HANDEL Orlando / René Jacobs

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G. F. HANDEL

Orlando
Bejun Mehta · Sophie Karthäuser
Kristina Hammarström · Sunhae Im
Konstantin Wolff
B'Rock Orchestra
René Jacobs
Int. Release 12 May. 2014
2 CDs / Download
0289 479 2199 8 2 CDs AH2
ARCHIV Produktion


Track List

CD 1: Handel: Orlando

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Orlando, HWV 31

Act 1

1.
4:49

B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Bejun Mehta, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Sunhae Im, Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Act 2

Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Total Playing Time 1:17:09

CD 2: Handel: Orlando

George Frideric Handel (1685 - 1759)
Orlando, HWV 31

Act 2

Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Act 3

Sunhae Im, Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Kristina Hammarström, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Sunhae Im, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Sophie Karthäuser, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sophie Karthäuser, Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Bejun Mehta, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Sunhae Im, Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, Bejun Mehta, Konstantin Wolff, René Jacobs, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra

Sunhae Im, Sophie Karthäuser, Kristina Hammarström, Bejun Mehta, Konstantin Wolff, B'Rock Baroque Orchestra, René Jacobs

Total Playing Time 1:22:44

The scene-setting sound effects employed in this . . . are engaging and authentic to the opera's provenance . . . [the continuo is] provided with perfect virtuosity and dramatic energy . . . [the use of harp and organ in this recording] sharpens the dramatic bite of the performance grippingly. The playing of B'Rock Orchestra's team of first-rate musicians is wonderful. . . Maestro Jacobs's choices of tempo are mostly ideal, and his conducting displays [great attention to the needs of the singers] . . . the boldest of his choices are integrated into a laudable pursuit of musical and dramatic vitality. Zoroastro is one of Händel's best bass rôles, and the expansiveness brought to his music by bass-baritone Konstantin Wolff captures the character's innate dignity . . . Mr. Wolff's technique is equal to the demands of Zoroastro's music . . . Mr. Wolff's handsome tone is unfailingly ingratiating . . . His Zoroastro is a subtle but unflappable presence in the drama . . . mezzo-soprano Kristina Hammarström is quietly one of the best Händel singers in the world today. Her singing of Medoro in this performance is a splendid addition to her gallery of superlative operatic portraits. The dark beauty of her timbre does not detract from the credibility of her portrayal of a male character . . . Whether singing cascades of coloratura or passages of concerted lyricism, Ms. Hammarström maintains uncompromising elegance and regality, but it is the glory of her vocalism that ultimately lingers in the memory among the ghosts of the best Händel performances past and present . . . [Sunhae Im's] singing of Dorinda glistens with focused tone and luxuriant femininity . . . Every note that she sings on this recording is secure of intonation and unerringly placed in a sunny depiction of Dorinda . . . and the total success of her efforts is complemented by the insurmountable stylishness of her singing. The charismatic, imperious Angelica of soprano Sophie Karthäuser is a fantastic foil to Ms. Im's Dorinda . . . The Orlando of countertenor Bejun Mehta is an assertive creation, and the strength and swagger with which he traverses the unusually demanding rôle are magnificent . . . [Orlando's arias] benefit from the technical adroitness of Mr. Mehta's singing, and the singer meets the challenges . . . with consummate artistry and aplomb . . . Mr. Mehta sings with the beauty and breath control of a great exponent of bel canto . . . ebullient and inspiring . . . this recording explores "Orlando" in ways that surprise and astonish . . . they are rooted in a desire to give "Orlando" the kind of sorcery that it deserves. Its virtues silencing whispers about its vices, it is a performance that demands to be heard and refuses to be forgotten.

