I just saw three pieces of interesting news on the internet. At least they were new to me: Andreas Scholl has left Decca and signed with Harmonia Mundi; he has recorded a new album with Händel pieces; the Giulio Cesare of The Royal Danish Opera is to be released this spring.
The Händel album includes one of my favourite pieces: Il Duello Amoroso in which Andreas Scholl and the soprano Hélène Guilmette sing the lovesick shepherd Daliso and the proud and rejecting shepherdess Amarilli. I heard it a couple of years ago with Scholl and his ex Camilla Tilling. Wonderful even with Scholl having a slight cold. Even though conducted by the baroque specialist and harpsichord player Lars Ulrik Mortensen the (modern) ensemble pieced together by musicians from the Danish Radio Orchestra had a hard time sounding like an improvising bunch of baroque enthusiasts. So I’m glad that this recording is with exactly such an ensemble: Accademia Bizantina and Ottavio Dantone.
You can read more and listen to a couple of samples here. I especially recommend the second sample which is from the Duello Amoroso.
I can hardly wait to get my hands on it!
It has long been rumoured that Harmonia Mundi would release a dvd of Francisco Negrin’s production of Händel’s Giulio Cesare. And now it seems it is about to happen. I can’t find an exact date but spring…spring is here! This is one of the best stagings I have seen of any opera so it’s definitely worth releasing. Here’s a little snatch of the opera. Cleopatra’s aria Piangerò la sorte mia performed by Inger Dam-Jensen who just happens to be one of my favourite singers and the Concerto Copenhagen conducted by Lars Ulrik Mortensen. Cleopatra thinks all is lost – Giulio dead and kingdom taken by bad, bad brother who in this production seems to be ready to rape her on their next encounter – and he took her wig! The aria changes between complete sorrow and a furious vendetta feeling, between “I will weep for my fate” and “I will haunt him as a ghost”. It is one of those arias that pretty surely brings tears to my eyes.
I hope the dvd will be out soon – hereby recommended.
In the meantime I have been watching another production of Giulio Cesare: David McVicar’s staging from Glyndebourne 2005. I don’t think it is as marvellous as Negrin’s but it is still very good. I’m completely taken by Sarah Connolly who portrays Giulio with a manliness many men could learn from. I’m close on having a girl crush on her or…should that just be crush? I listened to a radio interview with her where she says you just have to keep your bum in in order to look like a man! You can listen to that here. Besides from the bum part she seems very nice and interesting.
Danielle De Niese as Cleopatra is wondrous both as singer and actor/performer. She doesn’t touch me so very much though and I think it’s because she misses one thing I love about the Cleopatra character: that she changes from thoughtless child to full grown woman during the opera. But hey – she is very good and very funny.William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment work miracles in the pit.Below is a clip from the end of the opera. Nice “in-love-interaction” between Cleo and Jules. And his costume is very Louis XIV…
The guys who enter towards the end are the dead Tolomeo and Achilla! Seems like they will be haunting poor Sesto.