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Home » Composers » German Composers » GF Handel » Handel Operas » Ottone

Ottone

By George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel)

Recordings

Handel. Ottone. (HWV 15, London 1723). Harmonia Mundi HMU 907073/75 (3 CDs 1993). Nicholas McGegan, Freiburger Barockorchester. Ottone: Drew Minter, countertenor; Teofane: Lisa Saffer, soprano; Emireno: Michael Dean, bass; Gismonda: Juliana Gondek, soprano; Adelberto: Ralf Popken, countertenor; Matilda: Patricia Spence, mezzo-soprano. Clearly superior in nearly every respect to King's recording on Hyperion. Superb, studio recording, with outstanding balance and recorded sound. Nicely sung and played, with generally interesting ornamentation. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Handel. Ottone. (HWV 15, London 1723). Hyperion CDA 667513 (3 CDs, 1993). Reissued on MHS. Reissued on Hyperion CDS 44511/3 (October 2013). Details. Booklet with Italian/English libretto (pdf). Robert King, The King's Consort. Ottone: James Bowman, countertenor; Teofane: Claron McFadden, soprano; Gismonda: Jennifer Smith, soprano; Adelberto: Dominique Visse, countertenor; Emireno: Michael George, bass; Matilda: Catherine Denley, contralto. Had there been no competition, this recording would have been welcome, but it fails on all counts in comparison to the contemporaneous McGegan recording on Harmonia Mundi. Hyperion's recorded sound is constricted and poorly balanced. It sounds like a radio broadcast of a live recording. The performance is similarly mediocre. Many repeats are virtually unornamented, unless you consider singing softer to amount to ornamentation. In addition, King substitutes non-HIP organ continuo for harpsichord in several arias. His specialization in sacred music is apparent. Hyperion's booklet is smaller than the HM booklet, with smaller type packed closer together. Since both contain the same libretto and the same English translation by Anthony Hicks, the only reason to refer to the Hyperion booklet would be to follow the tracks. Three of the singers, Visse, Smith and Bowman, have distinctive voices, making them instantly identifiable. I find Visse's unusual, high falsetto timber to be interesting, if not encountered too often. Smith, on the other hand, has a nasal sound that can be grating, at least on this recording. (See contra, Silete venti with Pinnock on DG-Archiv, one of the best Handel vocal recordings.) Bowman is at his hootiest here, often fading out on low notes. Since the Hyperion and HM recordings came out simultaneously, they combined to kill the market and promptly appeared in cutout bins. As a result, Hyperion did not release King's recording of Ezio. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Reissued on CDS 44511/3 (2013). US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP

Related Operas

Lotti. Teofane (Dresden 1719). Libretto by Pallavicino.

Original Cast

Ottone: Senesino, alto castrato; Teofane: Franceca Cuzzoni, soprano; Emireno: Giuseppe Maria Boschi, bass; Gismonda: Margherita Durastanti, soprano; Adelberto: Guetano Berenstadt, alto castrato; Matilda: Anastasia Robinson, contralto.

References

Winton Dean & J. Merrill Knapp. Handel's Operas, 1704-1726. (Oxford University Press 1995 (1987)).

R. Strohm, "Handel and his Italian opera texts". Essays on Handel and the Italian Opera. (Oxford University Press 1985).

Fiona McLauchlan. "Lotti's Teofane (1719) and Handel's Ottone (1723): A textual and musical study." Music & Letters 78: 349-390 (1997).

Links

Le magazine de l'opera-baroque page on Ottone


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