Handel: Hercules

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Handel: Hercules



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Release date:

28th April 2008




3 hours 9 minutes


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Handel: Hercules

Nicola Wemyss (Dejanira), Gerlinde Sämann (Iole), Franz Vitzthum (Lichas), Knut Schoch (Hyllus), Peter Kooij (Hercules)

Junge Kantorei & Frankfurt Baroque Orchestra, Joachim Carlos Martini

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Handel composed Hercules for his 1744-45 oratorio season as the secular foil to one of his most ambitious sacred dramas, Belshazzar, hoping to repeat the success of the previous season’s Samson/Semele pairing. Like Semele, Hercules, which Handel called ‘A Musical Drama’, is an English opera in all but name and shares its theme of the destructive power of sexual jealousy. Handel’s music is of outstanding quality and the commanding figure of Dejanira – rapturous in her love for her returning hero, distraught at his imagined dalliance with Iöle, eventually mad with despair at the enormity of her misguided actions – is one of his most powerfully drawn female rôles.

George Frideric Handel: Hercules, HWV 60

Act I: Overture

Act I: Menuetto

Act I: Accompagnato: See, with what sad dejection in her looks (Lichas)

Act I: Aria: No longer, fate, relentless frown (Lichas)

Act I: Accompagnato: O, Hercules, why art thou absent from me? (Dejanira)

Act I: Aria: The world, when day's career is run (Dejanira)

Act I: Recitative: Princess! Be comforted, and hope the best! (Lichas, Dejanira, Hyllus)

Act I: Arioso: I feel, I feel the god, he swells my breast (Hyllus)

Act I: Recitative: He said the sacred fury left his breast (Hyllus, Dejanira)

Act I: Aria: There, in myrtle shades reclin'd (Dejanira)

Act I: Recitative: Despair not, but let rising hope suspend (Hyllus)

Act I: Aria: Where congeal'd the northern streams (Hyllus)

Act I: O filial piety, O gen'rous love! (Chorus)

Act I: Recitative: Banish your fears! The noble Hercules lives (Lichas, Dejanira)

Act I: Aria: Begone, my fears, fly hence, away (Dejanira)

Act I: Recitative: A train of captives, red with honest wounds (Lichas, Hyllus, Dejanira)

Act I: Aria: The smiling hours of joyful train (Lichas)

Act I: Let none despair; relief may come though late (Chorus)

Act I: Recitative: Ye faithful followers of the wretched Iole (Iole, First Oechalian)

Act I: Aria: Daughter of Gods, bright liberty! (Iole)

Act I: Recitative: But hark! The victor comes! (Iole)

Act I: March

Act I: Recitative: Thanks to the pow'rs above (Hercules, Iole)

Act I: Aria: My father! Ah, methinks I see (Iole)

Act I: Recitative: Now farewell, arms! From hence, the tide of time (Hercules)

Act I: Aria: The God of battle quits the bloody field (Hercules)

Act I: Crown with festal pomp the day (Chorus)

Act II: Sinfonia

Act II: Recitative: Why was I born a princess, rais'd on high (Iole)

Act II: Aria: How blest the maid ordained to dwell (Iole)

Act II: Recitative: It must be so! Fame speaks aloud my wrongs (Dejanira, Iole)

Act II: Aria: When beauty sorrow's liv'ry wears (Dejanira)

Act II: Recitative: Whence this unjust suspicion? (Iole, Dejanira)

Act II: Ah, think what ills the jealous prove! (Iole)

Act II: Recitative: It is too sure that Hercules is false (Dejanira)

Act II: Recitative: My godlike master? (Lichas, Dejanira)

Act II: Aria: As stars, that rise and disappear (Lichas)

Act II: Recitative: In vain you strive his falsehood to disguise (Dejanira, Lichas)

Act II: Jealousy! Infernal pest (Chorus)

Act II: Recitative: She knows my passion, and has heard me breathe (Hyllus, Iole)

Act II: Aria: Banish love from thy breast (Iole)

Act II: Recitative: Forgive a passion, which resistless sways (Hyllus)

Act II: Aria: From celestial seats descending (Hyllus)

Act II: Wanton god of amorous fires (Chorus)

Act II: Recitative: Yes, I congratulate your titles (Dejanira, Hercules)

Act II: Aria: Alcides' name in latest story (Hercules)

Act II: Recitative: O, glorious pattern of heroic deeds! (Dejanira)

Act II: Aria: Resign thy club and lion's spoils (Dejanira)

Act II: Recitative: You are deceived! (Hercules, Dejanira)

Act II: Aria: Cease, ruler of the day, to rise (Dejanira)

Act II: Recitative: Some kinder pow'r inspire me to regain (Dejanira, Lichas)

Act II: Aria: Constant lovers never roving (Lichas)

Act II: Recitative: But see, the princess Iole. Retire! (Dejanira, Iole)

Act II: Aria: Still caressing and caress'd (Iole)

Act II: Duet: Joys of freedom, joys of pow'r (Dejanira, Iole)

Act II: Recitative: Father of Hercules, great Jove, oh help (Dejanira)

Act II: Love and Hymen, hand in hand (Chorus)

Act III: Sinfonia

Act III: Recitative: Ye sons of Trachin, mourn your valiant chief (Lichas, First Trachinian)

Act III: Aria: O scene of unexampled woe (Lichas)

Act III: Recitative: O fatal jealousy (First Trachinian)

Act III: Tyrants now no more shall dread (Chorus)

Act III: Aria: O Jove, what land is this, what clime accurst (Hercules)

Act III: Recitative: Great Jove, relieve his pains! (Hyllus)

Act III: Accompagnato: Was it for this unnumber'd toils I bore? (Hercules, Hyllus)

Act III: Aria: Let not fame the tidings spread (Hyllus)

Act III: Accompagnato: Where shall I fly? Where hide this guilty head? (Dejanira)

Act III: Recitative: Lo! The fair fatal cause of all this ruin! (Dejanira, Iole)

Act III: Aria: My breast with tender pity swells (Iole)

Act III: Recitative - Accompagnato: Princess, rejoice, whose Heav'n-directed hand (Priest of Jupiter, Dejanira)

Act III: Aria: He, who for Atlas prop'd the sky (Lichas)

Act III: Recitative - Accompagnato: Words are too faint to speak the warring passions (Dejanira, Priest of Jupiter)

Act III: Recitative: How blest is Hyllus, if the lovely Iole (Hyllus, Iole)

Act III: Duet: Oh prince, whose virtues all admire (Iole, Hyllus)

Act III: Recitative: Ye sons of freedom, now, in every clime (Priest of Jupiter)

Act III: To him your grateful notes of praise belong (Chorus)

Gramophone Magazine

December 2008

“The orchestra… play with precision, vigour and awareness. Peter Kooij… sings with intelligence and warmth. Gerlinde Sämann sings Iole's difficult arias with assurance… and the astonishing aria "My father! Methinks I see" is excellently done.”

MusicWeb International

“Singing, playing and theatrical and musical direction… are very good indeed and full of life and integrity. There really is much to enjoy here.”

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