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Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
George Frederick Handel, Karl Richter, Munich Bach Orchestra
Handel: Giulio Cesare in Egitto
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (21) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (29) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (24) - Disc #4



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Album Description
HANDEL: GIULIO CESARE - First Time on CD! Cast list: DIETRICH FISCHER-DIESKAU Cesare, TATIANA TROYANOS Cleopatra, JULIA HAMARI Cornelia, PETER SCHREIER Sesto, FRANZ CRASS Tolomeo, ERNST SCHRAMM Achilla, WOLFGANG SCHONE Curio and MICHAEL SCHOPPER Nireno. Munchener Bach Choir Munchener Bach Orchestra Karl Richter, conductor

CD Reviews

High recommendable version with male voices in leading roles
Abel | Hong Kong | 02/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Much as people like to use mezzo-sopranos for castrati parts in baroque opera seria these days, this 1970 version by baroque specialist Karl Richter still stands out with his superb playing, great dramatic rhythms and appropriate casting.
The singers generally perform very evenly, with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau standing out as a baritone Ceasar and Tatiana Troyanos as a mezzo-soprano Cleopatra.
The other important roles are also very capably handled - Tolomeo by the great Franz Crass (bass), and Sesto by the then young Peter Schreier (tenor).
Fischer-Dieskau tackled the coloraturas of Ceasar with ease and flur, not lacking one jot in dramatic instinct. Troyanos with her mezzo gave a dramatic flavour to the multi-faceted role of Cleopatra. Her various arias with different moods were very convincingly sung.
Peter Schreier, though not with the beauty of tone as Fritz Wunderlich in Ferdinand Leitner's German version, still gave a very daunting version of Sesto. I would say that this role should NOT be sung by a female singer. I have heard Wunderlich, Domingo and Schreier, and am fully convinced that Giulio Cesare should not be performed in its original castrato setting for full dramatic effect.
As for Richter's conducting, really it could not be bettered. The sinfonias are so beautifully played, and the arias and recitatives so effectively accompanied, that one really couldn't wish for better baroque dramatic interpretation than this."
Dutifully interpreted with little passion
Jim Lieberthal | Minneapolis, mn United States | 05/28/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I can not help but feel that the conducting style chosen for this recording, reflected a point of view that is more in line with an older style of oratorio performance, than of an operatic experience. The emotions generated by the singers, with one exception, travel a very straight trajectory aimed at a clear and precise execution of the score, without any risk or emotion being generated. This is a recording to put on your shelf because of completeness, not because it evokes a strong reaction. The exception for the artists participating in this transversal of the score, would be Peter Schreier as Sesto and to a more limited degree, both Julia Hamari and Tatiana Troyanos. Mr. Schreier does not have a beauty of vocal emission as it is somewhat unstable and at times a bit thick, yet he provides a performance of the role of Sesto with overwhelming urgency and commitment, far and above everyone else around him. He lights up every recitative and sounds the right note of urgency in his arias. Julia Hamari as Cornelia, his mother, has a beautiful voice with a wonderful technique allayed to an interpretation of pastel pathos. This character has a sense of deeper emotions than what we experience here, yet her contributions are still welcome and continue to be rewarding with multiple hearings. Tatiana Troyanos as Cleopatra is an unusual choice, both for artist and role. It is a soprano part of dense complexity, and she handles the vocal challenges with aplomb. Yet the range of emotion generated here still remains somewhat of a mystery. I keep replaying an aria here or there, consciously wishing for more from her portrait of this complex woman who is a young person, full of wiles and plotting. I don't feel such reactions in her singing to reflect her changing circumstances (though Handel gives us a new aria each time). Recorded in the early part of her career, the vibrato is very vibrant with a tight, simmering quality to it, making her singing both appealing and accurate. Mysterious too, as Troyanos has a certain sphinx-like character to her work which encouranges replaying parts of her role repeatedly. Each time I want something more passionate, specific and willful from her, and yet it doesn't ever seem to break the surface. Franz Crass as Tolemo is quite wonderful, with a beauty of voice that I love, and yet he too seems generalized and less dangerous than he could be. The final caveat is reserved for Dietrich Fischer-Diescau. He is not trained in this style of florid singing. It seems rather alien to his nature and the sounds that come out, are a forced gruffness to beef up the slender size of his instrument to what he might want to present as a certain heroic aspect of character. This roughnes comes off as basically unconvincing and decidedly gruff: pitches are indistinct and not well organized in the long lines of extended passagework, and after a while I find myself just tuning him out. He seems miscast. The conducting has a sense of balance, but not forward motion, and though every note appears to have been recorded, the overall shape of each act is not clear. There is no overall dramatic arch to it, just a continuous presentation of another vocal number, that happens to be an aria or an ensemble. I heard this recording, when it came out in the 70's and was underwhelmed. I have played it again a year ago and was very bored again. I just played it yet again this week after having listened to a number of recordings of it and having heard 4 performances of it live from the MET this year. I am very appreciative of all of the artists' hard work to present such a full version of this work, yet I am essentially still unmoved."
Forget the castgratos!
Michael Cooke | San Francisco, CA United States | 02/19/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)

"For me, castrati is an un-natural sounding voice. Okay, it was in vogue in Handel's day, but I have a feeling that had he heard today's singers he might have revised his singers. Troyanis and Fischer-Dieskau bring a warm natural sound to the sound and it is good to give the young Peter Shreier new to the front line of singers. I have some reservations over the rather oratorial style of conducting of Karl Richter, but can well recommend this recordind."