Wednesday, 14 May 2008

99. George Friedric Handel - Ariodante (1735)













Recording

Title: Ariodante
Performers: Anne Sofie Von Otter, Lynne Dawson, Musiciens du Louvre etc.
Director: Mark Minkowski
Year: 1997
Length: 2 hours 40 minutes

Review

Handel's operas are all quite interesting, but some are a bit hit and miss, and none of them on this list until now has hit the greatness of Giulio Cesare. Ariodante is more on the level with Rodelinda than Cesare, which was such an amazing opera.

Actually Ariodante is possibly slightly more interesting than Rodelinda, the character of the play is less dark, the resolution is faster and there is quite deep exploration of the characters' psyche. Even so the resolution is too fast, feeling quite rushed while the first act does little more than introducing the characters, feeling too long.

So there is a problem of pacing in the opera, Handel has shortened the arias considerably with very few going over the 6 minute mark, and while this is good considering they are da capo arias that tend to sprawl, it kind of limits their emotional impact on the listener. Still a pretty good opera, but nothing to write home about.

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The opera was first performed in the Covent Garden Theatre, London, on 8 January 1735. Ariodante opened Handel's first season at Covent Garden and successfully competed against the rival Opera of the Nobility, supported by the Prince of Wales. Handel had the tacit and financial support of the King and Queen and, more vocally, of the Princess Royal. The opera received 11 performances during its premiere season at Covent Garden.

Like Handel's other works in the opera seria genre, Ariodante, despite its initial success, fell into oblivion for more than two hundred years. An edition of the score was published in the early 1960s, from the Hallische Händel Ausgabe. In the 1970s, the work began to be revived, and has come to be considered one of Handel's finest operas.

Con L'ali di costanza:

1 comment:

Antonio Jerez said...

Have to disagree a bit. Ariodante is actually almost on par with Giulio Cesare. An absolute gem. Most of the arias may be quite short but they have a melodiousness and quality that Händel stand out. And Scherza infida is actually the longest of all Handel arias and definitely one of his best, if not THE best.