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Handel: Riccardo Primo / Rousset, Les Talens Lyriques

Release Date: 08/13/1996 
Label:  L'oiseau Lyre   Catalog #: 452201   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sara MingardoSandrine PiauOlivier LallouetteRoberto Scaltriti,   ... 
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Rescue operas are not what one is used to associating with Handel, yet that, in a sense, is what this is. Costanza, a princess of Navarre, has been shipwrecked on Cyprus, where she now awaits the arrival of her betrothed, Richard the Lionheart (yes, the same). The island's tyrannical ruler, Isacio, fancies her for himself, however, and spends the entire opera trying to prevent the intended union from going ahead, first by sending Riccardo his daughter Pulcheria instead, and, when that has failed thanks to Pulcheria's brave entreaties, by imprisoning Costanza and declaring war. Only with his final defeat by Riccardo's army, aided by Pulcheria's own fiancé Oronte, do things finally turn out happily.

As Costanza,
Read more Sandrine Piau mixes virtuosity with vocal beauty, while Claire Brua's no less virtuosic Pulcheria has a darker, more firmly mezzo-like sound. The part of Riccardo himself was written for the great alto castrato Senesino, and Rousset follows recent trends in allocating the part to a mezzo-soprano with a background in nineteenth-century opera. Like Jennifer Larmore in Rene Jacobs's Giulio Cesare, Sara Mingardo is a complete success, showing great vocal dexterity and strength in the low-lying passagework that was Senesino's trademark, and communicating all that one could wish for in the character of Riccardo. This is Mingardo's recording debut, but she looks like a singer to watch out for. Roberto Scaltriti, the Isacio, is not noted for Handel singing either, but his experience in Verdi and Puccini also pays dividends in his loudly villainous arias and recitatives. Olivier Lallouette, as Costanza's guardian Berardo, and Pascal Bertin, as Oronte, have less to get their teeth into, but both acquit themselves well. This is not a starry cast, but it is well chosen and not one of its members lacks the ability to deal with Handel's thrilling vocal demands.The instrumentalists of Les Talens Lyriques, here making their L'Oiseau-Lyre debut, are also well up to the job...Rousset's direction is sure and idiomatic..."

-- Gramophone [11/1996]
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Works on This Recording

Riccardo Primo, HWV 23 by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Sara Mingardo (Alto), Sandrine Piau (Soprano), Olivier Lallouette (Bass),
Roberto Scaltriti (Baritone), Claire Brua (Mezzo Soprano), Pascal Bertin (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Christophe Rousset
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Talens Lyriques
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1720; London, England 
Language: Italian 

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