Bejun Mehta brings lively characterisation to the mythical hero's subtle duality . . . there is ample compensation in bravura passagework where every detail is in place and every phrase gracefully articulated. His famous aria 'Vaghe pupille' at the close of the Second Act comes over with tenderness and expressive warmth. The remainder of the cast makes a strong showing . . . Sunhae Im brings youthful playfulness to the role of Dorinda. Her athletic technique does justice to 'Amor è qual vento' (Act III) and 'O care parolette' (Act I). Konstantin Wolff's Zoroastro is authoritative and Kristina Hammarström's performance (Medoro) is pleasing; her terzetto with Angelica and Dorinda at the end of Act I is among many delights in a fine production. All is well-paced under René Jacobs's direction with a fine contribution from the B'Rock orchestra.

This "Orlando" is the most dramatic on disc . . . Bejun Mehta's psychotic titular antihero is superb throughout, and I've never heard a more thrilling -- or sinister -- Zoroastro than Konstantin Wolff, while Sophie Karthäuser and Kristina Hammarström blend raptly as the lovers, Angelica and Medoro . . .

. . . ["Orlando"] offers plenty of opportunities for eerie theatrics, and Jacobs and the B'Rock Orchestra respond with lush instrumental effects and in-your-face miking that amount to a flashlight under the chin. The whole thing might be campy or laughable if the musical values were not so strong, including a gorgeous performance in the title role by countertenor Bejun Mehta, and powerful singing by sopranos Sophie Karthäuser and Sunhae Im, mezzo-soprano Kristina Hammarström and especially bass-baritone Konstantin Wolff as the aforementioned magician . . . the cumulative effect of the performance is transfixing.

. . . [a] fine new release of Handel's extraordinary 1733 opera . . . Jacobs's ensemble is responsive and sonically delightful . . . Bejun Mehta, ever alert to Orlando's mercurial changes of mood (and sanity), knows his way dramatically around this challenging Senesino-created role . . . Mehta sounds very healthy both in sustained cantilena and in rapid passagework . . . Sophie Karthäuser offers a light, clear lyric soprano . . . [Sunhae Im] casts a disarming presence in person, and -- as her Dorinda attests here -- she is steeped in Baroque style and verylively with words. Swedish mezzo Kristina Hammarström is an admirable stylist and vocalist . . . she makes a fine impression . . . [Jacobs' edition] certainly deserves consideration.

. . . René Jacobs addresses every piece of music he interprets with arresting flair and musical imagination, and this buoyant and vivid recording of one of Handel's mature operas is no exception. Conducting with theatrical flair and rhythmic vitality, he carves a strong dramatic arc through a score that in lesser hands can seem merely a trail of superb arias threaded on a string of recitative, bringing hair-raising intensity and uninhibited bravura to the tremendous mad scene which closes Act 2. Here he is fortunate to have Bejun Mehta in the title role -- one of today's finest counter-tenors, singing here at the peak of his powers, in strong contrast to the mellifluous and imposing bass of Konstantin Wolff as the mage Zoroastro . . . Kristina Hammarström is fine in the subsidiary contralto role of Medoro . . . The playing of the whimsically named B'Rock Orchestra Ghent is impeccable throughout and the recording meets Archiv's highest standards.

Ausdrucksprall . . . auf ungemein dichte Weise erzählt. Gerade die Rezitative erwachen jacobshaft zu eigenem Leben. Ausdruck als Wagnis, Instrumente als szenisches Mittel: Da wird in den Cello- und Basstiefen gegrunzt, in geigenden und holzgeblasenen Höhen gezwitschert, was die Partitur in des Dirigenten Sinne nur so hergibt. Dazu kommen die vielen lyrischen Inseln, einzelne Arien, in denen eine Stimmung erzeugt wird, die nur eine Quelle kennt: den puren Klang, eine Art l'art pour l'art des Barock. Auch die fünf Solisten folgen Jacobs' Lesart in jeden Winkel: die beiden Soprane Sunhae Im und Sophie Karthäuser, die als Angelica makellose Technik und pralle Verzierungskunst mit einer reichen Palette an Farben verbindet, außerdem der Mezzo von Kristina Hammarström sowie der in seiner Tiefe sonor-gewichtig-zauberische Konstantin Wolff als Zoroastro und Bejun Mehta in der Titelpartie -- den Wahnsinn nimmt man ihm sofort ab. Er klingt mal metallisch und strahlig, mal bis in seine letzte Faser sensibel, hier prunkend, dort verunsichert, erst schillernd, dann argwöhnisch, je nachdem. Eine höchst lebendige Produktion.

