circle?  Or by soloists invited from the opera-house to entertain at private soirees?  Were these vignettes staged/costumed, or semi-staged, or sung purely as concert items, I wonder?  These are the things that keep me awake at nights ;)  I must get out more! :)
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SCR08JMRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)   (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513r0FVAQWL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I think the answers to many of these questions are matters of conjecture rather than known facts, but the excellent booklets that accompany the Bonizzoni/La Risonanza series of recordings on Glossa do tackle some of these issues, even though the answers are often uncertain. For example, Cardinal Pamphili (one of Handel's patrons) was the author of a number of cantata texts, including Handel's Il Delirio Amoroso. In this cantata (written at a time when women were banned from singing on the public stage in Rome), the notes suggest that the part of Clori was written for 'a male castrato, probably for Pasqualino ... or Cecchino'.  However, another important Handel patron, the Marquis of Ruspoli, employed soprano Marguerita Durastante on a regular salary for a time (with a house, and a carriage!), and it seems that Handel wrote some cantatas specially for her. These Glossa booklets are a mine of such information.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on July 16, 2010, 06:48:26 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51SCR08JMRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)   [img]These Glossa booklets are a mine of such information.
And such a pity that there are no more to came after vol 7.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 01, 2011, 11:06:23 AM
Why did this thread dry up, I wonder? Well, I propose to resurrect it because of some excellent news.

Handel's Italian cantatas (as will be clear from earlier posts in this thread) are among my very favourite listening - so much so that virtually any new release that I hear about will find its way pretty quickly onto my shelves. A year or two ago an exciting new prospect opened up with the release, on Brilliant Classics, of what was being touted as another 'complete' series. Volumes 1 and 2 appeared - delightful recordings, as below:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515CFPr%2B5rL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VvNML9a5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

And then..... nothing. I assumed the project had fizzled out. But no - there is now a volume 3, and it arrived on my doormat today:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vRrQ3qbBL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I listened to it while I had my lunch, and as always with these cantatas, it charmed the heck out of me. I haven't done a direct comparison with the Glossa version, which sets the bar at a very high standard; neither have I compared it with the one on Hyperion (Helios) label, which also is one of my favourites; my impression is that this is maybe not quite up there in the 'simply fabulous' bracket (as they both are). But it still sounds pretty damn good to my ears, and it provides still another excuse for listening to a Handel cantata (if you needed one), and it's so cheap that you'd be mad not to get one and try it for yourself and give it the chance to make your day feel better. You know it make sense.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on September 01, 2011, 03:11:47 PM
Why did this thread dry up, I wonder? Well, I propose to resurrect it because of some excellent news.

Handel's Italian cantatas (as will be clear from earlier posts in this thread) are among my very favourite listening - so much so that virtually any new release that I hear about will find its way pretty quickly onto my shelves. A year or two ago an exciting new prospect opened up with the release, on Brilliant Classics, of what was being touted as another 'complete' series. Volumes 1 and 2 appeared - delightful recordings, as below:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515CFPr%2B5rL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VvNML9a5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

And then..... nothing. I assumed the project had fizzled out. But no - there is now a volume 3, and it arrived on my doormat today:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vRrQ3qbBL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I listened to it while I had my lunch, and as always with these cantatas, it charmed the heck out of me. I haven't done a direct comparison with the Glossa version, which sets the bar at a very high standard; neither have I compared it with the one on Hyperion (Helios) label, which also is one of my favourites; my impression is that this is maybe not quite up there in the 'simply fabulous' bracket (as they both are). But it still sounds pretty damn good to my ears, and it provides still another excuse for listening to a Handel cantata (if you needed one), and it's so cheap that you'd be mad not to get one and try it for yourself and give it the chance to make your day feel better. You know it make sense.

Interesting sets!  Are they any good in your opinion?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 01, 2011, 11:01:48 PM
Interesting sets!  Are they any good in your opinion?

I don't think I have anything to add to what I said in my earlier post at the moment. Vol 3 perhaps lacked a bit of sparkle (but that could easily have been my mood - I was quite tired when I listened to it). I haven't recently refeshed my memory of vols 1 and 2, but I've certainly enjoyed them on the two or three times I listened to them, and the point is that they give me another very pleasant way of listening to Handel cantatas without the risk of the same performance going stale. Not, I hasten to add, that the two wonderful Maria Zadori collections have ever come close to growing stale.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Hattoff on September 01, 2011, 11:28:59 PM
I am listening to volume 3 right now, it seems fine to me, what lovely music. But a reviewer on Amazon says that he was "underwhelmed". How much whelming does one need? :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on September 01, 2011, 11:50:21 PM
I am listening to volume 3 right now, it seems fine to me, what lovely music. But a reviewer on Amazon says that he was "underwhelmed". How much whelming does one need? :)

I think if one listens to it in isolation, on its own terms, it's a thoroughly delightful record. But there are at least two other very fine variant recordings of Aminta e Fillide out there, and by comparison with those, perhaps this is a bit short on whelmability. That's the problem with comparisons of course - they generate a feeling of competition which isn't always helpful. I'm delighted to have this and very much hope they complete the series.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 14, 2011, 06:05:46 AM
Perhaps because of the Xmas-Messiah connection, I don't know, but as the weather gets colder I find myself pining for an extra large dose of Handel's vocal medicine. Happily, I've got alot of it on the shelf, including most of the oratorios. Listened to the Christie/Daneman Theodora yesterday. What next? What next?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 14, 2011, 01:42:51 PM
Listened to the Christie/Daneman Theodora yesterday. What next? What next?

Christie/Daneman make an incomparable pairing and a hard act to follow! But if you're looking for suggestions, how about a recently-discovered Handel opera that has been wowing the people at BBC Music Magazine, who gave this recording five stars for both performance and recording?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/515Dj0GFFQL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I bought it on sight when I came across it (it won't cost you much). Haven't listened to it yet, but if the attribution to Handel is sound, it comes from that very interesting early Italian period associated with the cantatas.

Alternatively, if you, like me, have been waiting for a really decent Alcina DVD, you might be drawn to this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51POylR45eL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

It's very beautiful, visually; has an eighteenth-century setting (thank goodness); and while it's not perfect, it's so far ahead of the absurd competition that I'm delighted to have it. Kasarova makes an idiosyncratic Ruggiero which you may either love or hate (personally, I love her idiosyncrasies).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 14, 2011, 02:06:08 PM
According to newolde.com:

"Not by Handel. Germanico. (See the comments on the Handel List -  the lastest hypothesis is that the opera was composed in Vienna between 1702 and 1704, probably by Bononcini or Ariosti.) dhm 0886978604521 (2 CDs, July 2011). Ottavio Tenerani, Il Rossignolo. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Sara Mingardo, contralto; Franco Faglioli, countertenor; Sergio Foresti, bass. An early 18th Century serenata that would not have been revived without the false attribution to Handel. Possibly a pasticcio -- Track 23 is an aria from Bononcini's Camilla (1696). A mediocre work overall, but outstanding singing on this recording"
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 14, 2011, 02:09:11 PM
According to newolde.com:

"Not by Handel. Germanico. (See the comments on the Handel List -  the lastest hypothesis is that the opera was composed in Vienna between 1702 and 1704, probably by Bononcini or Ariosti.) dhm 0886978604521 (2 CDs, July 2011). Ottavio Tenerani, Il Rossignolo. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Sara Mingardo, contralto; Franco Faglioli, countertenor; Sergio Foresti, bass. An early 18th Century serenata that would not have been revived without the false attribution to Handel. Possibly a pasticcio -- Track 23 is an aria from Bononcini's Camilla (1696). A mediocre work overall, but outstanding singing on this recording"

Thanks for the straightener, Erato. It's a shame - it made for a good story!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 15, 2011, 03:22:26 AM
Christie/Daneman make an incomparable pairing and a hard act to follow!



I opted for the first half of Gardiner: Alexander's Feast this morning. Did you know that drinking is the soldier's pleasure? Who'd a thought?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 15, 2011, 04:51:34 AM
Did you know that drinking is the soldier's pleasure? Who'd a thought?

