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Handel: Partenope [DVD] [2009] [NTSC]

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Handel: Partenope [DVD] [2009] [NTSC] + Handel - Giulio Cesare (Andreas Scholl, Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen) [DVD] [2007] + Rodelinda [DVD] [2011]
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Product details

  • Actors: Andreas Scholl, Inger Dam-Jensen, Tuva Semmingsen, Christophe Dumaux, Lars Ulrik Mortensen
  • Directors: Francisco Negrin
  • Format: Colour, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Decca
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Sep 2009
  • Run Time: 187 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002E9H3CI
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 86,271 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


A major contribution to "Handel Year", this spectacular DVD features countertenor star Andreas Scholl performing in Handel's classic comedy Partenope.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Karen Henriksen on 14 Sep 2009
I went to see this production 6 times (plus one dress rehearsal) in Copenhagen, so I was all too aware of the fact that the production was cursed. Andreas Scholl wasn't on form until the last few shows and Tuva Semmingsen missed 4½ performances out of a total of 8, due to a sore throat (they probably handed the 'contagion' back and forth between them). Consequently, there wasn't one single performance where all 6 singers were at their best. The fact that that goes by (almost) unnoticed on this DVD is due to the editing. It also goes a long way in explaining the numerous closeups and odd angles used by the editors - they must have had to be rather creative.

The DVD captures everything that was great about this performance - great singing and acting by all involved and I even spotted a few details that I had missed on all my live viewings, despite owning a great pair of binoculars. It is both moving and hilarious. The staging is modern but very unobtrusive - it works! Concerto Copenhagen are amazing as always and the stage direction is also very impressive.

The sound quality is much better than anticipated (and much better than on Giulio Cesare, despite having been recorded at the same theatre) - I was expecting it to suffer from the cutting and pasting, which it hasn't.

I highly recommend this DVD - even if you're weary of baroque opera. The battle scene alone is worth the price of 'admission'.

(If you want more, I recommend this: Handel - Giulio Cesare (Mortensen, Concerto Copenhagen) [DVD] [2007] [US Import] - 4 of the singers in Partenope took part in that production, along with the stage director, conductor and orchestra).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 26 Sep 2009
Handel: Partenope [DVD] [2009]

If like me Handel operas and countertenors are not for you, think again, because Partenope is not a mythological or historical opera seria, is very much a human drama of uncertainty and longing for love with deceptions in relationships all of which translate into a modern setting pretty convincingly.

Countertenors Adreas Scholl (Arsace) and Christolphe Dumaux (Amindo) have an engaging warmth to their voices that blend well with the sopranos IngerDam-Jensen (Partenope) and Tuva Semmingsen (Rosmira). These four characters are in a confused four way love trauma. Adding to the angst is Emilio ((Bo Kristian Jensen) arriving with an army to woo Partenope.

Some of the framing of the action is unusual, read the interesting review by Karen Henriksen for the background to production problems.

Don't be put off by the baffling choice of front label picture, all the cast are in modern dress and fully clad at all times.

If you are a Handel opera lover, or like me wish to dip your toe, this is a great choice with good sound and video..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon F on 19 Dec 2011
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At the end of this magical recording you will envy the reviewer who saw the performance live six times. Though it's perfectly possible to derive considerable pleasure from an audio recording, the piece needs to be seen on stage. Seeing it there in Denmark must have been quite some experience. Like Handel's other comedies Agrippina and Serse, Partenope really works in the theatre. Arguably this is an even greater masterpiece, and this important recording should go some way towards establishing its reputation. As in the stunning Copenhagen performance of Giulio Cesare, this performance is driven with a great sense of passionate commitment by the conductor, Lars Ulrik Mortensen. All the singing is first rate, though the part of Rosmira seems to lie slightly too low for Tuva Semmingsen - but if you have such a superb Baroque actress/singer in your company you'd have to use her somewhere.

There are one or two musical surprises. It's hard to know why Partenope's wonderful aria 'Io ti levo l'impero dell'armi' had to be so mercilessly cut. On the other hand, the addition of the duet at the end of Act 3 (written for another opera altogether) is almost a masterstroke. It's one of those 10 minute vocal pieces like 'Scherza infida' from Ariodante that you never want to end. It's just about perfect - though unfortunately it is sung by the wrong pair of lovers. By this time we really want to see the quarrelling Rosmira and Arsace finally together again.

The volume of the singing can vary as the singers move around the stage, though in general the recording quality is good. The stylish production by Francisco Negrin gives the music space to breathe, and brings out the elements of comedy to great effect.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Pettengell on 28 Mar 2011
I would have to agree with the review given by Florence - the camera work is terrible. So much so that the DVD was incredibly annoying to watch and I eventually gave up and just listened to it - this is coming from someone who is a great fan of opera DVDs! Strange angles/distances combined with far too much flicking between directions creates an almost disorienting effect, which is a great shame.

The production seemed to work, though I won't particularly comment on it due to only watching Act I. From what I did see, and from listening to it, it was an accomplished cast. IngerDam-Jensen was excellent in the title role, with Tuva Semmingsen a similarly engaging Rosmira. I'm not a fan of Andreas Scholl's voice, though many are. Christolphe Dumaux's Armindo was much more pleasing in my opinion, though both men's voices sounded wonderful when paired with another for duets. Vocally I would give the production 4 stars without reservation, but I would unfortunately have to advise anyone against getting this DVD.
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