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By George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel)
Partenope. (HWV 27, London 1730). Chandos CHAN 0719 (3
CDs, May 2005). Christian Curnyn, The Early Opera Company.
Partenope: Rosemary Joshua, soprano; Rosmira: Hilary Summers,
contralto; Arsace: Lawrence Zazzo, countertenor; Armindo:
Stephen Wallace, countertenor; Emilio: Kurt Streit, tenor;
Ormonte: Andrew Foster-Williams, bass. This is a nice
performance, but the engineers blew a great opportunity to make
one of the best Handel opera recordings. (Their 2007 recording
of Semele is even worse.) Not that it's a terrible
recording, but either the microphone placement or room acoustics
were so far off that listening is roughly equivalent to watching
a baseball game at Fenway Park from behind a roof support. The
theorbo is extremely prominent in most tracks; it seems to have
been separately miked. Yet the harpsichord can only be heard,
just barely, on a few tracks. Similarly, the strings sound
distant and muffled. I wonder seriously if anyone with prior,
positive experience in opera recordings was involved in this
fiasco. At least some earlier Chandos recordings, such as
Vivaldi's Ottone in Villa, were competently recorded.
Unfortunately, the booklet reproduces the English version from
the original word book, as did the dhm recording. This English
text is verbose and quite different from the straightforward
Italian libretto. For the high price asked by Chandos, an
English company, the least one could expect is a modern English
translation. Includes superb liner notes by David Vickers.
Partenope. (HWV 27, London 1730). dhm 1C 157-99 855/58 (4
LPs, 1979), reissued on Pro-Arte 4PAL-4000 (4 LPs), reissued in
1988 by EMI on 3 CDs as CDS 7 47913 8 and in 1990 by BMG as dhm
Editio Classica GD 77109.
Sigiswald Kuijken, La Petite Bande. Partenope: Krisztina Laki,
soprano; Rosmira: Helga Müller Molinari, mezzo-soprano; Arsace:
René Jacobs, countertenor; Armindo: John York Skinner,
countertenor; Emilio: Martyn Hill, tenor; Ormonte: Stephen
Varcoe, bass. Overall, a more satisfying production than
Curwyn's new recording. However, I prefer the singing on the
newer version, particularly by Lawrence Zazzo and Hilary
Reissued in 2009:
|Also reissued in the Handel Opera Collection. Sony dhm
CDs, April 2009).
Details. This reissue includes the S. Kuijken recording of
Alessandro, which has been out of print for many years.
The best of the remaining opera recordings are Lotario
(Curtis), Partenope (Kuijken) &
Of these, only Schneider's Rodelinda has been superseded
by a clearly superior recording. The others are of little or no interest: Malgoire's lackluster
Rinaldo, Serse & Tamerlano and the comically
incompetent old Rudel recording of Giulio Cesare. No
librettos are included, nor are they available online.
Partenope. (HWV 27, London 1730). Göttingen Handel
Festival. (3 CDs 2001).
Review. Nicholas McGegan. Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.
Partenope: Meredith Hall, soprano; Rosmira: Annette Markert,
contralto; Arsace: Kai Wessel, countertenor; Armindo:
Christopher Josey, countertenor; Emilio: John McVeigh, tenor;
Ormonte: William Berger, bass. Sold by the
German Handel Society.
Antonio Caldara. Partenope (Mantua & Venice 1708). One of many
settings of the 1699 text by Silvio Stampiglia, this version of the text was the
basis for Handel's opera. "Caldara's Partenope of 1708 may have
represented one of Handel's first concrete contacts with the Venetian stage."
Strohm, p. 61.
Winton Dean. Handel's Operas, 1726-1741 (Boydell Press 2006).
R. Strohm, "Handel and his Italian opera texts." Essays on Handel and the
Italian Opera. (Oxford University Press 1985).
Le magazine de l'opera-baroque page on Partenope