I think we need evidence.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on November 16, 2011, 07:54:23 PM
According to newolde.com:

"Not by Handel. Germanico. (See the comments on the Handel List -  the lastest hypothesis is that the opera was composed in Vienna between 1702 and 1704, probably by Bononcini or Ariosti.) dhm 0886978604521 (2 CDs, July 2011). Ottavio Tenerani, Il Rossignolo. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Sara Mingardo, contralto; Franco Faglioli, countertenor; Sergio Foresti, bass. An early 18th Century serenata that would not have been revived without the false attribution to Handel. Possibly a pasticcio -- Track 23 is an aria from Bononcini's Camilla (1696). A mediocre work overall, but outstanding singing on this recording"

I spotted this set on the web a while back but seriously doubted the work was by Handel.  As such, I have no intention to add this to my Handel collection.  Indeed, Handel composed better Italian baroque operas than any Italian baroque composers ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2011, 12:32:30 AM
Indeed, Handel composed better Italian baroque operas than any Italian baroque composers ...
He probably did but there are few of them so one should include the Italian Cantatas and Oratories as well (eg I find no English Oratorio by Handel that I like as much as La Resurrezione). But that doesn' mean that there aren't brilliant and worthwhile operas by contemporary Italians, Scarlatti, Stradella, Popora and Bononcini. On the whole I prefer the earlier generation of Italian baroque opera though, Cesti, Cavalli, Monteverdi etc.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 17, 2011, 01:15:38 AM
According to newolde.com:

"Not by Handel. Germanico. (See the comments on the Handel List -  the lastest hypothesis is that the opera was composed in Vienna between 1702 and 1704, probably by Bononcini or Ariosti.) dhm 0886978604521 (2 CDs, July 2011). Ottavio Tenerani, Il Rossignolo. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Sara Mingardo, contralto; Franco Faglioli, countertenor; Sergio Foresti, bass. An early 18th Century serenata that would not have been revived without the false attribution to Handel. Possibly a pasticcio -- Track 23 is an aria from Bononcini's Camilla (1696). A mediocre work overall, but outstanding singing on this recording"

I listened to the first half of this yesterday, and to be honest, I feel rather taken in. If someone had played this for me as an unknown piece of Baroque music, I'd never have thought this could be by Handel. In the booklet accompanying the CD set there are arguments about details of stylistic similarities, but it all comes to nought because basically the thing just doesn't sound like Handel.

Of course there's the argument that if this were Handel's very first 'opera' (serenata), it wouldn't sound like those we know. Perhaps so, but we would expect it to sound something like the wonderful cantatas, wouldn't we, which were written in the same few years? Even though on a bigger scale than them?

Truth is, I just plain don't like it much, and I'm not sure I want to bother with the second half when I could be listening instead to some real Handel. That's not to say it doesn't have some fine moments; but for my taste there's far too much of the high-speed stuttering pyrotechnics that seems to disfigure so much Italian baroque, where singing sounds more like machine gun fire than singing. Waste of money for me, really.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 17, 2011, 03:21:25 AM
This is Handel:



An expended cantata, really. With an optimistic subject and no particular narrative to push, the composer seems to have been content to make every little bit as delightful as possible. Bravo!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 17, 2011, 04:45:14 AM
This is Handel:



An expended cantata, really. With an optimistic subject and no particular narrative to push, the composer seems to have been content to make every little bit as delightful as possible. Bravo!

Yes, exactly. Delightful from beginning to end (I have Emmanuelle Haim's version). Another great favourite of mine is this one:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517zPVz0AaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

But then, if we start to list our favourite Handel recordings,  methinks it's going to be a  v  e  r  y   l  o  n  g list....
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 17, 2011, 05:01:41 AM
Another great favourite of mine is this one:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517zPVz0AaL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

But then, if we start to list our favourite Handel recordings,  methinks it's going to be a  v  e  r  y   l  o  n  g list....

There, held in holy passion
As steals the morn
Let me wander not unseen


OK, now you've done it! Particular favourites of mine (in no order):
Theodora
Samson
L'Allegro
Il Trionfo
Acis and Galatea
Solomon
Saul
La Resurrezione
Israel in Egypt
Messiah


What have I missed?  :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2011, 05:25:59 AM
Seems you have the oratorios well covered (I would include Jephta though, and have never heard Susannah).

But of course you miss out on the operas and cantatas.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 17, 2011, 05:42:54 AM
But of course you miss out on the operas and cantatas.

Yup, I'm weak on those. Know the oratorios far better. Here are some that might make my toppers list with more and more careful listens:
Belshazzar
Jephtha
Athalia
Esther


And here are the ones I've never heard:
Susanna
Hercules
Brockes Passion
Parnasso in Festa
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 17, 2011, 05:50:14 AM
Hercules is good. And Parnasso is an extremely fine work.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 17, 2011, 02:18:14 PM
There, held in holy passion
As steals the morn
Let me wander not unseen


OK, now you've done it! Particular favourites of mine (in no order):
Theodora (Yes!)
Samson
L'Allegro (Yes! Yes!)
Il Trionfo (Oh yes!)
Acis and Galatea (Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yeess!)
Solomon
Saul
La Resurrezione
Israel in Egypt
Messiah


What have I missed?  :D

I've highlighted in red my favourites from your list. For some reason (of no particular consequence) the Oratorios have appealed to me less than the operas. My pet operas would be:

Ariodante (Oh! Ohh! Oooh!)
Alcina (Ooooh!)
Giulio Cesare (Ooh!)

But then there are the wonderful, delicious cantatas - on the whole, and taken as a group, my very favourite Handel listening. Just tuck me into a corner with the 7 Glossa discs and I'll be fine, thanks.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 17, 2011, 02:30:15 PM
I've highlighted in red my favourites from your list. For some reason (of no particular consequence) the Oratorios have appealed to me less than the operas. My pet operas would be:

Ariodante (Oh! Ohh! Oooh!)
Alcina (Ooooh!)
Giulio Cesare (Ooh!)

But then there are the wonderful, delicious cantatas - on the whole, and taken as a group, my very favourite Handel listening. Just tuck me into a corner with the 7 Glossa discs and I'll be fine, thanks.

I lean the other way, obviously, but then I have only 6 operas on the shelf. Re. Giulio Cesare, though, I feel I am qualified to second your ooh! and maybe raise it with an oohoo! My introduction to Handel's vocal music was the ravishing V'adoro, pupille from this set:



On the cantatas I am similarly untutored, having heard a mere 3 discs worth, none of them the famous Glossas. But time and the miracle of compound interest will fix that.

 8)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 17, 2011, 02:49:53 PM
But time and the miracle of compound interest will fix that.

Neither time, nor compound interest, nor even Glossa are needed to come close to cantata nirvana, as it happens. There exists a (now deleted) 2 CD set of cantatas that were issued by Brilliant, with Maria Zadori as the soloist (originally released on Hungaroton at full price.) If you click on this link ... :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Capella-Savaria-Concerto-Armonico-Nicholas/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_52?ie=UTF8&qid=1321569517&sr=1-52 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Capella-Savaria-Concerto-Armonico-Nicholas/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_52?ie=UTF8&qid=1321569517&sr=1-52)

... you will find a second-hand set available for less than £2. I fell in love with Maria Zadori at first listen. Even paying postage to Canada, buying it will be the best good turn you've done yourself all week. I promise. (You can find one on Amazon.ca, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61bG9Czj8NL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on November 17, 2011, 03:27:12 PM
Neither time, nor compound interest, nor even Glossa are needed to come close to cantata nirvana, as it happens. There exists a (now deleted) 2 CD set of cantatas that were issued by Brilliant, with Maria Zadori as the soloist (originally released on Hungaroton at full price.) If you click on this link ... :

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Capella-Savaria-Concerto-Armonico-Nicholas/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_52?ie=UTF8&qid=1321569517&sr=1-52 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Capella-Savaria-Concerto-Armonico-Nicholas/dp/B00009W3RL/ref=sr_1_52?ie=UTF8&qid=1321569517&sr=1-52)

... you will find a second-hand set available for less than £2. I fell in love with Maria Zadori at first listen. Even paying postage to Canada, buying it will be the best good turn you've done yourself all week. I promise. (You can find one on Amazon.ca, but it'll cost you an arm and a leg.)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/61bG9Czj8NL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

£4.61 shipped. That ain't 8 bucks in petroCanada money! Bought. Woohoo!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on November 18, 2011, 01:14:32 AM
£4.61 shipped. That ain't 8 bucks in petroCanada money! Bought. Woohoo!

There may now follow several consequences:

1. The Gods will record in their Great Book that their suspicion that you're a sensible fellow is confirmed.
2. Your future Handelian happiness will be secured, at least partially.
3. You may fall in love with Maria Zadori. Try listening on headphones for added intimacy, perhaps starting with 'Notte placida' at the start of the second CD. There are some of those cantatas where she sings so meltingly that I just know she did it for me personally. She may have sung some bits just for you too. (If you don't believe me, seek out Harry on this forum and ask him what he thinks of her.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on November 18, 2011, 02:00:49 AM
I've highlighted in red my favourites from your list. For some reason (of no particular consequence) the Oratorios have appealed to me less than the operas. My pet operas would be:

Ariodante (Oh! Ohh! Oooh!)
Alcina (Ooooh!)
Giulio Cesare (Ooh!)

