I am THRILLED with this opera---and with it's cast!
Leslie Richford | 01/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am so glad to have discovered this opera. What a magnificent cast! Vivica Genaux [Arminio] and Geraldine McGreevy [Tusnelda] are a JOY to behold and hear!"
The Music is Enough...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 06/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"... without staging and without laboring through the stuffy libretto in Italian or English, to make Handel's Arminio a balmy entertainment. Most of the flashiest arias, the showiest instrumental passages, the touchingest affectations come in the second and third acts, on CD 2, so be sure you hold judgment on the performance until then, when you've had a chance to hear the unusual duet/trio/quartet recitativos, even including some passages sung by overlapping voices, and the defiant, heroic arias of Arminio and Sigismundo.
Any skepticism I've expressed in other reviews about Vivica Genoux can be dismissed in light of her splendid singing as Arminio, a role which allows her to exploit her lower mezzo timbre to beautiful effect as well as to show off her 'concitato' (frenzied) athleticism. The two higher sopranos, Geraldine McGreevy and Dominique Labelle, achieve dramatic intensity without sacrificing beauty of timbre or accuracy of tuning, evidence I think of the inspiring standards that conductor Alan Curtis always demands of his performers. Basso Riccardo Ristori might seem a little impassive dramatically, in his role as the heavy, but his musical profundo more than compensates. How often do you hear a basso sing sixteenth-note arpeggios with tonal clarity and precision? Italian tenor Luigi Petroni, singing the role of the Roman general Varo, has more technique than natural voice, and I suppose the same is true of countertenor Sytse Buwalda as a Roman captain, but both singers are fully enjoyable to hear.
The opera seria Arminio was first sung in London in 1737. This recording was made in 2001, using a score prepared by Alan Curtis himself. The instrumental parts, fortified by Curtis to suit his polished ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, are robust and stirring, with brilliant moments for the oboes, horns, and theorbos.
This 2-CD recording is.... are you ready for the good news?... included in the box of six Handel operas recently released by Virgin Classics at a rock-bottom price. The other five operas are Rodrigo, Radamisto, Admeto, Fernando, and Deidamia, all recorded by Il Complesso Barocco between 1978 and 2007. Each opera has a different cast of singers, but all six are superlative."