What must have raced through the mind of the none-too-comely Spanish Infanta when she learned that the opera to be performed during the celebrations for her 1745 wedding to the French Dauphin revolved around the comeuppance of an ugly yet vain water nymph tricked into believing Jupiter was her ardent suitor? I suspect the poor Infanta, who died a year later after childbirth at just 20 years old, was not amused. But, as part of Rameau 2014—a worldwide commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the composer’s death—the celebrated French group Les Arts Florissants brought its surprisingly full-bore version of this sui generis comédie-lyrique–Platée ou Junon Jalouse–to Alice Tully Hall Wednesday evening for us to judge for ourselves. Read more »
For one week every two years since 1981 the eyes—and ears—of those interested in period performance turn to the Boston Early Music Festival, particularly to its opera centerpiece, but that organization doesn’t rest on its laurels in between festivals. Read more »
Messiah must be among the most popular works of classical music ever written with hundreds of performances worldwide each year, yet Handel’s numerous other large-scale sacred works have failed to similarly catch the public’s ear. These oratorios are still rare enough in New York City that we must be doubly grateful that The English Concert’s recent Theodora was so quickly followed by the American Classical Orchestra’s fine Samson on Tuesday evening at Alice Tully Hall. Read more »
My impossible wish would be to hear one of the great castrati who dominated opera for most of the 18th century.
Joined by the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, The English Concert concluded the US leg of its current tour at Carnegie Hall Sunday with a complete performance of the darkly moving Theodora, Handel’s penultimate oratorio.
While many performing arts organizations have been reducing their schedules or even closing, Opera Lafayette, a Washington DC-based group dedicated primarily to 17th and 18th century opera, has proven remarkably prosperous.
The internecine machinations of those who ruled—or sought to rule—the Roman Empire have long provided rich material for writers and composers, and on Thursday evening operamission continued its ambitious plan to stage in chronological order all of Handel’s operas by presenting one of the most delicious of those Roman-based works, Agrippina which premiered in Venice in 1709.
I suspect most New York City opera-lovers had long since given up hope that the fascinating soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci would ever return to their city.
I can think of no other case that resembles Handel’s complex relationship to the story—derived from Ovid’s Metamorphoses—of the ill-fated love between the shepherd Acis and the sea nymph Galatea.