on 28 August 2011
This is perhaps the best-sung performance of a Handel opera I've ever heard. Special mentions should go to the marvelous sopranos Jacek Laszczkowski and Sharon Rostorf-Zamir, but there isn't a weak link among the six principles. I am also very impressed with the conducting and continuo-accompaniment of Wolfgang Katschner. The orchestra are using 'period' instruments, which I always feel helps a lot.
This isn't one of Handel's most performed operas, and I wasn't familiar with it until I saw this DVD, but I don't know why. It concerns the jealous attempts of the evil sorceress Medea to disrupt the wedding of Theseus and Agilea, a situation which is not helped by the fact that the King Egeus wants to marry her too. This plot provides opportunities for a wide range of moods for the arias and leading to welcome variety. I was impressed with the opera as well as the performance.
I was, however, in two minds whether to take a star off for the non-traditional production. I decided against it, mainly because in most cases the characters are allowed to sing their arias without excessive distraction. However, I didn't like the way the final deus-ex-machina was handled at all, and on one or two occasions the actions of the characters during the arias did not match the words/moods they were singing about. It's probably also worth being aware if you are planning on watching this with young people present that the direction suggests a sexual act under the covers of a bed at one point.
on 14 May 2016
Truly a well performed and produced piece of Handel. The singing is excellent and as Handel wanted. The sets are modern and metallic but do not distract from the performances and whilst I think the ending has been modified, this only adds to the overall enjoyment. I wold add that the Potsdam theatre is a perfect setting for this opera.