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Handel : Alcina [Highlights]
 
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Handel : Alcina [Highlights]

5 Jun 2006 | Format: MP3

2.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 30 Oct 2000
  • Release Date: 30 Oct 2000
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Copyright: 2000 Erato Disques S.A.
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:12:38
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001F5JIDE
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,178 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

2.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By gmonorej@uoguelph.ca on 10 Dec 2000
Format: Audio CD
This generous sampling (72 min.) of the complete recording offers splendid singing from the four sopranos.All are in top form,displaying vocal opulence and dazzling technique.Fleming/Alcina has four arias, Dessay/Morgana two, Graham/Ruggiero two,and Kuhlmann/Bradamante one. In addition we have an Act 3 trio in which the voices blend delightfully. Although taken from live performances in Paris, audience/stage noises are virtually non-existent, with the exception of a very brief and well-deserved burst of applause after Dessay's Tornami a vagheggiar. Christie and the Arts Florissants, unlike the singers,provide relentlessly "authentic" baroque support, with scrawny and acerbic string tone and, surprisingly, some lethargic tempos.
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By Scott N. on 21 Mar 2014
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Cheap download but not even worth it for the poor choice of excerpts :-( Best to buy the whole version on CD instead which you will enjoy for sure!!
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Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
Dullest performance of Alcina I have ever heard, no life, no pace, no excitement, dispite all the star names involved. Christie, who is normally such a fine conductor, here adopts tempi so slow as to be lethagic. He even makes Tornami unexciting. It is all very beautifully sung, but lacks the dramatic impact needed to bring Handel opera to life.
Fleming has a lovely voice but is not dramatic enough for Handel. Graham also has a lovely voice but lacks the power needed for a role originally written for the castrato Senisino. Dessay is not at her best, l have heard her sing much better, in Giulio Cesare, for example.
Try the Hickox recording, or even the old Sutherland recordings!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Powerful Females Inhabit Splendid Handel Recording 9 Jan 2005
By Ed Uyeshima - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Four magnificent singers are put on starry-eyed display in this energetic recording of a live performance of the 1999 Paris Opéra production of Handel's "Alcina". Each delivers their individual stamp in some of Handel's most powerful and beautiful arias. The irony is that the basis upon which these emotions pour forth in such majestic torrents is actually a fanciful tale about a sorceress, Alcina, who lures men to her island only to turn them into animals when they fall in love with her. Needless to say, things get complicated when Alcina truly does fall in love with Ruggiero, who already has a fiancée, Bradamante, who disguises herself as his brother but not before Alcina's sister, Morgana, also falls in love with Ruggiero. Even though it sounds like a convoluted Shakespearean comedy, Handel took this plot quite seriously and filled his work with sonorous set pieces that tear down the characters' vulnerability in often ravishing fashion.

In her first foray into Handel, superstar soprano Renée Fleming cuts a very passionate, sometimes imperious figure in the title role. Her high point is Alcina's intense Act II aria, "Ah! Mio cor", where upon being abandoned by Ruggiero, she lets out an aria of heartbreaking poignancy but then gives way to her regal bearing and plots her regal act of vengeance. Having just seen Fleming in the Stephen Wadsworth production of Handel's "Rodelinda" at the Metropolitan Opera last week, I was impressed at how she harnessed her famous trilling to fit the contours of her put-upon character. With Alcina, Fleming embodies a character more to her passionate singing style, her coloratura resplendent without undue ornamentation. Mezzo-soprano Susan Graham does a "pants" role as Ruggiero and plays the lover with conviction. She sings her Act III aria, "Sta nell'Ircana", with a romantic openness befitting the bewildered character. Soprano Natalie Dessay handles the soubrettish role of Morgana with fiery virtuosity, certainly on full display in her Act I aria, "Tornami a vagheggiar". Contralto Kathleen Kuhlmann carries the vocal heft and executes the diction required to be persuasive as the disguised fiancée, a smaller role but given a nice showcase with the Act I aria, "È gelosia". The inevitable capper is the climactic trio performance of Fleming, Graham and Kuhlmann on "Non è amor, nè gelosia", as powerful a melding of supreme voices as you are likely to hear on an opera recording. Much of the credit is due to the estimable William Christie conducting the expert playing of Les Arts Florissants. This is a splendid recording with a minimum of stage and background noise. Strongly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
An Intoxicating ALCINA 4 Aug 2012
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
ALCINA by George Frideric Handel was written in London in1735. While the plot of the opera contains more absurdities than most, the arias in this work are endlessly fascinating to hear and challenging to sing. Thinking that one of the original productions of the early form of LA Opera was a beautifully staged version with the incomparable, now deceased Arleen Auger in the title role was a pinnacle, it only takes a few moments into this 1999 Parisian recording with William Christie conducting the les Arts Florissants supercedes that offering.