But then there are the wonderful, delicious cantatas - on the whole, and taken as a group, my very favourite Handel listening. Just tuck me into a corner with the 7 Glossa discs and I'll be fine, thanks.
We lean in the same direction. I prefer the operas in general to the oratorios, and I prefer the Italian influenced oratorios to the English ones though I concede the greatness of Theodora. Acis and Galatea, a favorite, can for many purposes be regarded as an opera (or at least a masque). The cantatas in general are superb. If we try to extrapolate from this; the conclusion is; the Italian Handel is generally superb. The English Handel is, with a few exceptions, merely very good.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian on December 08, 2011, 01:42:47 AM
I've never been sure whether it was appropriate to discuss the cantatas in this thread, but I've always done so, so I'll continue until the hammer falls. The good news is this:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ek-Np283L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Yes, the Brilliant series continues, with volume 4, see here:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handel-Complete-Cantatas-Vol-4/dp/B005QHJKF8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1323336878&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Handel-Complete-Cantatas-Vol-4/dp/B005QHJKF8/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1323336878&sr=1-1)

Details of works/performers here:
http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Brilliant%2BClassics/94257 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Brilliant%2BClassics/94257)

Are these performances as good as those on the Glossa set, or the Zadori Hungaraton recordings? I've no idea - I haven't compared them directly, and I doubt if I'd be able to decide if I did. But this disc lit up my lunchtime a couple of days ago, and at their absurdly low price there's simply no point in not buying this series as fast as it appears.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mamascarlatti on December 09, 2011, 01:43:33 AM
Does anybody have any opinions of this Ariodante? I have the Minkowski version but I'm tempted by the presence of Joyce DiDonato on this set.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51k3Pxpr5UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on December 09, 2011, 10:16:35 AM
Does anybody have any opinions of this Ariodante? I have the Minkowski version but I'm tempted by the presence of Joyce DiDonato on this set.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51k3Pxpr5UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

I prefer Alan Curtis over Marc Minkowski anytime when it comes to Handel ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on December 09, 2011, 07:37:01 PM
Does anybody have any opinions of this Ariodante? I have the Minkowski version but I'm tempted by the presence of Joyce DiDonato on this set.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51k3Pxpr5UL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

DiDonato is indeed great here with strong cast, enough reason alone to buy this, but.........

Although I have almost all recent Curtis Handel opera sets and like them much better than his older releases, here for some unexplained reason he is a bit restrained with orchestra and doesn't get the full dramatic impact he is capable of, I was a bit disappointed Going back to relisten to the Minkowski I had forgotten how great it is, a more vibrant performance.......if I could have only one I would give slight overall edge to Minkowski

The "professional" critics give new Curtis 10/10 unabashed praise, so what to do (buy both be happy)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mamascarlatti on December 10, 2011, 02:09:18 AM
Thanks DA, I reckoned I probaby couldn't go wrong if I did buy it.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: DarkAngel on December 10, 2011, 06:30:01 AM
Thanks DA, I reckoned I probaby couldn't go wrong if I did buy it.

You will surely not regret the purchase, the "yankee diva" never lets us down, a brilliant artist
 
You will also come away with even more appreciation of the Minkowski which still stands very tall
I wish he would record more of these
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: chasmaniac on December 15, 2011, 03:21:58 AM
.



Yo, LG!

Count me among those untroubled by Diana Moore's wobble. Far better that than any countertenor. This is good stuff. The notes make much of its relationship to Athalia, but its overall feel remiinds me strongly of L'Allegro.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on February 27, 2012, 10:19:08 AM
I have been collecting Handel operas and oratorias for some years now, and these are my top recommendations:

1) Ariodante - Minkowski: the best Handel opera recording ever made, extremely dramatic and world class performances from the whole cast. Lynne Dawson is the definitive Handel soprano, Ewa Podles wickedness impersonated, Richard Croft a Handel tenor in the league of Rolfe-Johnson. Marc Minkowski is immortalized with this recording.

2) Alcina - Hickox: recorded in 1985, at the beginning of the Handel revival. Arleen Auger is unforgettable as the sorceress and the conducting of Hickox is truly magical. Although I like the Morgana (Gauvin) on the Curtis set more, and Fleming as Alcina with Christie has her moments, this remains the best overall performance of one of Handels best operas.

3) Agrippina - Gardiner: Handel can be funny, Della Jones is not the most pleasant voice to listen to, but what a vocal actress! She has you in her spell from her first words 'Nerone, amato figlio'. Yes, recitatives in Baroque opera can be as compelling as the arias. Alastair Miles stands out as Claudio, a great deep bass who brings out all the irony of this role.

4) Semele - Nelson: Another one of those great librettos, and absolute delight in the opera house (the staging of Robert Carsen!). Kathleen Battle has all the virtuosity a Semele needs, I only wish Antony Rolfe-Johnson (Jupiter in the Gardiner recording) would have joined her.

Nico
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on February 27, 2012, 12:48:47 PM
I have been collecting Handel operas and oratorias for some years now, and these are my top recommendations:

1) Ariodante - Minkowski: the best Handel opera recording ever made, extremely dramatic and world class performances from the whole cast. Lynne Dawson is the definitive Handel soprano, Ewa Podles wickedness impersonated, Richard Croft a Handel tenor in the league of Rolfe-Johnson. Marc Minkowski is immortalized with this recording.

2) Alcina - Hickox: recorded in 1985, at the beginning of the Handel revival. Arleen Auger is unforgettable as the sorceress and the conducting of Hickox is truly magical. Although I like the Morgana (Gauvin) on the Curtis set more, and Fleming as Alcina with Christie has her moments, this remains the best overall performance of one of Handels best operas.

3) Agrippina - Gardiner: Handel can be funny, Della Jones is not the most pleasant voice to listen to, but what a vocal actress! She has you in her spell from her first words 'Nerone, amato figlio'. Yes, recitatives in Baroque opera can be as compelling as the arias. Alastair Miles stands out as Claudio, a great deep bass who brings out all the irony of this role.

4) Semele - Nelson: Another one of those great librettos, and absolute delight in the opera house (the staging of Robert Carsen!). Kathleen Battle has all the virtuosity a Semele needs, I only wish Antony Rolfe-Johnson (Jupiter in the Gardiner recording) would have joined her.

Nico

I have none of these but I have Minkowski's Hercules
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on February 27, 2012, 01:36:39 PM
I have none of these but I have Minkowski's Hercules

That would be my number 5  :)
Super performance!
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mc ukrneal on February 27, 2012, 01:47:43 PM
I have been collecting Handel operas and oratorias for some years now, and these are my top recommendations:

1) Ariodante - Minkowski: the best Handel opera recording ever made, extremely dramatic and world class performances from the whole cast. Lynne Dawson is the definitive Handel soprano, Ewa Podles wickedness impersonated, Richard Croft a Handel tenor in the league of Rolfe-Johnson. Marc Minkowski is immortalized with this recording.

2) Alcina - Hickox: recorded in 1985, at the beginning of the Handel revival. Arleen Auger is unforgettable as the sorceress and the conducting of Hickox is truly magical. Although I like the Morgana (Gauvin) on the Curtis set more, and Fleming as Alcina with Christie has her moments, this remains the best overall performance of one of Handels best operas.

3) Agrippina - Gardiner: Handel can be funny, Della Jones is not the most pleasant voice to listen to, but what a vocal actress! She has you in her spell from her first words 'Nerone, amato figlio'. Yes, recitatives in Baroque opera can be as compelling as the arias. Alastair Miles stands out as Claudio, a great deep bass who brings out all the irony of this role.

4) Semele - Nelson: Another one of those great librettos, and absolute delight in the opera house (the staging of Robert Carsen!). Kathleen Battle has all the virtuosity a Semele needs, I only wish Antony Rolfe-Johnson (Jupiter in the Gardiner recording) would have joined her.

Nico
Noted! I have one Handel piece (not even sure if it is opera or oratorio), so this is something of a hole. The one I have is  L'Allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato. I almost never listen to it, but picked it up for $1 used. It's the Erato/Gardiner version.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on February 27, 2012, 02:12:36 PM
Noted! I have one Handel piece (not even sure if it is opera or oratorio), so this is something of a hole. The one I have is  L'Allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato. I almost never listen to it, but picked it up for $1 used. It's the Erato/Gardiner version.

Gardiner's L'allegro is in my collection but I hardly listen to it. For one, I have trouble with understanding the poetic English language as a non-English speaker. Therefore for me, that particular recording is not easy to listen to, although it got lots of raving reviews...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: 71 dB on February 28, 2012, 03:17:12 AM
That would be my number 5  :)
Super performance!

