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:

  • 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 TV 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 TV by Myriam Hoyer.

Christophe Rousset directs Les Talens Lyriques (Concert Master Gilone Gaubert-Jacques). There is no information in the keepcase art about artistic team or teams for this. Both operas sung in Italian. Customer reviews on Amazon state there are no subtitles in Italian; further, the keepcase artwork says nothing about what subtitles in other languages may be available on the disc. An Amazon customer also reported that information about the tracks for the various numbers is not given in the keepcase art. Released 2016, disc has 5.1 sound output. Grade: NA

This would seem to be a decent value for Handel fans with tasteful (if a bit severe and dour) productions of 2 long operas. Per the Alpha-Classics website, this will be published in Blu-ray only (no DVD).

The many deficiencies in disc authorship noted above suggest avoiding this disc. But 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." 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 :