Handel’s operas are now so thoroughly a part of modern musical life that you might think every major opera house welcomes them. But until November 2010, when it introduced an absorbing new production of Alcina, the Vienna Staatsoper resisted them, not having done a Baroque opera since Monteverdi’s Poppea in the 1960s.
The present production boasted an all-star cast of Baroque specialists, a former director of the Royal Shakespeare Company – Adrian Noble, the highly-acclaimed conductor Marc Minkowski and his Les Musiciens du Louvre-Grenoble in the pit.
Adrian Noble places his Alcina into a framework which begins in the magnifi cent ballroom of the Devonshire-House in London Piccadilly. The legendary Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, stages a play in which she is acting together with her friends, a stage on the stage.
Alcina is a great musical experience geared to the Baroque curiosity. Marc Minkowski revives Handel’s music in an outstanding way.
BONUS: Behind the Scenes
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, DD 5.1
Picture Format: 16:9
DVD Format: 2 x DVD 9, NTSC
Subtitle Languages: DE, GB, FR, ES, IT, JP, Korean
Running Time: 205 mins (Opera) + 21 mins (Bonus)
“Harteros's willowy figure and terrically responsive facial features are huge assets for Alcina. Her warm lirico-spinto instrument boasts the necessary range and flexibility...Truly phenomenal is Alois Mühlbacher (Oberto), with spot-on intonation, excellent coloratura and a surprisingly colourful timbre. He's also adorable to watch...Marc Minkowski and his Musiciens du Louvre contribute terrific dramatic flair and, of course, technique and musicianship of the highest order.”
“Adrian Noble's 2010 Vienna staging, to handsome designs by Anthony Ward, partially retains the magical ambience but as a setting within a setting...Noble extracts decent dramatic performances from all participants, even if they rarely achieve that sense of engagement such passionate material demands...The DVD features consistently high-quality music-making from Marc Minkowski and his French period-instrument band.”
“Conductor and orchestra are superb; so is Anja Harteros, who finds real depth in Alcina's passion for Ruggiero. After an effortful start in her opening aria, Veronia Cangemi is well on form in 'Credete al mio dolore'. Kristina Hammarström looks and sounds well as Bradamante.”
2nd December 2011
“an imaginative and colourful production from the Vienna State Opera, directed by former RSC boss Adrian Noble. Wittily staged as though it was an amateur theatrical entertainment mounted by Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, and her friends, it features a fabulous performance by soprano Anja Harteros in the title role”
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