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Handel: Giulio Cesare (Excerpts) / Jacobs, Larmore, Et Al


Release Date: 06/12/2001 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi Musique D'abord Catalog #: 1951458   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bernarda FinkMarianne RorholmDerek Lee RaginJennifer Larmore,   ... 
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 19 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

When this set appeared 12 years ago it pushed all the other recorded versions of Giulio Cesare aside, and now, examining it again and even finding some things to argue with, it maintains that supreme position. The opera is given complete and all the roles are sung in their original octaves (no bass-baritone Caesar, for instance). René Jacobs' tempos are ideal for each dramatic situation, and if the recitatives have a formality that slows them down somewhat, well, we are dealing with Caesar, Cleopatra, and very grand historic deeds. Both orchestra and singers embellish their written lines, and from this vantage point, those embellishments seem very tame--but they're still welcome, highly musical, and apt.

To this day,
Read more most of the cast could not be bettered. Cornelia's opening aria is so beautifully, heartbreakingly sung, that in a better world mezzo Bernarda Fink would have become an overnight sensation on the level of a Pavarotti. Marianne Rørholm's Sesto is energetic and has the correct combination of impetuousness and dignity, but her voice strikes me as slightly too light, even for this youngish man. Similarly, Barbara Schlick is a delightful Cleopatra and she sings with absolute assuredness, but if you compare her with, say, Beverly Sills (on RCA), you don't get a complete picture of this complicated woman. Handel gives Cleopatra eight arias, covering joy, flirtatiousness, tragedy, deception, straightforwardness, etc.; the role is as rich as Isolde. With Sills, even despite her sometimes wild over-embellishments, you get every facet; Schlick misses the sheer depth of Cleopatra's complexity. It's a minor complaint given how glorious Schlick's singing is, but it must be addressed.


No such criticisms are possible about Jennifer Larmore's Cesare. The voice is as solid as a rock, her coloratura is staggering in its accuracy, and the dark, masculine sound she effects for the role is uncannily right. She can be aggressive, she can be love-smitten. In the accompanied recitative when she contemplates Pompey's ashes, her depth of feeling is palpable, her soul troubled. It's a great performance. The smaller roles are equally well-taken, with Derek Lee Ragin's effete-yet-dangerous Ptolomy particularly striking. In short, while Beverly Sills' Cleopatra is an unequalled treasure, Jacobs' cast and interpretive outlook turn the opera into the drama it should be, and no one who cares about Baroque opera should do without this set.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
reviewing the complete Giulio Cesare, HM 901385 Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Overture by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
2.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Priva son d'ogni conforto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
3.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Svegliatevi nel core by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Marianne Rorholm (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
4.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: L'empio sleale, indegno by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
5.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Alma del gran Pompeo by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jennifer Larmore (Alto)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
6.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Tutto può donna vezzosa by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Barbara Schlick (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
7.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Va tacito e nascosto by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jennifer Larmore (Alto)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
8.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Tu sei il cor di questo core by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Furio Zanasi (Bass)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
9.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Cessa omai di sospirare! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Bernarda Fink (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
10.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Al lampo dell' armi by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jennifer Larmore (Alto)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
11.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Che sento? oh Dio! by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Barbara Schlick (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
12.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Se pietà di me non senti by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Barbara Schlick (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
13.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Belle dea di questo core by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Derek Lee Ragin (Countertenor)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
14.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: L'aure che spira by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Marianne Rorholm (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
15.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Piangerò la sorte mia by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Barbara Schlick (Soprano)
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection is preceded by the recitative "E pur cosi..." 
16.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Sinfonia by George Frideric Handel
Conductor:  René Jacobs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Cologne
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 

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