Cher Public

Made in the shade

As an addendum to yesterday’s concert review and with an eye toward holiday gift-giving, here’s a quick sprint through some recent (and a few maybe not-so-very-recent) Handel CDs that have been stacking up.  Read more »

Not the Messiah

“Intense musicality and sure command” from soprano Joanne Lunn.

Since everyone knows that “The Hallelujah Chorus” celebrates the Resurrection and thus isn’t all that appropriate for Christmas, four fine Handel-centric concerts from the Morgan Library to Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center proved a bracing antidote to pervasive Messiah-mania.  Read more »

Garden variety

Surprising Michal Czerniawski.

A small-scale concert performance of Handel’s Amadigi di Gaula by the Opera Settecento orchestra last Saturday night at St. George—Handel’s own parish church—fit perfectly into the venue, thanks to Leo Duarte‘s expansive conducting and a strong cast.  Read more »

Less than hero

“Venti turbini,” which should end the first act in a blaze of determined coloratura, lacked the needed razzle-dazzle.

Harry Bicket and his English Concert returned Sunday afternoon to Rinaldo for the sixth annual installment of their survey at Carnegie Hall of Handel’s operas and oratorios. Unfortunately the composer’s breakout London hit of 1711 proved one of the series’s weakest efforts so far in part due to a cruelly miscast Iestyn Davies in the crucial title role.  Read more »

Better call Saul

Director Barrie Kosky’s Glyndebourne 2015 production of Handel’s 1739 oratorio Saul (released on Opus Arte DVD) shows imagination as well as a strong cast and design team.

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Notes from the underground

Director R.B. Schlather and his team explored Handel’s Orlando and the results, as seen at Monday night’s final presentation, proved uncommonly stimulating.

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Isn’t it necromantic?

St. Paul’s Chapel is the perfect site for Saul, Handel’s finest dramatic oratorio.

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Saxon violence

His shaved head in striking contrast to his dark beard and glinting eyes, the implacable Tartar conqueror glowers at us from the CD cover, while the uncropped photo of countertenor Xavier Sabata (above) is even more disturbing, featuring his raised fist and forearm tightly wrapped in a leather belt.

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