I need to listen to this again! I buy CDs but I don't listen to them enough! Crazy...

I also have several oratorios on Naxos (Acis and Galatea, Athalia, Deborah, Il Trionfo del Tempo e della Verità, Messiah and Saul).  There is also Belshazzar (Pinnock),  Messiah (Solti), Susanna (McGegan) and an excepts disc of Giulio Cesare (Jacobs) in my collection as well as Theodora (Christie), Teseo (Katschner), Semele (Christie) and Giulio Cesare (Christie) on DVD.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on January 24, 2013, 04:21:50 AM
Mainly a bump to thank everyone who contributed to this marvelous thread; it's been such a useful resource, along with the epic Handel thread at Amazon's classical forum ('Il Caro Sassone'):
http://www.amazon.com/forum/classical%20music/ref=cm_cd_pg_newest?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2O5YQ79OVJBUQ&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2SJBQFO4IGN98&displayType=tagsDetail (http://www.amazon.com/forum/classical%20music/ref=cm_cd_pg_newest?_encoding=UTF8&cdForum=Fx2O5YQ79OVJBUQ&cdPage=1&cdSort=oldest&cdThread=Tx2SJBQFO4IGN98&displayType=tagsDetail)
(not better than our thread, but still informative to me, mainly in terms of available recordings)

I just purchased the following after deliberating for a while:


Handel: AGRIPPINA [Gardiner - released by Philips, 3cd]

A wild favorite among Handelians, apparently.  I love the arias I've heard.  John Wall of NewOlde spelled out his clear preference for the McGegan, but that one is out of print and rather expensive for remaining new copies.  I found the Gardiner pretty cheap and decided from samples that it would do nicely.  We'll see!

John Wall's comparison of the two, quoted in full below:
http://www.newolde.com/agrippina.htm (http://www.newolde.com/agrippina.htm)
Quote
I wrote the following comments in May 1997, soon after Gardiner's recording was released. Like McGegan's version, it was recorded in 1991, but Philips inexplicably held it back for more than five years. When the Gardiner recording finally came out, Polygram promoted it aggressively. Gramophone made it the cover story, with Sir John (or is it Sir Elliot) on the cover, a special write-up in the front, and a completely uncritical review by Stanley Sadie in the opera section. In consideration no doubt, Polygram purchased the glossy inside front cover of the magazine to feature the set. Goldberg Magazine later reported that six of 10 European music review magazines had given the Gardiner Agrippina their highest possible ratings.

Not surprisingly, the commercial classical music magazines got it wrong. Although Gardiner's recording surpasses McGegan's in a few respects, overall, the Harmonia Mundi set is the better of the two.

Both recordings are essentially complete. The only cut that I have detected is the omission by McGegan of the ballet music at the end of Act III, probably because no dancers were engaged for the Göttingen production. The final chorus was moved from before to after Giunone's aria to end the opera. The ballet music does not appear in the HG edition of Agrippina.

The Philips recording sounds constricted in comparison with the lively Harmonia Mundi recording, particularly in orchestral movements. The Harmonia Mundi recording seems to have a wider sound stage, and consequently sounds more like an actual performance.

The Harmonia Mundi version is also better conducted by McGegan. His tempos are brisk, and he has followed Handel's original orchestration. Gardiner takes some movements at a painfully slow pace. Allowing for the extra 3:16 of ballet music performed by Gardiner, his recording is 6:46 longer than McGegan's. In addition, Gardiner adds non-historical organ continuo to many arias, which detracts from the performance, in my opinion. Unfortunately, he is not alone among "authentic" conductors in reorchestrating Handel operas, as the same thing has been done by Robert King, William Christie, René Jacobs and others. At least this recording was made before the emergence of the strumming guitar fad.

Neither recording is well cast. The only truly outstanding performance on the Harmonia Mundi set is delivered by Gloria Banditelli as Giunone, who has but one (spectacular) aria. Two singers stand out on the Philips recording -- Michael Chance as Ottone and Alistair Miles as Claudio, and I would recommend buying the Philips set to hear their arias if for no other reason. Drew Minter sings Ottone quite well on Harmonia Mundi, but Chance simply is best of the five falsettists on the two sets. Nicholas Isherwood on Harmonia Mundi lacks the strength in the lower range required for Claudio's challenging arias, written for the great bass, Carli.

The Agrippina and Poppea on Harmonia Mundi (Sally Bradshaw and Lisa Saffer respectively) easily surpass those on Philips (Della Jones and Donna Brown). The latter, Brown in particular, have a modern operatic style that clashes with the early instruments. Nerone is seriously miscast on both recordings. On Harmonia Mundi, his beautiful sicilianos suffer under the heavy vibrato of Wendy Hill, and on Philips, Derek Lee Ragin strains at the upper limits of his falsetto range in the soprano castrato part. The minor castrato part of Narcisso is sung adequately on both recordings, by Ralf Popken on Harmonia Mundi and by Jonathan Peter Kenny on Philips.

Since Agrippina was composed for Venice, there was of course no original English version of the wordbook. Harmonia Mundi and Philips commissioned independent English translations, of which the poetic translation by Anne Ridler for Harmonia Mundi is clearly superior. Harmonia Mundi reproduces the Argumento from the original wordbook, but Philips does not. For a translation of the Argumento, see the chapter on Agrippina in Dean and Knapp, Handel's Operas, 1706-1726 (Oxford University Press). In addition, the Harmonia Mundi booklet includes photos of the Göttingen stage production. The fine costumes, by Bonnie Krueger, were brought to New York for a student production in 1996. Philips does not furnish total times for its three CDS. They are: Disc 1: 74:37; Disc 2: 73:29; Disk 3: 68:49.

Thus, in conclusion, I prefer McGegan's performance. Another recording with a more consistent cast of early music singers would be welcome.
- John Wall
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 24, 2013, 10:22:43 AM

I just purchased the following after deliberating for a while:


Handel: AGRIPPINA [Gardiner - released by Philips, 3cd]

A wild favorite among Handelians, apparently.  I love the arias I've heard.  John Wall of NewOlde spelled out his clear preference for the McGegan, but that one is out of print and rather expensive for remaining new copies.  I found the Gardiner pretty cheap and decided from samples that it would do nicely.  We'll see!


Yeah, Agrippina is a lyric extravaganza! One of Handel's best.



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on January 25, 2013, 10:17:11 AM

I just purchased the following after deliberating for a while:


Handel: AGRIPPINA [Gardiner - released by Philips, 3cd]

A wild favorite among Handelians, apparently.  I love the arias I've heard.  John Wall of NewOlde spelled out his clear preference for the McGegan, but that one is out of print and rather expensive for remaining new copies.  I found the Gardiner pretty cheap and decided from samples that it would do nicely.  We'll see!



Although I love the NewOlde website, John Wall can be extremely conservative in his preferences. He likes his Handel operas to be galant, even tame and always disapproves of dramatic excitement. If I read his negative reviews of some of the great Naïve Vivaldi recordings, I can only shake my head.
To prefer the boring McGegan Agrippina to Gardiner's funny and tasteful recording, does not sound logic at all.
Enjoy your Gardiner, with an almost perfect cast :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tsaraslondon on January 25, 2013, 10:47:16 AM
Only a few more weeks to go now to the concert performance of Radamisto at the Barbican, with David Daniels in the title role. I don't know the opera well, though I have a couple of isolated arias on various recital discs.

There's a recording on Virgin Media, with Joyce DiDonato. Is this the best one to go for?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on January 25, 2013, 12:20:48 PM
Although I love the NewOlde website, John Wall can be extremely conservative in his preferences. He likes his Handel operas to be galant, even tame and always disapproves of dramatic excitement. If I read his negative reviews of some of the great Naïve Vivaldi recordings, I can only shake my head.
Not my impression at all. But he dissaproves of dramatic licence making some of these recordings "over the top" compared to what he percieves as being the composers ntentions, and at least in a few cases he's probably right.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on January 25, 2013, 01:43:01 PM
Only a few more weeks to go now to the concert performance of Radamisto at the Barbican, with David Daniels in the title role. I don't know the opera well, though I have a couple of isolated arias on various recital discs.

There's a recording on Virgin Media, with Joyce DiDonato. Is this the best one to go for?

The only competition I know is McGegan, who has a second rate cast and is quite boring.
The Curtis is not a desert island disc, but at least you get some great singers such as DiDonato, Ciofi and Beaumont.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on January 25, 2013, 01:52:27 PM
Not my impression at all. But he dissaproves of dramatic licence making some of these recordings "over the top" compared to what he percieves as being the composers ntentions, and at least in a few cases he's probably right.

