Handel, Theodora, L. Hunt, D. Upshaw, D. Daniels, R. Croft, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, W. Christie
(released on May 29, 2012)
GFOCD 014-96 | 3h20
In any case, it is the music that makes this performance so special -- the singing of a fine cast and the sound of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, conducted by Christie and featuring Harry Bicket at the harpsichord. The tracks are taken from a range of live recordings made over the course of the run, chosen presumably as the best exemplars of each piece. The only regret is the live performance sounds, including the whooping and hollering of the chorus in the crowd scenes and the laughter of the audience (a sure indictment of the Sellars staging -- laughter?). In spite of the fine contributions from all the principal singers -- Hunt, Dawn Upshaw, David Daniels, and Richard Croft -- this live recording is not to be preferred over the leaders in the field. William Christie went on to record this most admirable of Handel's oratorios a few years later, with his own ensemble, Les Arts Florissants (Erato), in the same year that Paul McCreesh made an excellent recording with the Gabriel Consort (Archiv).