Handel - Partenope
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Cat No: 2564609007
Number of Discs: 3
Release Date: 6th November 2015
John Mark Ainsley
Il Pomo d’Oro
Handel’s sparkling opera Partenope reunites Erato’s star countertenor Philippe Jaroussky and the captivating Canadian soprano Karina Gauvin, who both made such an impact in the Erato recording of Steffani’s rediscovered opera 'Niobe', released in early 2015 and welcomed as a “landmark event” by Gramophone.
Jaroussky’s Erato catalogue is rich, varied and extensive but it is some time since he last recorded a complete Handel opera for the label: 'Faramondo', which was released in 2009. If Faramondo remains something of a rarity on the world’s stages, Partenope – which offers plenty of comedy as Queen Partenope juggles an array of suitors – is a popular work, and in recent years has even enjoyed productions in such large theatres as the San Francisco Opera and English National Opera.
Jaroussky takes the role of Arsace, Prince of Corinth, while Karina Gauvin is Queen Partenope herself. She has superb credentials as a Handelian and has recorded 'Ariodante' (with Joyce DiDonato and the late Alan Curtis) and 'Giove in Argo' (with Ann Hallenberg and Curtis) for Erato. Gramophone has spoken of her “ideal Handelian mix of grace and profound emotional truth”, while the Sunday Times has praised her “glinting soprano, bright-edged yet deliciously rounded and sensual … used with rare understanding for character” and the “sculptural beauty” of her phrasing.
The conductor is Riccardo Minasi, who, with his ensemble Il Pomo d’Oro, also appears on Joyce DiDonato’s bel canto collection, 'Stella di Napoli' and Edgar Moreau’s new Erato album 'Giovincello'. Praising conductor and orchestra for their command of Handel’s operatic style, Forum Opéra has written: “A real drama unfolds from the overture onwards … The conductor brings true brio as he engages with Handel’s rhetoric … The players of Il Pomo d’Oro can switch in a moment from the role of interlocutor to commentator … Add to this a perfect mastery of the way the recitatives lead into the arias, and you have the formula for an approach that remains constantly fresh.”
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