"It's great to see complete recordings of the Handel operas coming out at last, and this is the best you can get for Orlando. Written during a time when Handel's finances were on the shaky side (he bankrupted himself several times staging his operas), the vocal scoring is for five solo voices and no choir. Sound a bit thin on the ground ? NOT A BIT!The five soloist are fantastic; Emma Kirkby's pure high voice is a perfect shepherdess; David Thomas is mesmerising as usual in the role of the magician Zoroaster; James Bowman is in top form in the title role (and I normally try to find alternative recordings to avoid him - his voice is normally too 'hooting' for my tastes; NOT HERE), and Arleen Auger is stunning as usual as Angelica. The least successful voice is Christine Robbin singing Medoro, but that simply means that she is very good!The pace is lively - there is no speed at which the orchestra can go and lose these people! So the rage scenes are stunning, the general dialogue is reasonably paced with sensitivity to the lyrics, and the poignant arias are beautifully rendered, particularly from Emma.There may be a recording made in some year's time to rival this one, but I can't think how it could be stacked with singers to match this recording. For now, you will have to revel in this stunner of one of the big five Handel operas!"
Handel - Orlando / Bowman, Augér, Kirkby, Robbin, Thomas, AA
Bjorn Viberg | European Union | 09/15/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Handel - Orlando / Bowman, Augér, Kirkby, Robbin, Thomas, AAM, Hogwood is a splendid recording under the direction of Christopher Hogwood. Decca Record Company have truely gone out of their way when it comes to the sound quality. It is very crisp and it as if one was listening to this live in a opera house instead of at home by the computer. The book-let is quite large (126 pages) and contains a very well-written essay on the composer by Anthony Hicks, then after this we get a concise and to the point synopsis. The photographs of the performers are a bit grainy and look like they were shot by friends instead of professional photographers. The painting on the cover is very nice and the painting of Handel is also nice but come on copying it into color would have been nicer. It contains the text/lyrics in four languages; these being, German, Italian, English and French. Do not get me wrong, I love this recording and I give it 5 stars."
Marcolorenzo | Italy | 01/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This recording is excellent. Although the voice of James Bowman in the title role of Orlando has a slight hooting quality to it in Act one, his voice does become better in Acts 2 and 3; and I think his interpretation is preferable to that of Patricia Borden on the Christie Les Arts Florissants recording. Listen to both in the second act arias and decide."
I adore this CD.....
Sam | Seahurst, Washington | 11/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Handel's Orlando was radically modified to provide suitable material for individual singers, notably in the magnificent Mad scene which ends Act II on the aria, 'Vaghe pupille.' That number, superbly done on Oiseau-Lyre by James Bowman, with appropriate sound effects, is only one of the virtuoso vehicles for the counter-tenor. For the jewelled sequences of arias and duets, Hogwood has assembled a near-ideal cast, with Arleen Auger at her most radiant as the queen, Angelica, and Emma Kirkby characteristically bright and fresh in the lighter, semi-comic role of the sheperdess, Dorinda. Robbin assumes the role of Prince Medoro strongly and David Thomas sings stylishly as Zoroastro. This is one of Hogwood's finest achievements on record, taut, dramatic and rhythmically resilient, Vivid, open sound."