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G.F. Handel: Imeneo, HWV 41, Serenata 'Hymen' (Dublin 1742) / Magnus Staveland, Ann Hallenberg, Monica Piccinini, Fabrizio Beggi, Cristiana Arcari. Europa Galante, Biondi

Album Summary

>Handel, George Frideric : Imeneo, HWV 41
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Fabio Biondi signs his fifth release on Glossa with a further opera exploration, here with Europa Galante and providing a vital interpretation of Handel's late opera Imeneo, given in its serenade- style 1742 Dublin version. If, by this date, the London public was tiring of the Italian opera in which Handel had been excelling for decades, and the composer was now turning both to the oratorio and in the direction of the galant style, he was still able to call upon divos and divas of the quality of La Francesina and Giovanni Battista Andreoni to perform his music. Though not a success in its Lincoln's Inn Fields staging in London, Imeneo was performed by Handel as his only Italian work during his season in Dublin (which also saw the first performance of Messiah), complete with additional arias to add to those praised in 1740 and a pruning of the libretto (which hadn't received approval). The revised story turns on Tirinto (Ann Hallenberg in Biondi's modern-day production, as performed at the Handel Festival in Halle) pining for his beloved and kidnapped Rosmene (Monica Piccinini). Her liberation by Imeneo (Magnus Staveland) leads to Rosmene being required to decide which of the two Athenians to wed. Hymen - as Handel's work was known in Dublin - was the god of marriage, and so, will love overcome duty and reason or not? Fabio Biondi, directing from the violin, brings all his own experience in both Italian music and music from the eighteenth century in delivering a stunning vindication of an unfairly neglected Handel opera.

The Guardian, 18th February 2016
The orchestra has the odd rough edge, but it fizzes in Imeneo's jealousy aria, sung with authority by the tenor Magnus Staveland. However, the recording belongs to mezzo Ann Hallenberg as Tirinto; she is in quite another league to the rest of the cast, and the performances lifts whenever she is singing.

Gramophone Magazine, March 2016
Europa Galante perform the Overture's playful Allegro expertly...Biondi's accomplished performance permits a valuable insight into Handel's pragmatism and reconstructs a historic event...Hallenberg [is] on top form.

Opera Now, May 2016
Fabio Biondi allows the opera to unfold naturally...Best of all is Fabrizio Beggi, new to me, whose youthful bass copes marvellously, not just with the range demanded of it, but sings with a great sense of lone against very little accompaniment.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2016
Biondi shapes a performance in which the depth of preparation results in music-making that sounds entirely spontaneous. There's a startling variety of articulation and colour from his tiny band, and beautifully responsive continuo playing. Ann Hallenberg delivers Tirinto's grave serenades and intricate passagework with unruffled ease and an alluring mellow tone... [and] Magnus Staveland conveys louche glamour in the swashbuckling title role.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Halle (Georg Friedrich-Händel Halle), Germany (06/2015).


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Works Details

>Handel, George Frideric : Imeneo, HWV 41
  • Performer: Fabio Biondi (Violin)
  • Conductor: Fabio Biondi
  • Ensemble: Europa Galante
  • Running Time: 4 min. 56 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1738