The cast is magnificent with Renée Fleming giving full voice drama to Alcina and supported at every turn by Susan Graham's heroic Ruggiero. These two artists are o well matched in timbre and style that they are currently doing rather extensive appearances across the US in a duet program. Add to the beauty of their singing the splendid pyrotechniques of Natalie Dessay as Morgana, Kathleen Kuhlmann as Bradamante, and minor roles of Laurent Naouri as Melisso, Timothy Robinson as Oronte, and Juanita Lascarro as Oberto and the cast likely could not be better. For all of its absurdities of plot, this baroque opera comes deliciously alive in the wise, stylish hands of conductor William Christie. This recording is a gem. Grady Harp, August 12
Dream Cast 15 Feb 2012
By Brent Trafton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Handel's "Alcina" is my all time favorite opera. There are not many recordings of it but this recording features the dream cast of Renee Fleming, Susan Graham, and Natalie Dessay. William Christie and Les Arts Florissants is one of the best original instrument orchestras in the world.

While the serious collector will want to buy the entire opera, this recording of highlights is a good introduction to anyone unfamiliar with this under-appreciated masterpiece.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Renée, Avoid Baroque Please! 23 Feb 2008
By G. Rodger - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I got this because I was curious to see what it was like, but afraid it would be so awful that I wasn't willing to spend the money on the full set. I was right--it was awful. When William Christie is working with good period singers he's generally not too bad, but about 50% of this cast are not that. Dessay was exactly what I expected and Kathleen Kuhlman, a singer I don't know, was actually pretty good. Fleming and Graham on the other hand, not so much!

Fleming sobbed, sighed and emoted her way through the whole thing in a style more suited to Verdi and generally getting in the way of the music. Even given she's Alcina and a true bad girl, she was so over the top it was was painful. Susan Graham was also all wrong--too restrained and to apologetic about the bottom of her range, and absolutely not nearly manly enough for her role (that's why they call it acting, right?). I played it once, put it on my CD shelf and it hasn't come off since. I recently moved over to iPod and didn't even bother copying this dud--it's never going to be played again and I'll probably off-load it at some point in the future.

I haven't yet sought out another recording of this, but there are a couple of recent ones that look better, and one of them has Kuhlman in the cast. It would be interesting to see what she does with a different group of singers.
5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This CD has opened my eyes to Baroque Opera 29 July 2003
By Trevor Gillespie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I haven't had much interest in trying out baroque opera, based on the first opera I went to, which was Monteverdi's Orpheus. I found it to be quite a bore. Ever since, I hadn't wanted to try out other baroque opera. I, however, am a big fan of Renee Fleming, and as I have been slowly gathering most of her releases to date, I eventually decided I wanted to get the Alcina recording --- at least the hightlight to see if it was tolerable. Immediately, within the first two arias, I was reminded of the beauty subtlety and power of Renee's voice but the very same qualities are found in this opera! I have returned to this disc many times just relishing in each aria. Each one has such beautiful melodies and singing. The recording quality is very good too. This recording only furthered my belief that Renee Fleming can do no wrong in my eyes. God bless her that she may have a long and fruitful recording career---for my benefit.
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