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Haydn: Orlando Paladino
Christian Gerhaher, Franz Joseph Haydn, Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Haydn: Orlando Paladino
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (55) - Disc #1

This delightful "dramma eroicomico" ("heroic-comic drama"---a made-up phrase brimming with irony) tells the story of the noble knight Orlando, who goes mad being torn between duty and love, his love, Angelica, who actually...  more »


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All Artists: Christian Gerhaher, Franz Joseph Haydn, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Elisabeth von Magnus, Concentus Musicus Wien, Malin Hartelius, Patricia Petibon, Johannes Kalpers, Markus Schafer, Michael Schade, Werner Güra
Title: Haydn: Orlando Paladino
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: RCA
Original Release Date: 1/1/2006
Re-Release Date: 5/30/2006
Genre: Classical
Styles: Opera & Classical Vocal, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830)
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 828767337029

This delightful "dramma eroicomico" ("heroic-comic drama"---a made-up phrase brimming with irony) tells the story of the noble knight Orlando, who goes mad being torn between duty and love, his love, Angelica, who actually wants Medoro, and Alcina, an evil sorceress out to get Orlando, and turns it into a type of farce, with great results. There is some lovely music, mostly for Angelica and Medoro, but most of it is fun and light, with characters whistling, trying to impress people with how well they sing, etc. The scoring wittily underlines their foibles. Even for those who normally don't like comic opera, this sophisticated bauble is so impressively performed that it's irresistible. Patricia Petibon's intense and individualistic way with text and music is enchanting as Angelica; Werner Güra sings Medoro with honeyed tone; Michael Schade takes Orlando through love and lunacy with great sincerity, and the whole show is almost stolen by Markus Schäfer as Pasquale, Orlando's servant, who is busy wooing Eurillia, a local shepherdess, well sung by Malin Hartelius. Elisabeth von Magnus as Alcina and Christian Gerhaher as the enraged Berber King Rodomonte are spicy and full of character. Conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt enchants us with this rarity entirely. Try it: Haydn's operas can be hard to take, but this one will tickle you. --Robert Levine

CD Reviews

Jesse Knight | woburn ma usa | 11/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I never would have found out about this if it had not popped up on a search of CDs with Malin Hartelius. A little reading about this opera, from off the beaten track, hooked me. How could I turn down an opera based on Orlando Furioso by Ariosto the "secret" source of inspiration for sci-fi authors?

The program notes included are excellent, and you will quickly see where ideas for "The Terminator" and medieval looking computer games came from.

Long before B grade sci fi movies, Haydn saw the fun he could have with this story. I am not a fan of Haydn symphonies, but found singing his Creation (in an open sing) very rewarding. Orlando is even more creative, making it well worth following along, with the libretto which is included.

If you like comic opera and science fiction it does not get much better than this. Four excellent tenors, singing in the same performance, is so rare that this alone is reason to buy this. Hartelius is at her comic best, along with everyone else. Harnoncourt conducts in an energetic way which works perfectly with the vocal lines. The sound is a little bright, but very good."
Great show; WITH full libretto and notes
Aaron Silverman | Boynton Beach, FL, United States | 03/26/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This is a wonderfully fun work and an excellent recording. Even those who find some of Haydn's other operas a bit primitive compared to Mozart and 19th Century works may enjoy its more modern style. It's definitely a must-buy for Haydn fans. (I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could -- I went with 4 since everyone else awarded it 5.)

It's a shame that there's no DVD available of a full production (or of pretty much any other Haydn operas). I'd love to see a performance of this show.

This set does include an 84-page book with a full libretto and liner notes in English, German and Italian. As with most operas, the booklet and CD case are separate inside a cardboard slipcover. That other reviewer may have bought a copy of just the CD case that somehow got separated from its slipcase. I suppose one should check with Amazon or with the label (it's actually Sony, not RCA) to make sure that new copies still include the booklet.
Alyssa A. Lappen | Earth | 12/31/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's hard to believe this was the most popular of Joseph Haydn's operas during his life (1732-1809), since it's almost never performed, and I'd never have found it, but for a closeout sale in which it was featured. I'm glad I did.

The 3 acts on these 2 CDs, first performed in 1782 in Hungary, are stellar. But it you want to know anything about the "heroic-comic-drama," you will NOT find it in this package. The box contains only a plastic cover, 2 CDs, and cover art, with a libretto in English and French. Still, I searched to find a more nuanced explanation of what the opera was about --- though it's clear just from listening we're not talking about high tragedy, here.

According to Classics Today, the libretto was first written for an opera of the same name by Pietro Allessando Guglielmi in 1772, and renders a farce of Ariosto's epic tale of Orlando Furioso --- which Lully, Handel and Vivaldi all dealt with as tragedy.

Orlando, a knight torn between love and war, to whom the evil witch Alcina gives bad dreams, turns to stone, locks in a cave, and drugs with Lethe's waters. Then there's Angelica, in love with having men in love with her, and lovesick and frightened Medoro. To this already preposterous set of characters also comes the shepherdess Eurillia, her father Licone, a raging pagan King Rodomonte, who hates Orlando and wants to destroy him, and Orlando's foppish squire Pasquale, in turn a gormand always flirting with Eurilla. Needless to say, Orlando alone takes anything seriously --- as he's beset hysterically by anger, jealousy, love, boastfulness, war and so on --- all to brilliant orchestrations and voices.

And as I said, you can hear the mirth in the music. I wish I'd seen it performed.

The Classics Today review of this recording gives a lovely description of all the action and moods, which is helpful if you want clues as to who is singing which set of satires about what.

As Robert Levine writes, there are four tenors --- Johannes Kalpers in a short perky stint as Licone, Werner Güra's Medoro as a "honeyed à la Don Ottavio," Michael Schade singing a large, tonal Orlando with "just the right berserk edge," and the highly praise worthy Markus Schäfer as Pasquale. Meanwhile, Christian Gerhaher presents Rodomonte as "a baritone paper tiger, filled with menace that goes nowhere," just like his character. Malin Hartelius sings a charmingly girlish Eurillia while Elisabeth von Magnus presents Alcina in a strong voice, "without exaggeration."

Finally, Levine notes, soprano Patricia Petibon plays Angelica with inspiration, "light as fluff, but with a sharp edge" precisely as needed.

Many thanks to Mr. Levine, whose review better explained what I've been listening to for a year now.

--Alyssa A. Lappen"