. . . [Bejun Mehta] überzeugt durch seine Expressivität und technische Meisterschaft, er ist stets auf der Suche nach der dramatischen Wahrheit einer Szene, eines Charakters. Genau deshalb schätzt René Jacobs ihn so sehr, der am Pult des B'Rock Orchestra einmal mehr demonstriert, was für ein überragender Affektschilderer und Geschichtenerzähler er ist. Auch die übrige Besetzung kann sich hören lassen: die entspannt und gelöst singende Kristina Hammarström, der bewegliche und koloratursichere, dabei klangsatte Bass von Konstantin Wolff sowie die beiden Sopranistinnen Sophie Karthäuser [und Sunhae Im] . . .

. . . Bejun Mehta possède son personnage . . . il ne faudrait pas négliger l'apport décisif du chef qui a su découvrir la clé d'une oeuvre singulière et irréductible à l'une de ses multiples composantes (pastorale, épique, magique, comique, tragique, etc.) . . . L'expérience scénique que les solistes et les très malléables instrumentistes de l'excellent "B'Rock Orchestra" ont partagée sous la férule du musicien constitue un atout inestimable pour retrouver face aux micros la juste énergie et la tension dramatique, pour vivifier les récitatifs, soigner et renouveler l'accompagnement afin de soutenir au mieux les protagonistes tout en restituant les moindres changements de climat . . . [Handel's prima donna est] servie par le tempérament de plus en plus affirmé et la vocalité épanouie de Sophie Karthäuser . . .

De ce chef-d'oeuvre, René Jacobs, grand spécialiste de Handel, donne tout simplement la meilleure version discographique. Enregistrée en concert après une série de représentations scéniques, cette interprétation bénéficie non seulement d'une direction orchestrale toujours active et motrice (la folie d'Orlando!) mais aussi d'une distribution de rêve. Le contre-ténor Bejun Mehta laisse apparaître l'instabilité d'Orlando, tiraillé entre Mars et Vénus, entre la gloire militaire et le triomphe amoureux, dans une musicalité souveraine. Et Sophie Karthäuser . . . se montre la plus irrésistibles des Angelica.

De ce chef-d'oeuvre, René Jacobs, grand spécialiste de Handel, donne tout simplement la meilleure version discographique . . . cette interprétation bénéficie non seulement d'une direction orchestrale toujours active et motrice (la folie d'Orlando!) mais aussi d'une distribution de rêve. Le contre-ténor Bejun Mehta laisse apparaître l'instabilité d'Orlando, tiraillé entre Mars et Vénus, entre la gloire militaire et le triomphe amoureux, dans une musicalité souveraine. Et Sophie Karthäuser . . . se montre la plus irrésistibles des Angelica. Même privé d'image, cet enregistrement, rehaussé de quelques bruitages, atteint des sommets d'intensité dramatique: tout le théâtre se concentre dans la musique.

. . . par une spectaculaire prise de son, l'orchestre de Jacobs est un festival de couleurs où le continuo invente sans cesse . . . L'Angelica pleine de noblesse, à la voix riche et souple, avec des aigus très incarnés (Verdi pianti!) de Sophie Karthäuser enchante. Son Medoro est idéalement complété par le mezzo charnu de Kristina Hammarström . . . [c'est] la passion hypnotique que l'on ressent à l'écoute et surtout à la réécoute de cet enregistrement torrentueux . . .