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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual Handel Opera, marvellously performed., 7 Jan 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Handel: Teseo (Audio CD)
This unusual five act opera from early in Handel's London career contains some outstanding music. Minkowski has assembled a fine cast who render an admirable performance of this little-known Handel masterpiece.
James in the title role has some splendid arias, most notably the exhilarating S'armi il fato, s'armi amore! and the brief but stunningly beautiful Chi ritorna alla mia mente. James is brilliantly supported by an excellent cast of singers. The sopranos Gooding (Agilea) and Napoli (Clizia)entertain the listener with some ravishing arias, notably Deh! v'aprite, oh luci belle (Gooding), hauntingly accompanied by recorders, and the jaunty Ti credo, si ben' mio (Napoli). The countertenors Ragin (Egeo) and Gall (Arcane) provide some virtuoso vocal fireworks in Voglio stragi, e voglio morte (Ragin) and Benche tuoni e l'etra avvampi (Gall). However, it is Jones, in the role of the sorceress Medea, who steals the limelight with a series of outstanding, show-stopping arias, ranging from the plaintive Dolce riposo, ed innocente pace! to the dazzling virtuosity of Sibillando, ululando, fulminate, la rival.
Throughout, the arias are comparatively brief, none exceeding five minutes. This, coupled with succinct recitatives, keeps the opera flowing along so that one is continually delighted by new and contrasting musical styles.
The playing of Les Musiciens du Louvre is exquisite throughout. One of the delights of this work is the rich diversity of its orchestration. There are no less than nine arias with oboe solos, together with arias for solo transverse flutes, trumpets and cellos respectively.
This five act opera has been recorded on two CDs, which with over seventy minutes of music on each CD makes this recording a real bargain. A must for any fan of Handelian Opera.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Generally excellent recording of an early piece, 30 Nov 2008
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Iain C. Davidson "iain1825" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Teseo (Audio CD)
This was one of Minkowski's first Handel opera recordings and it is generally very good. Guilty of extremes of tempo in later recordings, here things seem just about right. 'Teseo' is unusual in that it stretches across 5 quite short acts and is fairly dramatic throughout, especially when the sorceress Medea is on the prowl. Although I'm not usually a huge fan of Della Jones' voice, I have to admit that she is excellent here as Medea - quite thrilling in places! Eirian James is also lovely in the title role (what a shame she recorded so little) as is Julia Gooding as his beloved Agilea. Catherine Napoli is fine as the seconda donna but I'm not crazy about either of the countertenors. Overall though, this is an excellent performance of an exciting opera.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dynamite, 15 Aug 2003
This review is from: Handel: Teseo (Audio CD)
This opera has a most unusally dramatic and beautiful score, completely brought to life by the inspired Minklowski and his fantastic cast and orchestra. Which makes one wonder why this opera / recording is not better known. A truly demented performance of a demented opera. The finale of the second act, culminating in the sorceress Medea's conjuration aria, will have your hair standing on end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 26 May 2009
By 
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Teseo (Audio CD)
I am greatly enjoying this set. Has any composer ever written so wonderully for the human voice as Handel has (again and again and again)?

This was Handel's third London Itallian opera and is full of invention and life. It is a highly dramatic work but so filled with lovely music that it works brilliantly on CD. Perhaps it lacks the odd great song but the standard of the music is very high throughout. The consistently brilliant orchestral writing is an additional asset ... and all those songs with solo oboe accompaniment: beautiful!

This version is marvelously sung - Della Jones as Medea is magnificent - and the playing is first rate. Minkowski has a reputation for sometimes driving Handel's music too hard ... and perhaps he does so occasionally here but the performance is compelling, with never a dull moment. I can't compare this with any other version but I can promise you a lot of pleasure from this set.
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Handel: Teseo
Handel: Teseo by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 1992)
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