"This was the opera that opened my ears to Handel. Built on an entertaining, although slightly disjointed plot, and full of wonderful melodies, this opera kept me spellbound for almost three hours, my eyes following the libretto. The recording was made following live performances at the Handel Festival in Gottingen; and the stage experiences obviously added to the depth of the performers' characterization of the music. The cast if outstanding. Michael Chance's singing as Giustino is expressive and consistent. Dorothea Roschmann as Arianna confirms her fame as one of the fastest-ascending soprano stars in baroque opera. Drew Minter makes an appropriately sly Amanzio. Mark Padmore shows off his dramatic skills and a gorgeous silky tenor voice in the role of the hot-tempered Vitaliano. The rest of the cast deserve as much praise. I would say that this is one of Handel's best operas, and definitely presented here at the level that will be hard to beat. Chance and Padmore both also appeared, among others, in a wonderful recording of Handel's oratorio Esther, under Christophers."
A neglected Handelian operatic masterwork
George Peabody | 09/17/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giustino is not one of Handel's well-known operas (if such a thing exists) and the quality of the whole conveyed by this exemplary recording from Nicholas McGeegan makes me wonder why. It is dramatically coherent and structurally sound. Perhaps the fairy tale-like elements detract from the seriousness of this opera seria. I am a true admirer of McGeegan's interpretations of Handelian opera and I think this is one of his finest recordings of the ouvre. The one thing I do not particularly care for in this recording is the casting of Dawn Kotoski as the soprano male role of Anastasio. While Ms. Kotoski is undoubtedly a fine soprano, I find her a bit overpowering at times, especially considering the role of Anastasio was originally characterized by a soprano castrato (yes it's true, I've done my research). You'll notice, however, that my one complaint has not caused me to give this recording a less-than-outstanding review--I still give it five stars. This recording was the first Handelian opera I listened to in full and it prepared me for many more of his fine works. It has my top recommendation and I am sure any lover of Handel's music will enjoy it, no matter how many of Handel's operas he has listened to."
La rueda de la fortuna y Handel
Homero | Santiago, Region Metropolitana Chile | 02/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giustino es probablemente una de las más bellas óperas que he escuchado en mi vida. Michael Chance genera un ambiente de pastoril dulzura para luego mostrarse como el guerrero que a traves del mensaje de la rueda de la fortuna salvará a Bizancio. Las arias son de una belleza extraordinaria y el dueto del 2| acto sublime. Si usted ama a Handel no debería dejar de escuchar esta maravillosa versión"
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 03/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"CHARMING, DISARMING BUT NEVER ALARMING! DELIGHTFUL NOT FRIGHTFUL!
The story of a farm boy called by the Gods to save the maiden in distress; that's the story. This opera has been described as having a "cartoon-adventure" plot in the style of an old-fashioned fairy tale. For example when we first meet our hero Guistino (Michael Chance) he is at the plough and we hear the music of the trilling flute almost as if it were a scene from a Disney woodland cartoon; absolutely charming!
'Giustino' does not fit easily into the confines of dramatic genre. It could be that type of entertainment which Polonius described as "tragical-comical-historical-pastoral." However, 'Guistino' possesses its own infectious energy which is difficult to resist; but then why should we resist the power of an old-fashioned fairy tale?
Not only do we have Chance in this opera , we also are gifted with the tenor voice of Mark Padmore portraying Vitaliano, the brave and hot-tempered soldier who sings a wonderful aria of revenge :"Il piacer della vendetta". Drew Minter, another countertenor, has never been one of my favorite singers and he gets a bit nasal in his singing in this opera, but he presents a good dramatic performance, and we can ignore the nasality (I think).Michael Chance gives his usual PERFECT performance singing his many arias beautifully and is always in the role.
It is fortunate for the listener that Chance's voice has a wonderful male sound, because there are 4 sopranos in this opera and one has to keep in mind that Anastasio's role, although a male character is sung by Dawn Kotoski, and even though she does an excellent job of it, she does not have a sound that is even closely masculine. Perhaps if this were produced today McGegan might have chosen a male sopranist; just a thought. The other three sopranos: Dorothea Roschmann, Juliana Gondek and Jennifer Lane projected their characters very well indeed.
Nicholas McGegan has put together in his own meticulous way a very entertaining and well-done 'Giustino'.
Combine all this with some incredibly lovely Handelian melodies and you have maximum listening pleasure. Above all, 'Giustino' is great fun and shows Handel in his expansive mood, viewing his operatic cut-outs with amusement and compassion. I have had this recording for several years and play it frequently for the joy contained therein!!!
The excellent liner notes include pertinent informatin and the complete text in English, French, Italian and German. I hope that someone picks up on this recording and reissues it."
Exceedingly Easy to Appreciate
Christian V. Pampinella | Bloomington, IN | 01/10/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This must be one of Handel's best. Every number is simply delightful. This is also one of Handel's most accessible opera seria plots. Absolutely charming, easy to follow, and exquisitely performed. Chance just musters the bravura necessary for the primo role of Giustino and Minter just convinces us of his perfidious villainy as Amanzio, however they do both in fact pull it off well enough that the recording deserves a five star rating. Every role is given ample opportunity to show off in the score and there aren't any disappointments here. The duo of Arianna and Anastasio performed by Roeschmann and Kotoski respectively are especially lovely with some very exciting arie between the two of them. Well chosen tempi and perfectly led accompaniments, McGegan is an expert Handelian, and this recording has a very exciting close atmosphere that showcases him and the Freiburger Barockorchester. I have enjoyed this recording for many years and will enthusiastically continue to do so. The cover art (portrayal of some famous castrato) is also remarkable."