Any critic who prefers McGegan's Ariodante to Minkowski's, has a complete different view on Handel operas than me. They have a potential for real drama, and Minkowsi delivers just that. The same is true for the Spinosi Vivaldi recordings which are bashed on NewOlde because of the vigorous attacks of the instruments or exteme tempi.
Well, I happen to love Minkowski and Spinosi because they get in the music like that and deliver something more than beautiful sound.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: kishnevi on January 25, 2013, 02:12:55 PM
Although I love the NewOlde website, John Wall can be extremely conservative in his preferences. He likes his Handel operas to be galant, even tame and always disapproves of dramatic excitement. If I read his negative reviews of some of the great Naïve Vivaldi recordings, I can only shake my head.
To prefer the boring McGegan Agrippina to Gardiner's funny and tasteful recording, does not sound logic at all.
Enjoy your Gardiner, with an almost perfect cast :)

I have neither, but I do have Rene Jacobs' recording of Aggripina.  Have you hear that, and if so,  how do you rate it?

BTW,  I find that McGegan's Ariodante delivers plenty of "real drama", as you call it;  more than the Curtis recording.  (Have not heard Minkowski's recording.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: nico1616 on January 25, 2013, 02:41:41 PM
I have neither, but I do have Rene Jacobs' recording of Aggripina.  Have you hear that, and if so,  how do you rate it?

BTW,  I find that McGegan's Ariodante delivers plenty of "real drama", as you call it;  more than the Curtis recording.  (Have not heard Minkowski's recording.)

Let me first make another point on Minkowski's Ariodante: it is simply the best Handel recording I have ever heard. It is legendary, in the same class as the de Sabata Tosca or Solti's Ring. I read extreme postive reviews when it came out in 1998 (especially in the French press), and was blown over from the first time I listened to it: this was something that had never been done before: that kind of dramatic excitement, extreme tempos and especially the singing: the cast assembled is the best to have recorded a Baroque opera ever: Von Otter at her best, Lynne Dawson the purest of all Handel sopranos, Richard Croft a tenor with a voice like Simoneau, Eva Podles the villian who acts completely over the top but so exciting ...
I just can not listen to the McGegan or Curtis anymore, it is like eating a 5 euro Chinese meal after you have been to a top restaurant the day before :)
Just listen to the way these conductors enter the music in the ouverture: to McGegan or Curtis it is just another pleasant tune Handel wrote, while Minkowski immediately gets into the music form the first breath (you actually hear him breathe, it is a live recording).

As for Jacobs Agrippina, I can quote from my amazon.co.uk. review. I bought it with great expectations. I had seen a stage production in the Brussels Monnae opera in May 2000, directed by Robert Carsen with him in the pit. The opera was a revelation with a dream cast: Anna Catharina Antonacci was Agrippina, Rosemary Joshua sang Poppea and Lawrence Zazzo was a youthful Ottone. Very soon after this production, rumours were spread that Jacobs would record Agrippina. It took him 10 years to finally realize this recording and the only one to survive from the 2000 cast is Domique Visse in the small role of Narciso.
Alas, if only Antonacci had recorded the title role, she would have been perfect. But now, we get the shrill Pendatchanska. She gets some exciting moments, for example in the reorchestrated 'Tu Ben Degno' in Act 1, but if I listen to Della Jones, I hear the perfect incarnation of the role: cunning and funny. Her first recitative 'Nerone, amato figlio' just sets the tone. If you follow the libretto, it is bound to make you smile.

Jacobs cannot image Nerone to be sung by a countertenor, so he choose the mezzo Jennifer Rivera for that role. Nonetheless, the countertenor Derek Lee Ragin copes much better with the high lying tessitura of Nerone, Rivera struggles with the notes and is simply miscast. Another idea of Jacobs is that Claudio should be sung by a bass-baritone and not by a deep bass. The low D in his aria 'Cada il mondo' can hardly be sung by a bass-baritone, and that expresses the ridicule nature of the emperor. That may be true from a dramatical point of view, but on record I like to hear the low notes as written by the composer. Gardiner's Alastair Miles has all the notes and more than that: his interpretation can and will never be bettered. The same goes for Micheal Chance's Ottone, innocence impersonated. Again Jacobs chooses a singer, Bejun Mehta, whose voice is an acquired taste. To me, just another miscast.

I love both Poppeas equally, a great portrait of the vanity of women. Her entrance aria 'Vaghe perle' is in my opinion one of the best Handel composed.
The other roles are much smaller, although I must point out that Dominique Visse is much better than the bland countertenor Jonathan Peter Kenny in the Gardiner recording.
You certainly do not have to buy Jacobs for the better singing, but maybe there is another reason of interest: Jacobs uses another edition of the opera. There are numerous differences in the score, especially in the second half of the opera. Here, I can follow Jacobs' alterations. We get a lot of new arias, which should better reflect the intentions of the composer.

Ultimately, this recording is for Agrippina completists. If you want just one, Gardiner - though not ideal - is still the one to have.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on February 09, 2013, 12:05:19 AM
I'd like to solicit some opinions about Petrou's GIULIO CESARE.



A friend strongly recommended this to me, and I saw another recommendation of it recently.  I only know Minkowski's, and while I thought Jacobs' would be my next GC, my friend's opinion was overwhelmingly tilted towards the Petrou.  Just curious if there was some consensus. 
(I searched the forum but came up with nothing.)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on February 09, 2013, 11:30:45 AM
I'd like to solicit some opinions about Petrou's GIULIO CESARE.



A friend strongly recommended this to me, and I saw another recommendation of it recently.  I only know Minkowski's, and while I thought Jacobs' would be my next GC, my friend's opinion was overwhelmingly tilted towards the Petrou.  Just curious if there was some consensus. 
(I searched the forum but came up with nothing.)

I have 2 versions, one by Minkowski and the other by Karl Richter ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on February 09, 2013, 11:03:17 PM
I'd like to solicit some opinions about Petrou's GIULIO CESARE.



A friend strongly recommended this to me, and I saw another recommendation of it recently.  I only know Minkowski's, and while I thought Jacobs' would be my next GC, my friend's opinion was overwhelmingly tilted towards the Petrou.  Just curious if there was some consensus. 
(I searched the forum but came up with nothing.)
You could visit newolde.com an check under Handel operas. He definitely prefers Petrou over Minkowsky (I have the Minkowski and used to be content with it, but haven't really listened to it for ages, it being one of the first Handel operas I aquired after McGegans Ariodante made me see the light).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tsaraslondon on February 10, 2013, 03:34:40 PM
Just home from a superb performance of Radamisto (in the 1720 revision) at the Barbican. Harry Bickett conducted the English Concert and a superb cast of singers. David Daniels, dramtically engaged from the word go, and singing with his customary beauty and appreciation of the long legato line, fully justified the use of a countertenor in the Senesino role of Radamisto. The ladies all apologised for a cold, but there seemed little sign of trouble from any of them; Patricia Bardon, a moving Zenobia, Brenda Roe, excellent as the put upon Polisenna, and Elizabeth Watts as a sparkling Tigrane. The Italian bass-baritone, Luca Pisaroni was a terrific Tiridate, receiving a huge ovation for his spectacular 3rd Act aria.

What a shame the performance was not recorded.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on March 23, 2013, 09:16:38 PM
Does anyone know and have an opinion about this recital disc:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51j8vaA41dL.jpg)
Ewa Podles: ARIAS FROM RINALDO AND ORLANDO (w/Constantine Orbelian & Moscow Chamber Orch - Delos, 2001)

I heard her voice described (in the context of the Minkowski recording of ARIODANTE, iirc) as "paint-stripping", intended as a compliment.  This has me interested!  I am fine with raw, passionate intensity in Handel singing.  I don't see her discussed in my GMG searches, so if there are any desirable non-Handel recordings of hers, I'd enjoy knowing about them as well, off-topic though it be.  I think she's on Minkowski's Gluck's ARMIDE.

EDIT:  I now remember I have a disc of Chopin songs with her singing; part of Ohlsson's Chopin set/series for Hyperion.  I'm concerned I never listened to that disc, as I wasn't so interested in vocal music when I bought that box.   :-[  </confession>
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on March 24, 2013, 10:05:06 AM
Does anyone know and have an opinion about this recital disc:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51j8vaA41dL.jpg)
Ewa Podles: ARIAS FROM RINALDO AND ORLANDO (w/Constantine Orbelian & Moscow Chamber Orch - Delos, 2001)

I heard her voice described (in the context of the Minkowski recording of ARIODANTE, iirc) as "paint-stripping", intended as a compliment.  This has me interested!  I am fine with raw, passionate intensity in Handel singing.  I don't see her discussed in my GMG searches, so if there are any desirable non-Handel recordings of hers, I'd enjoy knowing about them as well, off-topic though it be.  I think she's on Minkowski's Gluck's ARMIDE.

