Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Opus Arte: OA0950D

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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Awards:

Gramophone Awards 2006

Best of Category

Gramophone Magazine

DVD of the Month - July 2006

BBC Music Magazine

DVD Choice - June 2006

Label:

Opus Arte

Catalogue No:

OA0950D

Discs:

3

Release date:

3rd April 2006

Barcode:

0809478009504

Medium:

DVD Video

Format:

NTSC

Region:

all

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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto

Recorded live at the Glyndebourne Opera House, East Sussex, on 14th & 17th August 2005.


Sarah Connolly (Cesare), Danielle de Niese (Cleopatra), Angelika Kirchschlager (Sesto), Christophe Dumaux (Tolomeo), Patricia Bardon (Cornelia), Christopher Maltman (Achilla) & Rachid Ben Abdeslam (Nireno)

The Glyndebourne Chorus & Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, William Christie (conductor) & David McVicar (stage director)

DVD Video - 3 discs

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David McVicar’s production of Giulio Cesare manages to combine serious insight with entertainment, bringing Handel’s masterpiece to life in a powerful, convincing and highly intelligent way. In every line of the complex narrative the subtle nuances are apparent, reflecting perfectly the transparent and exquisite nature of Handel’s musical expression. Filmed in High Definition and recorded in true surround sound, the outstanding singing of the all-star cast, led by a superb Sarah Connolly, and the vivid playing of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under the energising baton of William Christie reveal the colour and dramatic character of Handel’s music in a most delightful manner.

‘…a production with performances to savour, led from the pit by William Christie and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment on stylish form. Sarah Connolly… gave a ‘complete’ performance full of intelligence and subtlety. Danielle de Niese stole the show as a wily, fun-filled sex kitten who renders men helpless with her irresistible charms.’ Opera Now

Specials:

"Entertainment is not a Dirty Word" - documentary about the opera including interviews with William Christie, David McVicar and the cast.

"Danielle de Niese & the Glyndebourne experience" - an informal portrait of Danielle de Niese in her first-ever Glyndebourne season.

PICTURE FORMAT: 16:9

LENGTH: 295 Mins

SOUND: DTS SURROUND / LPCM STEREO

SUBTITLES: EN/FR/DE/ES/IT

Gramophone Classical Music Guide

2010

“David McVicar's 2005 staging, revived the following summer, provoked a deal of contrasting views among the critical fraternity but was adored by the Glyndebourne public. Chief cause of their delight was the overtly sexual, high-hoofing performance of Cleopatra by the irrepressible Danielle de Niese (who is accorded a delightful 22-minute narrative on her Glyndebourne experience among the extras here). Her vocal command and stage presence are spectacular in every sense, and from her first aria she utterly seduces her audience.
McVicar took advantage of her attractive skills to build the opera around her personality.
We are here in the high noon of British imperialism and the Ottoman Empire, with Caesar more like a late-19th-century English general than a Roman emperor, and with the Egyptian milieu heavily underlined by milling extras, now always a not-altogether welcome feature of a McVicar production. They clutter the stage and draw attention away from the principals, although one has to admit that the highly disciplined and often captivating choreography is brilliantly executed within Robert Jones's exotic sets. McVicar does at least allow the moments of serious drama to be played out without undue interference – such as the deeply moving duet that closes Act 1 and Cleopatra's 'Piangerò'.
Finally it has to be said that only Glyndebourne allows for the rehearsal time to prepare such a complex and ingenious staging.
The musical side of things is equally well prepared and thought-through under William Christie's knowledgeable and commanding direction. He manages to balance with the same finesse and care the light and serious parts of the score, even if his love for Handel leads him to a few self-indulgently slow tempi. The OAE play lovingly and with period skills for him. By the time of this DVD recording, near the end of the run, the whole thing moves with eloquence matched by elegance.
De Niese sings her airy numbers as to the manner born, seconded by expertly erotic dancing.
She manages most of the emotional substance of her sadder arias, but they sometimes seem wanting in the tonal weight ideally required. Sarah Connolly's thoroughly believable Caesar is sung with her firm tone and well schooled mastery of Handelian style, including subtle embellishments.
This wilful and imperial Caesar manages to change moods as his music demands.
Some of the most accomplished and tender Handelian singing comes from Patricia Bardon's moving Cornelia and Angelika Kirchschlager's concerned Sesto, although the latter does slightly overplay the character's seemingly neurotic state of mind following his father's brutal death. The young countertenor Christophe Dumaux playing Tolomeo is suitably brat-like and spoilt. He, like most of the cast, fulfils all the stringent demands of this very physical staging. Christopher Maltman makes Achilles as nasty as he should be. The sense of teamwork all round is confirmed in the interviews included in the extras. Robin Lough's DVD direction is faultless.”

Penguin Guide

2010

***

“an account at once scholarly, lively and refreshing...Sarah Connolly sings superbly in the title-role, looking very boyish...Patricia Bardon is an excellent Cornelia and Christophe Dumaux a characterful Tolomeo.”

Gramophone Magazine

July 2006

“…a runaway success at Glyndebourne is turned into a great DVD. David McVicar's 2005 staging… was adored by the Glyndebourne public. Chief cause of their delight was the overtly sexual, high-hoofing performance of Cleopatra by the irrepressible Danielle de Niese... Her vocal command and stage presence are spectacular in every sense, and from her first aria she utterly seduces her audience. McVicar took... William Christie... manages to balance with the same finesse and care the light and serious parts of the score... Sarah Connolly's thoroughly believable Caesar is sung with her firm tone and well schooled mastery of Handelian style, including subtle embellishments. Some of the most accomplished and tender Handelian singing comes from Patricia Bardon's moving Cornelia and Angelika Kirchschlager's concerned Sesto... The young countertenor Christophe Dumaux playing Tolomeo is suitably brat-like and spoilt. He, like most of the cast, fulfils all the stringent demands of this very physical staging. Christopher Maltman makes Achilles as nasty as he should be. The sense of teamwork all round is confirmed in the interviews included in the extras. Robin Lough's DVD direction is faultless.”

Presto Classical

Katherine Cooper

August 2014

“Justly garlanded with awards aplenty, David McVicar's 2005 Glyndebourne production offers a witty, imaginative post-colonial take on Handel's best-known opera. Sarah Connolly is the definitive Caesar, whilst Danielle de Niese's high-glamour, all-singing-all-dancing Cleopatra catapulted her to stardom. William Christie directs with his customary energy and insight in the pit.”

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