Alcina and Tamerlano


Handel Alcina opera to a libretto by an unknown author and Handel Tamerlano opera to libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym. Both operas directed 2015 by Pierre Audi at la Monnaie using (we think) the same support staff for a coordinated package. Christophe Rousset directs Les Talens Lyriques (Concert Master Gilone Gaubert-Jacques). Costumes by Patrick Kinmonth.

  • Alcina stars Sandrine Piau (Alcina), Maite Beaumont (Ruggiero), Angélique Noldus (Bradamante), Sabina Puértolas (Morgana), Chloé Briot (Oberto), Daneil Behle (Oronte), Giovanni Furnaletto (Melisso), and Éduoard Higuet (Astolfo). Alcina directed for film by Stéphan Aubé.

  • Tamerlano stars Christophe Dumaux (Tamerlano), Jeremy Ovenden (Bajazete), Sophie Karthäuser (Asteria), Delphine Galou (Andronico), Ann Hallenberg (Irene), Nathan Berg (Leone), and Caroline D'Haese (Zaida). Tamerlano directed for film by Myriam Hoyer.

Released 2016, disc has 5.1 sound output. Grade: NA

This would seem to be a good value for Handel fans with tasteful (if a bit severe and dour), straight-foward productions of 2 complete long operas. But there's no room on the package to give the usual credits for the support team. Per the Alpha-Classics website, this will be published in Blu-ray only (no DVD).

Gramophone gave this it's Blu-ray of the Month award in the January 2017 issue. William Brown, writing in the July 2017 Opera News at pages 51-52 was less thrilled. Of the Alcina, he states, "by excising nine movements of dance music and the final chorus, the work becomes unusually somber and ends in a hopelessness alien to the opera." There is a warning from an Amazon customer that the disc may not have separate tracks for the individual recitatives and arias and a list thereof in the keepcase booklet. Still, it appears this package has been a good seller for the vendors thanks to its attractive pricepoint.

Here's a preview clip of this disc with short clips from both operas suggesting excellent singing and vividly good work from Les Talens Lyriques :