Handel: La Resurrezione

LABELS: Challenge
ALBUM TITLE: Handel: La Resurrezione
WORKS: La Resurrezione
PERFORMER: Nancy Argenta, María Cristina Kiehr, Marijana Mijanovic; Combattimento Consort/Jan Willem de Vriend
CATALOGUE NO: CCDVD72159 (NTSC system; dts 5.1; 16:9 widescreen)
It is always good to be reminded of the startling energy and imagination of the young Handel, and no work does this more effectively than his Roman Easter oratorio, The Resurrection, with its colourful instrumentation, vocal virtuosity and unfailing melodiousness. For the most part the perfomers are equal to Handel’s considerable demands. The wind instruments are nicely toned and the band, lead by the violinist Jan Willem de Vriend, as a whole is attentive in accompaniment. Nancy Argenta is superb as the Angel and Marijana Mijanovic beyond praise as Mary Cleophas. Klaus Mertens negotiates the extremes of register in Handel’s depiction of the Lucifer with persuasive confidence, and Marcel Reijans makes an attractive St John. The DVD of the performance does not really add a great deal since it is only a visual record of a concert with only a small amount of dramatic interaction between the soloists. But it is nice to know that Nancy Argenta navigates the terrifying coloratura of her role with breathtaking insouciance. The accompanying documentary, ‘Passionate for Handel’ – concerned with the enthusiasms and vicissitudes of the conductor’s life and a deal of material about the composer and the work – is not designed for repeated viewing. Jan Smaczny