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Handel: Theodora Box set


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Disc: 1
1. Theodora: Overture
2. Theodora: Act I: Scene 1: 'Tis Dioclesian's Natal Day (Valens)
3. Theodora: Act I: Scene 1: Go My Faithful Soldier, Go (Valens)
4. Theodora: Act I: Scene 1: And Draw A Blessing Down
5. Theodora: Act I: Scene 1: Vouchsafe, Dread Sir, A Gracious Ear (Didymus, Valens)
6. Theodora: Act I: Scene 1: Racks, Gibbets, Sword, & Fire (Valens)
See all 27 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Theodora: Act II: Scene 1: Ye Men Of Antioch (Valens)
2. Theodora: Act II: Scene 1: Queen Of Summer
3. Theodora: Act II: Scene 1: Wide Spread His Name (Valens)
4. Theodora: Act II: Scene 1: Return, Septimius (Valens)
5. Theodora: Act II: Scene 1: Venus Laughing From The Skies
6. Theodora: Act II: Scene 2: Interlude
See all 26 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Theodora: Act III: Scene 1: Lord, To Thee (Irene)
2. Theodora: Act III: Scene 2: But See! (Irene, Theodora)
3. Theodora: Act III: Scene 2: When Sunk In Anguish & Despair (Theodora)
4. Theodora: Act III: Scene 2: Blest Be The Hand (Theodora)
5. Theodora: Act III: Scene 3: Undaunted In The Court
6. Theodora: Act III: Ah! Scene 3: Ah! Theodora (Irene, Theodora)
See all 20 tracks on this disc

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Fine Recording Of A Magnifcent Work 21 July 2007
By Thomas H. Moody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
First of all, it's too bad that Harmonia Mundi has "retired" it's McGegan recordings with Lorraine Hunt Lieberson since she was one of the best Handel performers of our era.

That being said, I've recently been listening to this recording again and find it on equal with the McCreesh and Christie - in it's own right.

First of all there's Hunt as Theodora. Her voice is full bodied and takes command of the performance. While McCreesh and Christie have cast lighter voices as Theodora with excellent results, hearing a voice such as Hunt's sing the role is actually more satisfying in the end, her phrasing and attention to detail is without peer.

Drew Minter attained fame during the re-emergence of the countertenor. Since that time the countertenor vocal technique has advanced and we now get larger, fuller and more vibrant voices singing these roles such as Daniels, Scholl, Taylor, Asawa, and Zazzo. That doesn't mean that Minter should be relegated to the past or have his sound criticized. His performance here is quite committed and appropriate.

Jennifer Lane is also a highly regarded Handelian and sings the role of Irene with great pathos. David Thomas is a vocalist who can sometimes sound great and sometimes not so great - all within one recording. His performance here isn't weak, more its at times just a little unpredictable. Tenor Jeffrey Thomas is every bit as good as his competition in a very florid Handel role.

McGegan, is in my opinion, was/is always a little too careful sounding in his approach. He seldom let's things take on a bit of "a bite" which can make many of his recordings sound somewhat placid and linear.

As for chorus and orchestra, this is obviously an American recording from its sound as compared to British recordings of Handel. One thing is that the listener can always tell what words the soloists and chorus are singing without reverting to the libretto. I can't quite say the same for the Mcreesh and Christie recordings.

The sound, as mentioned by another reviewer, does sort of muddy the orchestra and chorus. The recording could use a remastering in my opinion.

So, although this recording is out of print, one should seek it out for the performance of Hunt alone. It also gets 5 stars from me for the same reason - Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.

Harmonia Mundi please rerelease your Lorraine Hunt Lieberson recordings!!
Such artistry should not be denied the listening public!! Lorraine didn't leave us with many recordings and to deny us these wonderful earlier performances of hers is a travesty.

