Notes and Editorial Reviews
Andrea Marcon and La Cetra Barockorchester & Vokalensemble Basel sparkle in this new release from PENTATONE of Handel’s forgotten masterpiece
Parnasso in festa, recorded shortly before their hugely successful Netherlands premiere of the opera in November 2016.
Handel wrote this sumptuous work in 1734 to celebrate the marriage in London of Princess Anne and Prince William of Orange. Cast in the form of a serenata, Parnasso in festa recounts the joyful wedding feast of Thetis and Peleus at which the Muses are present. It’s packed with breathtaking arias, duets and choruses, all written with the verve, drama and sense of occasion to be expected from Handel.
The soloists on hand for the premiere were
among the greatest Italian singers of the day – Giovanni Carestini, Margherita Durastanti, Anna Maria Strada del Po and Maria Caterina Negri. The care he lavished on the richly instrumented score is striking, from the masterly reworking of material from his oratorio Athalia to the ravishing original material, making this work unique among Handel’s output.
Parnasso in festa proved to be very popular in its day it and was revived several times, yet after 1741 was largely forgotten. Now after years of neglect, this superbly crafted work has been recognized for the glorious entertainment that it is.
REVIEW (in performance):
The revelation was American soprano Robin Johannsen, superbly agile and fresh-sounding—but also expressive—in Clio’s taxing music.
– David Shengold, Opera News, "Il Parnasso in festa," February 2017 Read less
Works on This Recording
Il parnasso in festa, HWV 73 by George Frideric Handel
David Hansen (Countertenor),
Luca Tittoto (Bass),
Kangmin Justin Kim (Countertenor),
Robin Johannsen (Soprano),
Jenny Högström (Soprano),
Silke Gäng (Mezzo Soprano),
Francesca Ascioti (Alto)
La Cetra Baroque Orchestra Basel
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