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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent set
This really is an excellent set and while I would not argue with the right of others to a different view I really must say that the two other reviews here do something of a disservice to the average listener. Certainly I have held back from buying it until now because of their lukewarmness - and I now know that I had nothing to fear.

Firstly, Rodelinda is one...
Published on 7 Nov 2009 by enthusiast

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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I had been eagerly awaiting this opera complete on CD, but it's a disappointment. Simone Kermes has an arresting voice and is a convincing and sensitive Rodelinda, but the cast is let down by Mirjana Mijanovic's Bertarido in this recording. As a result one of the most beautiful arias in all opera, "Dove sei, amato bene", comes out as a thickened and over-seasoned...
Published on 14 Sep 2005 by Ben Crampton


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent set, 7 Nov 2009
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enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
This really is an excellent set and while I would not argue with the right of others to a different view I really must say that the two other reviews here do something of a disservice to the average listener. Certainly I have held back from buying it until now because of their lukewarmness - and I now know that I had nothing to fear.

Firstly, Rodelinda is one of Handel's greatest operatic masterpieces ... and this recording leaves you in no doubt about that. Indeed it must be in the top ten of Handel records that should be in every collection - praise that is intended as much for Handel's music as for this account of it. Curtis' Handel is extremely attractive - very stylish, brightly shaped, lively and beautifully played. This is lyrical Handel rather more than it is dramatic Handel (it is certainly not driven) but do not think - as some have suggested for other Curtis performances - that it lacks character.

Indeed the characterisation is strong - both Curtis and his singers make sure of that. Simone Kermes is really an amazing singer with a distinctive and deeply beautiful voice. Her performance here is something of a tour de force. I can understand that Mijanovic's Bertarido is more controversial and note that many have been offended by her account of Dove Sei. But her voice is attractive and she has real presence in this important role. There may be other voices that work in this part but her account has integrity and actually works well too. Many of the other singers also sing particularly well.

This is a first rate set and you can buy it with confidence. I note that the Gramophone Guide singles it out as the ony recommendation for this work (and gives it a relatively rare 2 stars), that the Penguin Guide sees it as first choice and that 1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die also singles it out as the best. Critics rarely agree across those three books so I am certainly not alone in praising it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A word in favour of Marijana MijanoviŠ, 24 Jan 2010
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This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda (MP3 Download)
Bertarido was originally a Senesino role that calls for a wide range of expression, nowhere more so than in the magnificent accompanied recitative in the prison scene. Given Alan Curtis's known feelings on the subject, it is hardly surprising that he has not followed Schneider and Kraemer in employing a countertenor for the role. He has been rewarded with a strongly projected, intensely sung account of it by Marijana MijanoviŠ, whose chest notes have a power beyond most known countertenors. Yes, she is less than totally convincing in the opera's most famous aria, "Dove sei?" (where there are moments of near pitch insecurity). However, she sounds like an authentic castrato, with a very 'androginous' voice. Marijana Mijanovic adds a great deal to this Rodelinda.

I was put off by the mixed reviews but have no reservations in recommending this performance of Rodelinda now I have heard it for myself. It is one of the best sets on the market of any Handel opera. The cast, orchestra and conductor aquit themselves wonderfully!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Handel's and Curtis' finest (three) hours?, 16 Jan 2012
By 
E. L. Wisty "World Domination League" (Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
The Rodelinda of 1725 has always been one of Handel's most admired operas, and in the hands of Curtis and his chosen performers you can hear why.

The libretto derives from a sequence of works beginning in the 8th century with Paul the Deacon's Historia Langobardorum, adapted by Pierre Corneille for his play Pertharite, roy des Lombards, this being converted into an operatic libretto by Antonio Salvi, which Nicola Haym modified for Handel.

Bertarido the King of the Lombards has been dethroned by Grimoaldo, and is believed to be dead. His morning wife Queen Rodelinda is under pressure from Grimoaldo, who has put aside Bertarido's sister Eduige to whom he was betrothed, to marry him and thus legitimise his usurpation. The Duke Garibaldo, a friend of Grimoaldo has his own designs on the throne and uses the wronged and vengeful Eduige towards his own designs. Bertarido however is not dead, and returns in disguise intending with the help of Unulfo, ostensibly adviser to Grimoaldo but secretly ally of Bertarido, to regain the throne. Bertarido however, in clandestinely observing the constant and defiant Rodelinda, wrongly believes her to be unfaithful to his memory. Now listen on...

There's no weak link in this recording. Whilst on some other discs I can understand why contralto Marijana Mijanovic might divide opinion, but here as Bertarido she is superb and cannot comprehend why anyone might think otherwise. And then there's gorgeous soprano Simone Kermes as the eponymous Queen and contralto Sonia Prina solid as always in the part of Eduige. Tenor Steve Davislim and bass Vito Priante are suitably threatening as the respective nasties Grimoaldo and Garibaldo. Even contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux, who has for the most part never got me excited to say the least, has a rather good showing here as Unulfo. The ensemble Il Compresso Barocco play Handel's music with aplomb, and you feel that Alan Curtis has got everything spot on here. Sound quality is excellent too.