EDIT:  I now remember I have a disc of Chopin songs with her singing; part of Ohlsson's Chopin set/series for Hyperion.  I'm concerned I never listened to that disc, as I wasn't so interested in vocal music when I bought that box.   :-[  </confession>

Now this is getting interesting, a Russian ensemble doing Handel opera ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on April 02, 2013, 04:17:15 AM
1.
Re: the Ewa Podles recording above:
Now this is getting interesting, a Russian ensemble doing Handel opera ...

And recorded at Skywalker Sound!  It's a brave new world.  I'll try to say something semi-intelligible about it once I've actually listened to it.

2.
For those like me who have been interested in getting the Marcus Creed JEPHTHA, but have delayed and balked at the price (which last time I checked was maybe a bit high for new copies), it looks like Brilliant Classics will reissue that set soon.  I'm assuming there will be no libretto, unlike the OOP Berlin Classics edition, which can still be had via Amazon MP etc.

3.
RINALDO is one of the operas I've not heard, and while it would be nice to line up two recordings of it right off, that's just too much of an expense at once.  I've heard some many good things about Hogwood's (w/Bartoli and Daniels) and about Jacobs' (on HM), I think it might simply be a choice between them.  If anyone has a word to say about their preferences [for a first time through the opera], I appreciate any help.  Dark Angel enthused about the Jacobs some years back, so I'll reproduce his/her comments here for convenience:

The [Jacobs/HM] Rinaldo if anything is even more impressive, little for me to critique so I will extol its many virtues.
Rinaldo was the first Italian opera Handel composed after moving to London where he remained the rest of his life. As typical of baroque opera complex plot with sorcery, magic gardens, assumed idenities etc but basically details the trails and tribulations of the knight named Rinaldo who fought in the battle for Christians to take the city of Jerusalem.

Musically you will be delighted to hear Moorish themes in the music and several harpsicord solo cadenzas during the opera. Rinaldo is sung by Vivica Genaux (who is known for her castrati roles) and female character Almirena by Miah Persson who has made quite a splash with her recent Mozart work. Fortuantely the Italian style is still firmly in place and we have many exciting arias with ornamented sections freely used, the orchestra plays with great passion and drama with very rich recitativio sections. Sound quality from Harmonia Mundi could hardly be better and Jacobs keeps everything moving along with expert dramatic flair.

The wonderful packaging from Harmonia Mundi deserves special mention, you get thick hinged outer box with artwork (not just thin slip cover) Inside a very thick booklet and a beautiful 3 panel digipak to hold the 3 CDs with wonderful artwork, a first class package all the way!

If you want to hear what makes Jacobs/HM Rinaldo so special:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djJNBBLkumA)

The brass fanfares are beautifully done and have wonderful 3D staging effect when listening on your home stereo.
Genaux does have a touch of vibrato/boxiness to her vocals, but that is part of what gives her the darker tonal pallate.
Listen to the vocal interplay between Vivica and the brass section, absolutely wonderful stuff that can make you a Handel opera fanatic.

Her ability to freely ornament the repeated aria sections (3:30-4:30 in sample) is why she is in high demand for baroque castrati roles, do not hesitate to get this [Jacobs/HM] Rinaldo if you have any interest in Handel's Italian operas..............
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Coopmv on April 06, 2013, 09:17:56 AM
1.
Re: the Ewa Podles recording above:
And recorded at Skywalker Sound!  It's a brave new world.  I'll try to say something semi-intelligible about it once I've actually listened to it.

2.
For those like me who have been interested in getting the Marcus Creed JEPHTHA, but have delayed and balked at the price (which last time I checked was maybe a bit high for new copies), it looks like Brilliant Classics will reissue that set soon.  I'm assuming there will be no libretto, unlike the OOP Berlin Classics edition, which can still be had via Amazon MP etc.

3.
RINALDO is one of the operas I've not heard, and while it would be nice to line up two recordings of it right off, that's just too much of an expense at once.  I've heard some many good things about Hogwood's (w/Bartoli and Daniels) and about Jacobs' (on HM), I think it might simply be a choice between them.  If anyone has a word to say about their preferences [for a first time through the opera], I appreciate any help.  Dark Angel enthused about the Jacobs some years back, so I'll reproduce his/her comments here for convenience:

I have RINALDO by Hogwood and it is excellent IMO ...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on April 23, 2013, 01:22:51 PM
I'm interested in getting this HM 4cd collection, mainly for some more Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and for Andreas Scholl's OMBRA MAI FU arias disc (included in its entirety), which has been recommended to me several times.  (And I loved Scholl's participation in McCreesh's THEODORA.)


Handel: FAMOUS ARIAS
One disc each by: Lorraine Hunt w/McGegan; Andras Scholl w/Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin; Dorothea Röschmann w/AfAMB; Mark Padmore w/Manze.

Just curious if there are any opinions of any/all these recordings.  It seems that there might be some overlap (perhaps ~22 min?) between the Lorraine Hunt disc and her disc of arias as 'Durastanti', which was included in the other HM arias box Arias for Senesino, Montagnana, Cuzzoni, Durastanti (with a disc apiece by Lisa Saffer, Drew Minter, and David Thomas), which I got pretty cheap from BRO and really enjoyed very much.  This one:



I'm still pretty new to Handel, but if there are recordings of arias etc that put these in the shade, I must hear them!  (In fact I have heard very little in the way of aria showcase/recital type discs; I have Hunt-Lieberson's disc with Harry Bicket, the aforementioned Ewa Podles, and, a bit different, Carolyn Sampson's NEUN DEUTSCHE ARIEN disc, which on last hearing I had cooled on, I'm disappointed to say.  Oh, and James Bowman's HEROIC ARIAS disc on Hyperion/Helios...tremendous.  And an Emma Kirkby 3cd that, somehow, I have not yet listened to...insane.  That one really should go on the player tonight.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: ChamberNut on April 28, 2013, 09:42:17 AM
Accidently exposed myself (and happily so) to an opera playing on CBC Radio Two yesterday afternoon.

I asked myself:  'Damn, what is this and which composer?'  At first I thought it might be a classical music era opera, with the harpsichord continuo.  Lo and behold, it was the 1st act of Handel's 'Giulio Cesare'.

I was extremely impressed by the music.  Wonderful!  :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 28, 2013, 09:51:06 AM
That was live from the Met in NY, I was at a screening, excellent. That production is great fun and if you were interested it is available to buy. It is a Glyndbourne production with Sarah Connelly. I should think that bits of it are on Youtube. Here is my review of the DVDs

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2077.msg300552/topicseen.html#msg300552

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: ChamberNut on April 28, 2013, 09:54:50 AM
That was live from the Met in NY, I was at a screening, excellent. That production is great fun and if you were interested it is available to buy. It is a Glyndebourne production with Sarah Connelly. I should think that bits of it are on Youtube. Here is my review of the DVDs

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2077.msg300552/topicseen.html#msg300552

Mike

Thanks Mike!  :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Rod Corkin on April 28, 2013, 10:14:26 AM
Accidently exposed myself (and happily so) to an opera playing on CBC Radio Two yesterday afternoon.

I asked myself:  'Damn, what is this and which composer?'  At first I thought it might be a classical music era opera, with the harpsichord continuo.  Lo and behold, it was the 1st act of Handel's 'Giulio Cesare'.

I was extremely impressed by the music.  Wonderful!  :)

Sorry but I couldn't resist...
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5336.msg129817.html#msg129817

See how I've always been way ahead of the pack!  ;)

(PS the Wolves needn't bother, I won't be returning to this thread.)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 28, 2013, 10:19:30 AM
A bit discursive there, we were not comparing composers and I don't see the need to denigrate one in order to explain admiration for another. But we ran endlessly round those bushes a long time ago.

Mike

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: ChamberNut on April 28, 2013, 10:23:16 AM
Sorry but I couldn't resist...
http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,5336.msg129817.html#msg129817

See how I've always been way ahead of the pack!  ;)

(PS the Wolves needn't bother, I won't be returning to this thread.)

Welcome back, Rod.  I see you are still in fine form!  :laugh:
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 on April 28, 2013, 10:23:43 AM
As a separate matter, I see that i wrote the long Handel post prior to the issue of a CD only version of the Daniels, Hunt Lieberson Theodora. If you feel the production would not be to tour taste you can get it in sound only.

