Handel: Giulio Cesare / Haim, Dessay, Zazzo, Lefevre, Visse, Leonard, Abrahamya
George Frideric Handel
Le Concert d'Astrée
Number of Discs:
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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: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
First rate Handel March 27, 2013
By Donald Bauder (Salida, CO) See All My Reviews
"This is an excellent DVD of Handel's Giulio Cesare. Dessay is wonderful, and so is countertenor Lawrence Zazzo, singing Caesar. Isabel Leonard's Sesto is outstanding. The rest of the cast does a splendid job. Initially, I thought a contralto would be more suitable as Caesar, but changed my mind as the opera advanced. The sets are somewhat distracting, but that is true of so many modern-day presentations of Handel operas. Highest recommendation. Best, Don Bauder"
Giulio Cesare March 1, 2013
By Roy J Landry (Barton, NS) See All My Reviews
"Dessay, as always, simply magnificent. It is impossible to "over praise" this release. Order your copy immediately! R. J. Landry, Barton, NS Canada"