P.S. How I wish the Christie recording had all of the Glynbourne cast as its soloists, not just Richard Croft. A missed opportunity. But do get the Sellars/Christie DVD. Amazing performance!!
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful melodies; great singing; crisp conducting. 11 Feb. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
One of Handel's great operas, "Theodora" would work either in concert or in performance. There are many beautiful melodies and the strong conducting keeps things moving along. Lorraine Hunt is one of the great Handel singers of our time and is in lovely voice as Theodora; she performed Irene (the mezzo role) at Glyndebourne several years ago and won rave reviews from the English press. Drew Minter and Jennifer Lane are also very good but Hunt is the star. This would be a great addition to the CD collection of anyone who admires Handel's work.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Lorraine Hunt is wonderful, but much else here is weak 8 July 2014
By Timothy R. Carpenter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Lorraine Hunt is wonderful, but much else here is weak. This was my only recording of Theodora for many years and I listened dutifully and then shelved it.
I recently picked up, for a pittance, a recording of this oratorio with Heather Harper and Maureen Forrester and was amazed at how much I enjoyed it. It employs some cuts and is done in "modern" baroque - rather than "period" baroque - style, but is nonetheless enjoyable for that. Ralph Moore has written a spot-on review here:

http://www.amazon.com/Handel-Theodora-Heather-Harper/dp/B001CINTES/ref=sr_1_3?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1404834375&sr=1-3&keywords=Theodora+Harper

As to this recording, Hunt is certainly the equal of Harper and Jennifer Lane as good or better than Maureen Lehane, but all the other roles are better sung in the older recording. Forrester sounds more robustly masculine than Drew Minter and Jeffery Thomas, here, has some vocal insecurities as opposed to the more secure Alexander Young. In the older recording, John Levenson has an oddly nasal vocal production, but David Thomas, playing his part as a blustering Polythemus, does some erratically bad singing.
As if that were not enough to put one off this recording, the U. of C. Berkley Chorus, while obviously prepared, has several lapses of ensemble (especially) at faster tempi and sounds to my ears like a high school choir. Other college choirs I've recently heard on recordings - Westminster Choir College and St. Olaf - are more musical and sing more beautifully.
If you must have Lorraine Hunt as Theodora, by all means, indulge. But if not, look elsewhere.
15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
The best Theodora? An alternate opinion 8 Feb. 2002
By Marian R. Van Til - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
While Nicholas McGegan has obviously done much excellent work, I'm afraid I can't agree with the reviewer who said that McGegan's rendition of *Theodora* is the best available. In fact, I'd rate it No. 3, with the new (last year) recording by Neumann at No. 2, and putting McCreesh and the Gabrielli Consort in first place. (And Harnoncourt at No. 4.)
It's revealing to listen to the same selected arias/choruses from each of these three recordings one after another. McGegan's recording sounds like it was done in somebody's living room, with the soloists standing about six feet away from you: there's very little presence to the sound. While that helps articulate the texture (the harpsichord is audible far more than in other performances), the dryness and "closeness" of the sound I find unappealing. On the other hand, Neumann's performance, in terms of recorded sound, is muffled in comparison. The McCreesh recording has a depth -- that "presence" I was looking for in the McGegan recording -- while being crisp and clean at the same time.
McGegan's tempos are fast compared to the other two, bordering on ragged here and there. Partly that's due to the not-quite- stellar quality of his U of C chamber chorus at those tempos. (McCreesh's and Neumann's choruses are noticably better). Interestingly, McCreesh also includes six or so additional recits/arias which aren't often sung but which are certainly worth hearing.
Assuming groups of soloists of approximately the same ability, whether one likes the tone quality of one soprano or countertenor more than another is very much a matter of taste, so I won't comment specifically on individual soloists. Except to say that I was surprised (unpleasantly) by David Thomas's seeming difficulty with some of the melismas and other fast passages on the McGegan recording. I normally like Thomas, so that was a disappointment.
Incidentally, the McGegan recording is also more expensive than any of the others. It's not worth the extra money, in my view.
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