Notes & Reviews:
BBC Music Magazine, Awards Issue 2015
A central performance of extraordinary spirit and plangency from Veronique Gens...Hengelbrock's ensemble boasts a rich and characterful continuo section...The dance music is muscular, the violins incisive, the percussion imaginative, and the humour robust.
A world-famous court composer during his lifetime, Agostino Steffani (1654-1728) exercised a significant influence on the likes of Handel, J.S. Bach and Telemann, his music nevertheless falling into neglect after his death. Thanks to conductor and Baroque specialist Thomas Hengelbrock, Steffani's musically rich and emotionally intense fifth opera Niobe, regina di Tebe, revived in 2008, is heard here in The Royal Opera's acclaimed 2010 production. With a 'delectable' and 'seductive' performance from Véronique Gens as the proud queen punished for defying the gods, supported by male soprano Jacek Laszczkowski, who 'thrills with his astonishing power at the top of the voice ... [giving] an exciting approximation of what the castrato could do' (Independent), this recording ushers Steffani's forgotten masterpiece to the wider public. "Lukas Hemleb's production is tasteful and elegant, and graced with some imaginative coups de théâtre. Thomas Henegelbrock conducts the expert Balthasar Neumann Ensemble, and there is first-class singing from a cast of period stylists... " (The Daily Telegraph)
The Telegraph, 12th April 2015
The general tone is perkily brisk, with interludes of melancholy. The singing leaves nothing to be desired, with the seductively musky VTronique Gens commanding the title role...Perhaps most arresting, however, is the Polish male soprano Jacek Laszczkowski, who, as King Anfione, executes almost grotesque feats of vocal acrobatics.
Gramophone Magazine, May 2015
The experienced tragedienne Veronique Gens conveys pathos potently in Niobe's shocked reactions to her husband's suicide and her transformation into stone...Miles's Poliferno is thunderously villainous, and his protege Creonte is sung with brilliant characterisation and rock-solid technique by Iestyn Davies...Hengelbrock's awareness of colour and emotion in Steffani's music is second to none.
Recording information: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (09/27/2010/09/29/2010).
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Works DetailsSteffani, Agostino : Niobe Regina di Tepe, opera
- Conductor: Thomas Hengelbrock
- Ensemble: Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble
- Notes: Royal Opera House, Covent Garden (09/27/2010/09/29/2010)
- Running Time: 3 min. 25 sec.
- Period Time: Baroque
- Form: Opera/Operetta