Mike
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Geo Dude on May 23, 2013, 04:04:03 AM
If one were to name three Handel operas to start with (and recordings, preferably PI), which would you recommend?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on May 23, 2013, 04:34:06 AM
If one were to name three Handel operas to start with (and recordings, preferably PI), which would you recommend?

(http://metallocals.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/and-so-it-begins-3.jpg)

I am looking forward to the responses to your inquiry.  Terrified about the amount of money I'm going to have to part with.  I have listened to crazy amounts of the master in the past 18 months, but I still feel like I'm on Square One.  Still, let me say:

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.
I think I have spent more time thus far with oratorios, but that is whole 'nother kettle of fish.

With less confidence in the desert island dept., I can also say I have loved:
2. ALCINA by Hickox, Auger et al [avail. for $10 through Arkiv's EMI opera sale, fyi]...but also possibly superseded?
3. ARIODANTE by McGegan w/Lorraine Hunt Lieberson et al [some people much prefer Minkowski, cf. discussion several pages back]

And based on hearsay and mega-praise from disparate sources, I am probably going to prioritize the following as my next Handel vocal purchases:
1. SEMELE by Nelson/ECO/Battle/Horne, for the sex-kittenry
2. RINALDO by Hogwood [though I still need to sample the newer Jacobs]
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.






Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 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
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave 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.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato 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.... :-)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Tsaraslondon 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.



Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_operas_by_Handel):
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?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: kishnevi 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 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_operas_by_Handel):
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.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 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

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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.

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave 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.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian 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).


Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 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
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Elgarian 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)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Geo Dude 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. :)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 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
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mc ukrneal 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?
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave 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.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: knight66 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
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave 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 (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Australian%2BEloquence/ELQ4804924), 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 (http://classicalmusicguide.com/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=39806) 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 (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 (http://www.classicstoday.com/review/review-13991)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: kishnevi 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://i.prs.to/t_200/dg4778017.jpg)
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.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Wendell_E on December 16, 2013, 04:05:29 AM
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).

I've got the L'Oiseau-Lyre LPs, I'll post the track list this evening, if I remember.  Unfortunately, it doesn't give timings.

It does include two versions of "O ruddier than the cherry", with a sopranino recorder playing the obbligato in the main body of the recording, a treble recorder playing it in an appendix.

Edit:  Sometimes I forget this is the 20th Century (what's that you say?  21st!  Dayum!!) and just scan the darn thing:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v20/Wendelle/recordings/acisandgalatea.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Moonfish on March 31, 2014, 10:58:25 PM
I'm interested in getting this HM 4cd collection, mainly for some more Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and for Andreas Scholl's OMBRA MAI FU arias disc (included in its entirety), which has been recommended to me several times.  (And I loved Scholl's participation in McCreesh's THEODORA.)


Handel: FAMOUS ARIAS
One disc each by: Lorraine Hunt w/McGegan; Andras Scholl w/Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin; Dorothea Röschmann w/AfAMB; Mark Padmore w/Manze.

Just curious if there are any opinions of any/all these recordings.  It seems that there might be some overlap (perhaps ~22 min?) between the Lorraine Hunt disc and her disc of arias as 'Durastanti', which was included in the other HM arias box Arias for Senesino, Montagnana, Cuzzoni, Durastanti (with a disc apiece by Lisa Saffer, Drew Minter, and David Thomas), which I got pretty cheap from BRO and really enjoyed very much.  This one:



I'm still pretty new to Handel, but if there are recordings of arias etc that put these in the shade, I must hear them!  (In fact I have heard very little in the way of aria showcase/recital type discs; I have Hunt-Lieberson's disc with Harry Bicket, the aforementioned Ewa Podles, and, a bit different, Carolyn Sampson's NEUN DEUTSCHE ARIEN disc, which on last hearing I had cooled on, I'm disappointed to say.  Oh, and James Bowman's HEROIC ARIAS disc on Hyperion/Helios...tremendous.  And an Emma Kirkby 3cd that, somehow, I have not yet listened to...insane.  That one really should go on the player tonight.)

Hey Octave! Did you ever end up getting these Handel recordings from Harmonia Mundi?  If so, I would love to hear what you have to say about them.  Besides, this thread needs some more posts....   :D
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Octave on April 07, 2014, 01:58:53 AM
Hey Octave! Did you ever end up getting these Handel recordings from Harmonia Mundi?  If so, I would love to hear what you have to say about them.  Besides, this thread needs some more posts....   :D

Moonfish: ugh, sorry to respond so slowly.  I saw your question and meant to listen to the set again before responding, but that has not worked out.
I am not confident in terms of comparisons, but the Scholl recital is marvelous.  The others are really fine, LRL as good as one would expect, though if one has none of her Handel, I wonder if the SACD on Avie (w/Bicket) might be even more highly recommended?  (But I think you have that one?)  I wish I could be more specific!  I think you got this one anyway, so maybe you should share your own opinion of it?

I am hell-bent on getting LHL's THEODORA w/Wm. Christie, supposedly a fine one; I'll probably opt for the Blu-Ray for the sound quality (whether Peter Sellars' staging appeals to me or not....another matter), but you have probably seen the nice CD edition as well (same show AFAIK). 
The only reason I've dragged my feet is because it will be my fourth THEODORA and I'm starting to feel inundated. 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on February 22, 2016, 02:16:12 PM
We lean in the same direction. I prefer the operas in general to the oratorios, and I prefer the Italian influenced oratorios to the English ones though I concede the greatness of Theodora. Acis and Galatea, a favorite, can for many purposes be regarded as an opera (or at least a masque). The cantatas in general are superb. If we try to extrapolate from this; the conclusion is; the Italian Handel is generally superb. The English Handel is, with a few exceptions, merely very good.
This is quite interesting (and so is the fact that the thread is clearly dominated by operas, the early cantatas and the most operatic oratorios (like Hercules, Semele, Theodora).

Because it almost completely inverts the common opinion of 200 years between ca. 1770 (or maybe even earlier) and the late 20th century. (I wonder if Handel would have been as forgotten as Porpora or Bononcini had he died in 1730 before the major English works were written). That is for Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms and the public until the late 20th century Handel was first and foremost THE composer of CHORAL music, sublime, devote, uplifting, powerful monumental choral pieces with some arias in between for contrast ;) (This is not completely true; while the operas were mostly forgotten, Acis & Galatea was almost as popular as Messiah and some of the instrumental music was also frequently reprinted.)

Now I concur that this was a somewhat skewed view of the composer. And his "Italian" music (both the early pieces actually written in Italy and the Italian operas for London) is very good. Still, it is not *that* different from A. Scarlatti, Caldara, Bononcini etc. and it would be IMO hard to argue that Handel was more than primus inter pares. If at all, hardly any listener knows the cantatas, serenatas, operas and oratorios of these guys as well as Handel's (I certainly do not although I have heard some pieces) to be even able to do a fair comparison. 

Whereas the English oratorio seems a genuinely Handelian invention and a successful fusion of Italian style with English (Masque, Anthem) and German (contrapuntal choral style) that did not only "save" him from bankruptcy but brought forth some of the first musical works that never left the active repertoire since their first productions and defined the general style of "monumental" choral music until Brahms' Triumphlied.

So while I agree that it was past time that the "Italian" works received their fair share of attention, I think tradition had it right that the best of the English oratorios are superb and unique and therefore historically dominant whereas some of the operas might be superb but most are only very good ;) 
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: bluemooze on May 29, 2016, 05:59:16 PM
Coming in July...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FENQ1C8/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_03_03_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81PPBFEuUHL._SL1500_.jpg)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on May 29, 2016, 08:58:50 PM
Coming in July...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FENQ1C8/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_03_03_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1


Looks great, but no texts? ??? Not even on pdf? :(

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on May 29, 2016, 09:48:37 PM
100 p booklet is mentioned, but I too noticed there was no indication of any texts (wouldn't fit in 100 pages).