The three discs come in double jewel case with booklet providing largely musical (but sadly not much historical) notes, synopsis and libretto (English, French, German).
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34 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something not quite right ..., 31 May 2005
This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
This is the latest Handel opera offering from DG - starry casting, a Handel doyen at the helm, and a prize-winning orchestra to boot, but like last season's Giulio Cesare there is something missing in this performance, and I don't just mean the absence of countertenors in an opera that has seen many a ct triumph in recent times.
The singing is stylish, appropriately ornamented for the most part, and the singers can actually sing the notes written unlike some recent and not so recent Handel opera performance or recordings. The orchestral playing is superb in places and sounds noticeably beefier than on one or two recent Complesso recordings. The direction is involved without becoming too intrusive. In comparison to the Kraemer on Virgin or the Schneider on DHM, this is the preferable recording, though the first two had some nice touches and some stylish singing in slightly incomplete versions.
The whole recording is based on the version of Rodelinda that Handel might have recognised from the revival of late 1725, including a re-written aria (sono i colpi della sorte) and several additions (including vivi tiranno, and a duet for Bertarido and Rodelinda that later flows into an abbreviated coro), claiming to be the first complete recording of the opera so far. Andrew Jones, who re-edited the opera for the HHA edition writes some informative notes and writer Donna Leon, a Curtis favourite, gives a good synopsis of the action.
All the ingredients are there for another prize-winning recording, so, what is missing ? Rodelinda is probably the Handel opera I know best having sung Bertarido and Unolfo arias in amateur competitions, so any cavelling here is perhaps due to that, but for some reason the dramatic elements of the story and music don't really ring true. I am not moved by the experience, though there are some very nice moments such as the opening scenes of Act 1, the Garibaldo arias of Vito Priante, and Steve Davislim's 'pastorello d'un povero armento' in Act 3. Simone Kermes, apart from a few occasional liberties with high notes, is a convincing Rodelinda; her opening scena is superb, as is her 'morrai, si; l'empia tua testa' from the end of Act 1 and her 'spietati, io vi giurai' in Act 2. In 'Ritorna, o caro e dolce' wishing for the return of her beloved Bertarido, she is lyrical with beautiful tone, far in excess of Sophie Daneman for Kraemer.
Sonia Prina is a feisty Eduige and her 'lo faro, diro; spietato' in Act one a high-class exemplar of vocal acting. Steve Davislim as the tyrant Grimoaldo, is at least the equal of his competitors on disc, though one might wish for a little more attack in the coloratura of 'tuo drudo e mio rivale'in Act 2. That said his accompanied arioso leading into 'pastorello' is a major highlight. As Bertarido's henchman Unolfo, the Canadian contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux has few chances to shine, though her 'fra tempeste' and 'un zeffiro' are stylish if slightly underplayed. She does get an extra aria in an addition to the 3rd Disc - the first version of 'sono i colpi' - which she has some difficulty in articulating the repeated notes clearly.
The only slightly disappointing vocal contribution is Marijana Mijanovic's Bertarido. Despite the fact she has sung this role at Glyndebourne she seems slightly under the note (also as Cesare in Minkowski's recording) and her slower arias seem to lose momentum similar to her extended recitative. Dove sei has some ugly ornamentation (written, we are told, by Emmanuelle Haim for her Glyndebourne performances), and her prison scene in Act 3 lacks the dramatic clarity of Andreas Scholl in the video of his Glyndebourne debut. The duet with Kermes at the end of Act 2 is effectively done, as is the additional duet at the end of Act 3. I actively disliked her Vivi Tiranno.
In the end, this is a personal dislike of a particular voice, and many readers of this will disagree with me and prefer her to a countertenor as Bertarido. She is, however, a good vocal actress (see Vivaldi's Bajazet), but IMHO not in this role.
So, we have a good recording with many more highlights than faults, but curiously undramatic in places and some very closely miked singers. Perhaps it's DG's recording technique that is the missing element here ?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant in every respect, 25 Jun 2014
By 
Nicholas D Jones (Brentwood, Essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
I am a Handel fanatic I suppose, and I ordered this recording after seeing Rodelinda in March 2014 at the ENO, a stunning production both visually and audibly. Anyway, I have been listening to this recording pretty much non stop each day as I drive around the M25 (not the best listening conditions I know) but I promise you it's brilliant. Unfortunately I don't have the musical vocabulary to say why, but it's crystal clear, well balanced, remarkably consistent over the 3 CDs, I suspect period instruments, and just as Handel should be). I recommend it, and also wonder : why is it that recordings by Archiv are nearly always so good ? PS I don't work for them or have any associations with them. Nick
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant CD, 28 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
We purchased this CD before we went to see Rodelinda at the London Colisium. It was quite expensive for a CD for an Opera, but when it arrived it was worth every penny, even more so, after seeing the live performance. This was also good value from this supplier and arrived in time, with quite short notice. Thank you
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well sung, dramatic, 20 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
Some very good singing on this recording, and some well thought out decorations in the da capos. The orchestral sound is rich and the dramatic tension is maintained.
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11 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 14 Sep 2005
By 
Ben Crampton (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 (Audio CD)
I had been eagerly awaiting this opera complete on CD, but it's a disappointment. Simone Kermes has an arresting voice and is a convincing and sensitive Rodelinda, but the cast is let down by Mirjana Mijanovic's Bertarido in this recording. As a result one of the most beautiful arias in all opera, "Dove sei, amato bene", comes out as a thickened and over-seasoned soup.
To have the whole opera, and for Kermes' singing alone, this recording is worth investing in. But if, like me, you want your heartstrings tugged, then this isn't the box set you've waiting for.
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Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19
Handel: Rodelinda, HWV 19 by George Frideric Handel (Audio CD - 2005)
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