Notes & Reviews:
For its harmonia mundi début, the London-based ensemble La Nuova Musica, led by David Bates, presents a true rarity - the original 1712 version of Handel's opera Il pastor fi do (The Faithful Shepherd) in its world première recording, featuring Lucy Crowe, Anna Dennis, Katherine Manley, Madeleine Shaw and Clint van der Linde. The three act Il pastor fi do was set to a libretto by Giacomo Rossi based on the famed and widely familiar pastoral poem of the same name by Giovanni Battista Guarini. Following on the heels of Handel's hugely successful Rinaldo, the work was revised several times to please audiences and critics. La Nuova Musica is a vocal and instrumental ensemble dedicated to the music of the European Renaissance and Baroque. Its name is taken from Giulio Caccini's 1602 treatise Le Nuove Musiche, which concerns itself with vocal production and how best to move the affections. Since its foundation in 2006 by counter-tenor David Bates, the group has shot to prominence in the UK and beyond and is already a regular guest at the foremost Early Music venues and festivals.
"Bates makes no attempt to address Il pastor fido's dramatic shortcomings in La Nuova Musica's world premiere recording. His love of Handel's instrumental textures is apparent...In Dennis, we have a fiercely individual voice with remarkable extension, in Shaw a stage-worthy characterisation, most moving in the staccato gasps of 'Se m'ami, oh caro'" -BBC Music Magazine
"The first aria brings us scorching singing from soprano Anna Dennis as shepherd Mirtillo. The third brings Lucy Crowe, vibrant as Amarilli, the nymph of Mirtillo’s dreams. Katherine Manley, as the schemer Eurilla, is only slightly less demonstrative...A tonic; a definite tonic." -The Times
The first aria brings us scorching singing from soprano Anna Dennis as shepherd Mirtillo. The third brings Lucy Crowe, vibrant as Amarilli, the nymph of Mirtillo's dreams. Katherine Manley, as the schemer Eurilla, is only slightly less demonstrative... A tonic; a definite tonic.
BBC Music Magazine
Bates makes no attempt to address Il pastor fido's dramatic shortcomings in La Nuova Musica's world premiere recording. His love of Handel's instrumental textures is apparent... In Dennis, we have a fiercely individual voice with remarkable extension, in Shaw a stage-worthy characterisation, most moving in the staccato gasps of 'Se m'ami, oh caro'
International Record Review
Completist Handelians will doubtless be pleased to have a stylish account of the full 1712 score...Anna Dennis (Mirtillo) has a light, bright, if slightly breathy soprano and she makes little of the words...Both Lucy Crowe - the star of the set - and Katherine Manley bring more vim to the love rivals, Amarilli and Eurilla, their respectively creamy and lemony tones nicely and aptly contrasting.
Rather than a living, breathing performance, the result is an elegant musical object.
The sensual orchestration is beautifully realised...Lucy Crowe's magnificent soprano is allowed full rein, and I enjoyed both Anna Dennis and Clint van der Linde, an outstanding countertenor. An auspicious debut.
This is a fine recording of the 1712 Il pastor fido, well worth the attention of any fan of the greatest English opera composer to ever live, and the equal of any of his continental successors.
American Record Guide, July / August 2012
This a charming opera, full of Handel's usual flood of Italianate lyricism. It is vividly recorded and handsomely packaged, with full libretto. This release finally fills a long-standing need in the discography of Handel's operas.
Recording information: Temple Church, London, UK (08/2010).
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Works DetailsHandel, George Frideric : Il pastor fido
- Conductor: David Bates
- Ensemble: La Nuova Musica
- Notes: Composition written: 1712.
- Running Time: 117 min. 7 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1712