Handel: Giulio Cesare / Haim, Dessay, Zazzo, Lefevre, Visse, Leonard, Abrahamya
George Frideric Handel
Le Concert D'Astrée
Number of Discs:
3 Hours 37 Mins.
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
Giulio Cesare, the most popular of Handel’s operas, is named after the great Roman emperor, but its most memorable character is Cleopatra. In this production by Laurent Pelly from Paris’ splendid Palais Garnier, the role of the Egyptian queen is assumed for the first time by Natalie Dessay, described by the Telegraph as “a supreme vocal enchantress”.
Natalie Dessay chose to make her stage debut in the role of the Egyptian queen at Paris’s Palais Garnier, an opera house of legendary splendour and beauty and, seating an audience of less than 2,000, well suited to the intimacy of baroque opera. Dessay had already recorded all the character’s arias for Virgin Classics with conductor Emanuelle Haïm (9078722), who was also in
charge of the performances at the Palais Garnier in early 2011. “Every note is as clear and lustrous as a freshly polished crystal chandelier,” said the Toronto Star of the soprano’s recorded performance, while the Telegraph (UK) enthused that “Dessay proves a supreme vocal enchantress”.
She proved a svelte physical enchantress, too, in the staging by Laurent Pelly – who, notably, directed Dessay in the sparkling production of Donizetti’s La Fille de régiment that was seen in London, New York and Vienna and released on DVD by Virgin Classics (5190029). The Wall Street Journal also praised the excellence of the cast: “not just the stellar Ms. Dessay but also counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo as Caesar, mezzo-soprano Varduhi Abrahamyan as Cornelia and especially mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard as Sesto”.
Works on This Recording
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17 by George Frideric Handel
Varduhi Abrahamyan (Mezzo Soprano),
Dominique Visse (Countertenor),
Natalie Dessay (Soprano),
Lawrence Zazzo (Countertenor),
Isabel Leonard (Mezzo Soprano),
Nathan Berg (Baritone),
Christophe Dumaux (Countertenor)
Le Concert D'Astrée
Written: 1724; London, England
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
An erotic masterpiece! November 17, 2012
By BURTON A jONES, JR. (Pearland, TX) See All My Reviews
"This was a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Handel like I have never seen it done before. Natalie Dessay is a terrific Cleopatra in her one shoulder gauze gown. Not many, I suspect, would have the confidence to perform seminude. Her voice and acting ability are extrordinary as on other recordings. I would consider her at the peak of her career. Every recording has been superb. The rest of the cast is uniformly excellent. The orchestra and conductor (Ms. Haim) are equally terrific -- she really seems to understand and love Handel and Baroque music. A truly gifted artist! A word about the staging: the actors and singers are in period costumes but the stage crews are in modern dress (khakis, jeans, t-shirts and such). A little distracting at first, but then the performance is so good after a while you accept it and just consider it a minor anomaly. Some of the scenes seem to be rearranged in sequence. No problem! Don't miss this one! (Rated R)"