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Handel, Floridante, M. Mijanović, J. DiDonato, Il Complesso Barocco, A. Curtis (released April 10, 2007)
Anthony Holden (The Observer, April 15)
Tim Pfaff (Bay Area Reporter, April 12)
George Loomis (Disc of the Month, Opera Magazine, May 2007)
Mark Sealey (Classical Net)
This recording is the first to use Clausen's new edition, and in it Curtis and his musicians attempt "to return to Handel's original conception" of the opera, as Clausen writes in his informative liner notes (The ideal Floridante). Most importantly, Handel initially planned to cast soprano Margherita Durastanti in the role of Elmira, but she was unavoidably detained in Italy at the time of the premiere. Ultimately, Handel was forced to recast the opera with the seconda donna, contralto Anastasia Robinson, as Elmira. The English singer was originally given the role of Rossane, which was now reworked for a new soprano, Maddalena Salvai. Paolo Antonio Rolli freely adapted the libretto (.PDF file) from an earlier Venetian opera, Francesco Silvani's La costanza in trionfo, set to music by Marc'Antonio Ziani. The synopsis may help you make more sense of the plot, but it's complicated, if still dramatically compelling, in a Baroque opera kind of way.
|Il Complesso Barocco:|
This is a singular recording, of exceptional musicological interest and beautifully sung and played. Curtis draws another fine performance from his instrumental ensemble (this opera's overture is a gem) and plays the harpsichord for the recitatives. His style is more judicious than the flashier Christophe Rousset and not as intellectual as the distant (but glorious) William Christie. The embellishments on the da capo repeats, probably the work of Alan Curtis, are extensive and impressive, while sounding appropriate to each voice. Much of the most memorable music is in the second act, like Rossane's perky Gode l'alma innamorata, Floridante's fiery exit aria Bramo te sola, the gorgeous duet Fuor di periglio with Water Music-like horn obbligati, and Elmira's murky arioso Notte cara. Listen to some excerpts to judge for yourself.
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