1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One of my favorite Handel opera recordings,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Handel - Riccardo Primo, re d'Inghilterra / Zazzo, Rial, McGreevy, Kammerorchster Basel, Goodwin (Audio CD)
Not much to add to the other excellent review other than to say I agree! This is one of my top Handel opera recordings and it is a sheer delight. Geraldine McGreevy's Pulcheria is wonderful; clear as a bell and highly virtuosic. Zazzo proves more than capable of delivering the fiendishly difficult coloratura in the aria at the end of Act 1. And Tim Mead is a delight as Oronte, for example in V'adoro, o luci belle.
The plot is rather silly - basically it says that the British monarchy is really great! There are lines that say (very roughly) "England is built on the backs of all those great people who live near the Thames" alluding to the aristocracy in Handel's audience! There is a reason for this. Premiered on November 11 1727, it was just a month after King George II's coronation, and Handel had been recently granted British naturalisation... hence all the pomp and odd references to Britain in the setting of the Holy Land!
Riccardo Primo, Re d'Inghilterra contains some fantastic soprano arias. Written for the 'rival queens' (who literally fought on stage once), Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni were given very even-handed roles in this opera. In this recording, these prove wonderful material for our modern day sopranos: Geraldine McGreevy and Nuria Rial.