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Home » Composers » German Composers » GF Handel » Handel Operas » Partenope

Partenope

By George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel)

Recordings

Handel. 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. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Handel. 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. Track listing. 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 Summers. US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Reissued in 2009: US | UK | DE | FR | CA | JP
Also reissued in the Handel Opera Collection. Sony dhm 88697489402 (22 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) & Rodelinda (Schneider). 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. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP
Handel. 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.

Related Operas

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.

References

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).

Links

Le magazine de l'opera-baroque page on Partenope


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