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Handel: Amadigi Di Gaula / Banzo, Al Ayre Espnol


Release Date: 02/26/2008 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 133   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jordi DomènechMaria Riccarda WesselingElena De la MercedSharon Rostorf-Zamir
Conductor:  Eduardo Lopez Banzo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Al Ayre Español
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The recent resurgence in Handel’s popularity as an opera composer has brought back to life many of his masterpieces presumed dead. Amadigi was the fifth opera that Handel wrote for London and the last of his period of experimentation. As a German, living in England, writing in Italian, Handel was free to invent a non-existent operatic tradition. With works like Rinaldo, Teseo and Amadigi he does just that. Amadigi has already had a very successful recording on Erato with Mark Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre. While this new Naïve recording doesn’t quite eclipse that 1991 version, it certainly gives it a run for its money.

The plot, like most opera seria is implausible and revolves around lots of magic and mistaken
Read more identity. It takes place in the domain of the sorceress Melissa (soprano), and deals with her frustrated love for the hero Amadigi (mezzo-soprano). He remains true to his beloved Oriana (soprano), in spite of the machinations of his rival Dardano (counter-tenor). In the end the gods intervene, the evil are punished and all ends happily.

The performance throughout is very good indeed. I had never come across Al Ayre Español before: they were founded, by Banzo, in 1988 to revive the neglected Spanish Baroque repertoire . They have broadened out their repertory to encompass much of the European Baroque. Their crisp ensemble is perfectly suited to an intimate chamber work like this. They have a fantastic attack for the purely orchestral moments: the Overture and final Ballo are exhilarating, as are the Sinfonias in the middle of Acts 1 and 3. Furthermore they provide more than just a simple accompaniment to the arias: sample their contribution to the first aria (CD1, Track 4). As Dardano plans his deception his dissembling coloratura is accompanied by some pristine passage work from unison strings. There are some cracking effects later on, such as when Dardano is accompanied by a bagpipe-like drone (CD2, Track 13) or when recorders are introduced at the beginning of Act 2. The chief credit on this set goes to the instrumentalists, and to Banzo for controlling the direction of the music so admirably.

The quartet of soloists is very strong, though they are all high voices so there isn’t a lot of variety in the texture. Furthermore there are only two duets in the whole piece with a “chorus” to finish with: otherwise it’s arias all the way. Each of them is required to show off a whole range of vocal display to fit with the huge gamut of emotions they undergo. Highlights include a collection of heroic arias (try CD2, track 22 for instance) and some beautiful laments (try the last track on CD 1). All of the soloists are strong, with not a note out of place and a good deal of characterful acting too: all four are pretty well contrasted.

In all honesty, if you don’t like Handel opera then this set isn’t going to change your mind, and it doesn’t reach the heights of inspiration met in later masterpieces like Rodelinda or Alcina. If you’re happy to give it a go, though, you certainly won’t be disappointed because the performance is very strong. The booklet note describes the opera as “a musical map of the emotions” and, while the plot won’t win any dramatic awards, you could do lot worse than surrendering yourself to the journey it charts.

-- Simon Thompson, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Jordi Domènech (Countertenor), Maria Riccarda Wesseling (Mezzo Soprano), Elena De la Merced (Soprano),
Sharon Rostorf-Zamir (Soprano)
Conductor:  Eduardo Lopez Banzo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Al Ayre Español
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1715; London, England 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Overture
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Gavotte
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 1: Recitative: Or chen di negro ammanto (Amadigi, Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 1: Aria: Pugnero contro del fato (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 2: Accompanied Recitative: O notte! Oh cara notte (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 2: Aria: Notte, amica dei riposi (Amadigi) - Accompanied Recitative: Che miro? Infido fato! (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 2: Recitative: Ch'impedito e ogni passo (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 3: Recitative: E tu cerchi fuggir? (Melissa, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 3: Aria: Non sa temere (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 4: Recitative: If crudel m'abbondona, e mi detesta (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 4: Aria: Ah! spietato! e non ti mouve (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 5: Recitative: Risveglian queste fiamme il mio coraggio (Amadigi, Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 5: Aria: Vado, corro al mio tesoro (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 6: Recitative: Deh! ferma, oh Dio! (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 6: Aria: Agitato il cor mi sento (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 6: Sinfonia
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Recitative: Cieli, che fia? (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Aria: Gioie, venite in sen (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Recitative: In questo istante io provo (Amadigi, Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Aria: E si dolce il mio contento (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Recitative: Andiamo ora, mio ben, che piu si tarda (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 7: Aria: Oh caro mio tesor (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 8: Recitative: Cieli! Numil che miro? (Amadigi, Dardano, Melissa, Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 8: Aria: Io godo, scherzo e rido (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 9: Recitative: Ferma, deh! ferma, oh Dio! (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act I Scene 9: Recitative: O rendetemi il mio bene (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Io ramingo men vado (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 1: Aria: Sussurrate, onde vezzose (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 1: Recitative: Numi! che veggio? (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 2: Recitative: Svenne Amadigi dal suo duolo oppresso (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Cieli che sara mai? (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Aria: S'estinto e l'idol mio (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Ma qual scampo al mio affanno? (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Aria: T'amai, quant'il mio cor (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Recitative: Chi mai creduto avria (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 3: Aria: Ti pentirai, crudel (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 4: Recitative: Dunque colei, da cui (Amadigi, Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 4: Duet: Crudel, tu non farai (Melissa, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 5: Recitative: D'un sventurato amante (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 5: Aria: Pena tiranna io sento al core (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 6: Recitative: Arresta, oh prence! (Melissa, Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 6: Aria: Se tu brami di godere (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 7: Recitative: Ma, se questo non basta (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 8: Recitative: Amadigi, mio ben! (Oriana, Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 8: Aria: Tu mia speranza (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 8: Recitative: Ma e qui il rival! (Dardano, Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 9: Recitative: Cieli! Numil soccorso, asrti crudeli! (Melissa, Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 9: Aria: Affannami, tormentami (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 10: Recitative: Mi deride l'amante (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act II Scene 10: Aria: Destero dall'empia Dite (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 1: Recitative: Dove mi guida il fato mio tiranno? (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 1: Aria: Dolce vita del mio petto (Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 2: Recitative: Sento, ne so che sia (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 2: Aria: Vanne lungi dal mio petto (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 3: Se t'offese Oriana (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 3: Duet: Cangia alfine il tuo rigore (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 3: Recitative: No, no! ho gia risolto (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 4: Accompanied Recitative: Han penetrato i detti tuoi l'inferno (Dardano)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 5: Recitative: Cieli! ingiusti e inclemnetil! (Melissa, Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 5: Accompanied Recitative and Arioso: Addio, crudo Amadigil! (Melissa)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 5: Recitative: Che orrore! (Oriana, Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 5: Sinfonia
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 6: Recitative: Son finiti i tormenti, omai si goda (Orgando)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 6: Aria: Sento la gioia (Amadigi)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 6: Recitative: Godete omai felici (Orgando)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 6: Godete, oh cori amanti (Chorus, Amadigi, Oriana)
Amadigi di Gaula, HWV 11: Act III Scene 6: A dance of shepherds and shepherdess concludes the opera

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