PERFORMER: Eirian James, Della Jones, Julia Gooding, Derek Lee Ragin, Catherine Napoli, Jeffrey Gall; Les Musiciens du Louvre/Marc Minkowski
CATALOGUE NO: 2292 45806-2 DDD
In his eighth opera, Teseo, dating from 1712, Handel attempted – and with triumphant results – to repeat the success he had enjoyed with Rinaldo. To that end, the new work had all the heroism, epic subject-matter, sorcery, transformation scenes and marvels that had so appealed to public taste in the previous one.
The scoring of Teseo, too, was colourful: oboes, flutes, recorders, trumpets and solo cellos adorn various arias and choruses.
Colour and drama are in plentiful supply in this excellent new recording of the work, the latest from Marc Minkowski and Les Musiciens du Louvre. Minkowski’s lively pacing and taut rhythms move the action forward at a good lick, generating a fine sense of dramatic momentum, yet allowing phrases time to breathe.
Of the soloists, Della Jones is outstanding as the ‘amorous sorceress’ Medea, not least in the spluttering rage of her jealousy aria. Julia Gooding gives particular pleasure as Agilea, while Eirian James’s Teseo and Derek Lee Ragin’s Egeo are also strongly sung. Barry Millington