Notes & Reviews:
Virgin Classics present a new complete opera recording Handel's Giove in Argo conducted by Alan Curtis, a supreme Handelian conductor and scholar. The opera is one of Handel's three pasticcio works made up of music and arias from his previous operas. Even though the work premiered at the King's Theater in London on 1739 to a full house after one more performance the opera disappeared from the stage. Whether it was due to possible reconstruction or its unpopularity, Giove in Argo was never performed again.
Featured in this recording is an all-star cast including Ann Hallenberg, Theodora Baka, Karina Gauvin, Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani, Johannes Weisser, and Ito Priante. The European ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, under the direction of its founder Curtis, is also heard in this recording.
Alan Curtis is one of the most acclaimed specialists in the interpretation of pre-romantic music. The New York times' recently proclaimed him as "one of the great scholar-musicians of recent times". In 2010 Virgin Classics released Curtis' recording of Handel's opera Berenice. Opera News welcomed it, saying: "At the helm of the superb period-instrument ensemble Il Complesso Barocco, with its smooth violin section and supple, energetic continueo, Alan Curtis paces a well-chosen cast with his customary precision and command... Singers never seem musically constrained or theatrically hampered, and... the cast exhibits a welcome sureness with Handel's style and rhetorical presentation, both individually and as an ensemble."
Gramophone has said that "Alan Curtis has done more than most to prove that many of Handel's 42 operas are first-rate music dramas", while the BBC Music Magazine has praised him as "a seasoned Handelian who has contributed, perhaps more than anyone now, to the composer's operas on disc."
BBC Music Magazine
This reconstruction is notable for the unusual balance between arias and choruses, of which there are nine horns, oboe and recorders. Though the voices blend oddly with Curtis's choir, the choral writing is delicious. Hallenberg excels in Act II.
Gramophone Magazine, June 2013
Il Complesso Barocco's instrumentalists seem enthusiastically engaged in the opera's affectionate playfulness...Act 2 climaxes with Ann Hallenberg's immaculately sung mad scene for the beleaguered Isis but Karina Gauvin's Calisto repeatedly steals the show.
International Record Review, May 2013
This is a cast without a weak link, making the strongest possible case for Handel's pasticcio...For dedicated Handelians it's an essential acquisition.
Sunday Times, 7th April 2013
The tone, typical of his later operas, is teasingly erotic and ironic. Curtis presides over an outstanding cast led by Karina Gauvin and Ann Hallenberg.
The Times, 4th May 2013
Curtis's Il Complesso Barocco matches its pastoral, infinitely melodious style with graceful playing, and the singing is delightful, if rather questionably ornamented. Well worth exploring.
Recording information: Villa San Fermo, Lonigo, Italy (04/16/2010-04/20/2010).
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Works DetailsHandel, George Frideric : Giove in Argo (Jupiter in Argos), opera, HWV A14
- Conductor: Alan Curtis
- Notes: Villa San Fermo, Lonigo, Italy (04/16/2010-04/20/2010)
- Running Time: 3 min. 30 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1739