Anyway I have all the works and wouldn't be surprise if I had most of the performances in the box as well, event though some of my collection comes from the Erato stable of recordings. I plan to check......
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on May 29, 2016, 10:17:39 PM
It's not clear to me which recordings are in the box; probably L'oiseau Lyre, Decca and some Archiv? In any case, I bet I own already 60-80% of them (maybe even all, except Jephtha where I have only the one on Berlin/Brilliant).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: king ubu on May 30, 2016, 02:10:54 AM
Similar here ... have all but "Esther" and "Judas Maccabaeus", I think. Several by Gardiner, some Hogwood, and several again by Harnoncourt (Das alte Werk, thus not included).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on May 30, 2016, 05:27:20 AM
What I meant is that I am pretty sure I have most of the very recordings of that box. If they are mainly from Universal labels, that is Hogwood's L'oiseau lyre, Gardiners on Philips, Minkowski/Archiv.
The one I wonder about is Samson. Not sure if there was a recording on a Universal label...
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: king ubu on May 30, 2016, 05:47:56 AM
What I meant is that I am pretty sure I have most of the very recordings of that box. If they are mainly from Universal labels, that is Hogwood's L'oiseau lyre, Gardiners on Philips, Minkowski/Archiv.
The one I wonder about is Samson. Not sure if there was a recording on a Universal label...
Yeah, sorry, I should have been somewhat more specific: I have most of the oratorios in at least one recording, and several of them (Gardiner, Hogwood) might be the ones I own. Some others I have are from the Warner label family (Virgin, Das alte Werk; that's the ones by Harnoncourt and Parrott's "Israel in Egypt", seems originally on EMI?). But bottom line is: not really interested in the box all that much, I guess (unless the content will hold any surprises or excellent readings that cannot be found easily elsewhere).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on May 30, 2016, 08:31:02 AM

The one I wonder about is Samson. Not sure if there was a recording on a Universal label...

Gardiner on Philips.....

I'm behind on Händel's oratorio's with a few exceptions, so this set would definitely serve a purpose...if I figure out where to get the libretti.... ::)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on May 30, 2016, 11:17:31 AM
Gardiner on Philips.....

Doesn't exist.

Gardiner did several for Erato (not Samson, I think there was a pre-HIP Leppard recording on Erato)_ L'allegro, Israel, Semele, Funeral Ode
on Philips: Messiah, Israel, Alexander's Feast, Saul, Solomon, Jephta
on DG Archiv: Acis, Hercules

Assuming Universal recordings and preferring HIP, the options could be (I have all the ones with a star)

CD1-2 LA RESURREZIONE, HWV 47 Hogwood*, Minkowski
CD3-4 ACIS & GALATEA, HWV 49 (First version) Gardiner/archiv*
CD5-6 ESTHER, HWV 50 (First version) Hogwood*
CD7-8 ATHALIA, HWV 52 Hogwood*
CD9-10 ALEXANDER S FEAST, HWV 75 Gardiner*
CD11-13 SAUL, HWV 53 Gardiner* or McCreesh
CD14-15 ISRAEL IN EGYPT, HWV 54 Gardiner/Philips* (or Mackerras/Archiv or Preston?/Decca)
CD 16-17 MESSIAH, HWV 56 Gardiner/Philips, McCreesh*, Pinnock (both Archiv)
CD 18-20 SAMSON, HWV 57 ??? maybe Richter/Archiv

CD 21-23: SEMELE, HWV 58 Nelson/DG* (because Battle is mentioned, I am pretty sure it's that one
CD 24-26 HERCULES, HWV 60 Minkowski/Archiv* (Gardiner* is on 2 discs)
CD 27-29 BELSHAZZAR, HWV 61 Pinnock/Archiv*
CD 30-32 JUDAS MACCABAEUS, HWV 63 Mackerras/Archiv*
CD 33-35 SOLOMON, HWV 67 probably McCreesh/Archiv* (because Gardiner* is abridged and on 2 discs)
CD 36-38 THEODORA, HWV 68 McCreesh
CD 39-41 JEPHTHA, HWV 70 Gardiner
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: kishnevi on May 30, 2016, 12:00:40 PM
The Amazon list of performers includes Harry Christophers, the Sixteen, and the Symphony of Harmony and Invention....all of whom are found on this recording
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/419FRWXE5ML.jpg)

Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on May 30, 2016, 12:20:53 PM
Yes, I was wondering what Christophers name was doing there as he has to my knowledge not recorded for any Universal label. The Coro recording of Samson was originally on Collins (I have it...), so I wonder who it could end up in that "Decca" box. I am not sure, but it might be the only complete HIP recording of Samson.

Harnoncourt's is abridged by about 30% or more. There is another live recording on Carus with McGegan but I think it is also slightly cut (I got rid of it not because of the cuts but the weak singers, some major parts are very poorly cast, unfortunately as it is more lively in the choral scenes than Christophers)

Samson might be a little too long and not dramatic enough but the title role is quite fascinating (again unfortunately the probably best singer here is Rolfe Johnson with Harnoncourt, severely cut and with some poor supporting cast) and it has a few very good choirs as well.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Que on May 30, 2016, 08:38:27 PM
Doesn't exist.

My bad, I confused Samson with Solomon. .... 8)

Q
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: The new erato on June 01, 2016, 06:42:48 PM
There's also this new release:

HANDEL Oratorios

“The finest Composition of Musick that ever was heard” – this was only one of the enthusiastic press reviews written after the world premiere of Handel’s Messiah. Handel’s oratorios were, overall, already very popular during his lifetime and were frequently performed. Since 2009, Carus has been issuing a CD series with Handel’s oratorios as well as select vocal works, operas and instrumental compositions. Now a box containing 13 CDs and comprising several large-scale oratorios has been compiled: it includes, in addition to Messiah, Alexander’s Feast, Israel in Egypt, Brockes-Passion, Solomon as well as the relatively unknown gem L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato. The artists on this CD collection include the Kölner Kammerchor under Peter Neumann, Kammerchor Stuttgart under Frieder Bernius, Vocalensemble Rastatt under Holger Speck and Winchester Cathedral Choir under Nicolas McGegan.

Carus 13cds CARUS83040
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Andante on July 18, 2016, 01:19:42 PM
I must admit I came to Handel only about 20-25 years ago when a friend kept bombarding me with GFH, every time we hade a music evening he would include excerpts from the popular oratorio and eventually it clicked and now I am a committed Handelarian but in no way a knowledgeable expert.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 14, 2017, 11:44:13 AM
Coming in July...

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01FENQ1C8/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_03_03_t_img_lh?ie=UTF8&psc=1

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/81PPBFEuUHL._SL1500_.jpg)
Is this worth getting? The Oratorios are a huge hole in my collection (I think I have just messiah).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on November 14, 2017, 12:31:39 PM
It's certainly worth getting. I have all but three of the included recordings (Messiah, Jephtha and Theodora). They are all major works, except Esther and Athalia, and most of the recordings are among the best. Although this does not mean so much because for many of them there are only about 3-5 recordings available, they are all very good. And most of the major pieces are included. (There are few more out there with even fewer recordings, mostly on Hyperion, such as Joshua, Joseph, Alexander Balus...)
A small flaw is that the version of Israel in Egypt is the 2-part-one (but if you like the piece, Parrott's recording of the 3-part version is on a cheap twofer).
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: mc ukrneal on November 14, 2017, 12:44:15 PM
It's certainly worth getting. I have all but three of the included recordings (Messiah, Jephtha and Theodora). They are all major works, except Esther and Athalia, and most of the recordings are among the best. Although this does not mean so much because for many of them there are only about 3-5 recordings available, they are all very good. And most of the major pieces are included. (There are few more out there with even fewer recordings, mostly on Hyperion, such as Joshua, Joseph, Alexander Balus...)
A small flaw is that the version of Israel in Egypt is the 2-part-one (but if you like the piece, Parrott's recording of the 3-part version is on a cheap twofer).

Thanks. I actually have Israel in Egypt...with Parrott no less! Didn't remember that one when I was writing. So except for that and Messiah, all new pieces for me. The singing sounded quite good on the clips.
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 14, 2017, 04:10:01 PM
Is this worth getting? The Oratorios are a huge hole in my collection (I think I have just messiah).

Absolutely worth getting. I have most of the Oratorios, though not necessarily from the Universal team (Decca, Philips, DG), but musically they are the equal of the operas in every respect. And I rather like Esther. ;)
Title: Re: Getting at Handel's operas and oratorios
Post by: Jo498 on November 15, 2017, 12:10:46 AM
There is nothing wrong with Esther but it is among the earliest of the english oratorios and certainly far less famous than "Saul" and most of the others included in that box.
The major omissions from the box are the Ode for St. Cecilia's Day (not really an oratorio which might be the reason) and "L'allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato" (where the reason is probably that Universal did not have a recording in their vaults although Christophers' Samson is also not from them).
Many listeners prefer the oratorios because they are generally more varied than the operas and the choral passages are what Handel has been most famous for since the late 18th century.
Some of the included oratorios have been successfully staged. Acis and Galathea (one of the most popular as the overhauling by both Mozart and Mendelssohn shows) is more like a chamber opera anyway. Semele and Hercules are also operas in all but in name and language. But some of the greatest ones are rather un-operatic. Solomon is pretty static except for the Harlot scene but has some of the greatest choral pieces ever.