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Handel: Alcina
 
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Digital Booklet: Handel: Alcina
n/a
Disc 2
30
1
2:30
30
2
2:31
30
3
5:06
30
4
1:12
30
5
4:06
30
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0:17
30
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6:47
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1:08
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7:08
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0:54
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6:03
30
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0:58
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3:43
30
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0:34
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9:30
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0:53
30
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3:56
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1:24
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4:07
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2:39
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21
6:40
Disc 3
30
1
0:48
30
2
1:10
30
3
7:43
30
4
0:23
30
5
4:06
30
6
1:09
30
7
4:19
30
8
0:33
30
9
5:56
30
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0:18
30
11
3:09
30
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0:44
30
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6:47
30
14
0:44
30
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1:17
30
16
2:56
30
17
0:40
30
18
5:12
30
19
0:57
30
20
1:46
30
21
2:08
30
22
1:03
30
23
0:40
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 2009
  • Release Date: 16 Mar. 2009
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Universal Music Group International
  • Copyright: (C) 2009 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 3:22:45
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B006U4ZDLG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 187,282 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Paul C on 10 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
Having been distinctly under-whelmed by Alan Curtis's account of Tolomeo, I was in two minds as to whether to buy this set at all.

There have been several previous recordings of this opera, most recently by Richard Hickox and William Christie. While both are good accounts of this work, I was always left feeling that something was missing. I didn't expect Curtis to add anything new to the debate but I was more than pleasantly surprised.

What I really like about this set is the sense of involvement by the cast members.

Recitatives are sung with real drama, just as they should be. They are paced very well throughout. One feels like one is listening to a performance rather than a recording.

Turning to the cast, the principal character in this opera is of course the sorceress Alcina herself.

It is therefore pleasing to report that Joyce DiDonato is magnificent in the title role and infuses her performance with real passion, not to mention vocal brilliance, throughout. This is a real star turn.

The rest of the cast is good, if unexceptional, although I particularly liked Kobie van Rensburg's clear tenor voice.

The decoration of the da capo sections of arias can often prove a sore point in recordings of opera seria, but here they generally seem well-judged and tasteful.

The orchestra is on fine form, although as is often the case with recordings by Curtis, I sensed a lack of variety of texture, perhaps more so in the ballet music.

I have already mentioned the dramatic power of this performance and a couple of particularly fine examples are worthy of mention.

The Act 3 trio is for me is the climax of the work.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Aug. 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In 1733 a group of wealthy patrons and breakaway Italian singers including Senesino formed the rival company Opera of the Nobility under the direction of Nicola Antonio Porpora, which in the next season displaced Handel from the King's Theatre in the Haymarket. Handel needed to respond to the challenge and take opera up a level with new attractions to bring in the punters.

He moved to the recently opened and well-equipped Covent Garden, and gave opportunities to a number of home-grown singers alongside the Italian superstars. He began to incorporate the Covent Garden chorus (previously the chorus had consisted of the soloists in unison), and recruited the dance company of the famed French ballerina Marie Sallé.

His first production there, Ariodante, first performed in 1735, was reasonably successful, but it was with his second production of that year Alcina that Handel could be said to have vanquished his opponents. The first run was of eighteen performances, and it remains one of his most popular and well-liked operas today.

Deriving like many other of the era's operas, including Handel's aforementioned Ariodante and Orlando from two years previously, from the epic poems recounting the tales of Roland the Paladin, the plot revolves around the struggle between the crusader knight Ruggiero and his betrothed Bradamante against the sorceress Alcina and her sister Morgana.

Vocal performances are variable. Joyce DiDonato as Alcina again frustratingly demonstrates that she can be for the larger part peerless and beyond compare and yet at times a little lacking.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Iain C. Davidson on 6 April 2009
Format: Audio CD
Handel's 'Alcina' is generally regarded as one of his finest operas and has already been recorded more than most of his works. Now Alan Curtis and his forces have added it to his ever expanding Handel discography. I have never been entirely happy with any of the previous versions on disc and was looking forward to Curtis' interpretation, so is it the best so far? Well, it's not perfect - I think there is still room for that but on balance it may be the most consistent and recommendable.

For a start, Joyce diDonato is really good in the title role. I was a little unsure about this piece of casting - a mezzo soprano in a soprano role but she carries it off wonderfully, the tessitura seemingly holding no problems for her. She is also very dramatic - 'Ombre pallide' and the recitative preceeding it are terrific! In my opinion, hers is the best interpretation of the title role so far on disc. Maite Beaumont is also a very good Ruggiero with a light, sunny voice - she is especially good in the first act. I love Karina Gauvin's rich, creamy voice and she sings beautifully once more in this but I think I might have preferred a lighter voice for the flightly Morgana - she is good though! Vito Priante makes much of little in the bass role and Laura Cherici is lovely as the boy Oberto.

Curtis and I do not have the same taste in tenors; there is nothing wrong with Kobie van Rensburg's singing but I don't particularly like his somewhat abrasive tone. I was also a little disappointed in Sonia Prina's Bradamante although I usually like this singer. Curtis' band is a little smaller than those on the rival recordings and although more authentic I kind of missed the lush strings in numbers like 'Di cor mio' and 'Mi lusingha'.
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