Joyce DiDonato / Franco Fagioli / Maxim Emelyanychev / Il Pomo d'Oro

Handel: Agrippina

  • AllMusic Rating
    10
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Handel's Agrippina (1709) is a somewhat tawdry tale of the efforts of the title character to elevate her son, Nero, to the Roman throne, and it's widely accounted as Handel's first big operatic masterpiece. It is a kind of prequel to the material covered in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea. The work fits into neither the categories of Italian opera seria nor comic opera, though it borrows elements of both. From opera seria comes an athletic strand of vocal writing that runs through several roles and is ably handled by Joyce DiDonato as Agrippina and two of the hottest countertenors on the scene, Franco Fagioli as Nerone (Nero) and Jakub Jozef Orlinski as Ottone (Otho, another claimant to the throne who is the sole character to emerge with moral dignity intact). The latter role was originally performed by a female contralto, but Handel would have had no problem with inserting a male singer; several other roles were for castrati. Some of the arias were recycled from earlier compositions by Handel and others, but they were reworked, and most importantly, put together in lively and compelling ways, and that points to arguably the real star of the recording: conductor Maxim Emelyanychev, leading the historical-performance group Il Pomo d'Oro. Everything is precise (the group had performed the opera live in advance of this studio recording), and the performers get the youthful energy and innovative spirit of the music. Absolutely nothing is dull here, and anyone looking to try out authentically performed Baroque opera, not just those who are already fans, should give this recording a try.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Agrippina
1 03:37 Amazon
2 02:42 Amazon
3 04:54 Amazon
4 00:34 Amazon
5 02:49 Amazon
6 03:35 Amazon
7 00:17 Amazon
8 02:04 Amazon
9 03:26 Amazon
10 00:25 Amazon
11 02:37 Amazon
12 02:23 Amazon
13 00:20 Amazon
14 01:15 Amazon
15 01:14 Amazon
16 00:40 Amazon
17 00:15 Amazon
18 00:32 Amazon
19 01:31 Amazon
20 02:52 Amazon
21 01:03 Amazon
22 03:53 Amazon
23 00:26 Amazon
24 03:55 Amazon
25 04:39 Amazon
26 00:17 Amazon
27 01:05 Amazon
28 01:17 Amazon
29 00:20 Amazon
30 02:12 Amazon
31 03:04 Amazon
32 02:10 Amazon
33 00:46 Amazon
34 00:28 Amazon
35 03:46 Amazon
36 03:55 Amazon
37 01:34 Amazon
38 00:15 Amazon
39 00:29 Amazon
40 00:28 Amazon
41 00:21 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Agrippina
1 00:56 Amazon
2 05:14 Amazon
3 00:16 Amazon
4 02:14 Amazon
5 00:55 Amazon
6 03:11 Amazon
7 00:43 Amazon
8 00:26 Amazon
9 01:12 Amazon
10 01:26 Amazon
11 00:33 Amazon
12 03:38 Amazon
13 02:11 Amazon
14 01:44 Amazon
15 00:05 Amazon
16 01:33 Amazon
17 00:05 Amazon
18 02:09 Amazon
19 00:37 Amazon
20 01:05 Amazon
21 04:54 Amazon
22 04:09 Amazon
23 00:26 Amazon
24 00:14 Amazon
25 01:44 Amazon
26 01:32 Amazon
27 03:40 Amazon
28 02:10 Amazon
29 00:35 Amazon
30 01:33 Amazon
31 01:05 Amazon
32 00:24 Amazon
33 01:20 Amazon
34 03:33 Amazon
35 00:17 Amazon
36 03:47 Amazon
37 06:36 Amazon
38 01:07 Amazon
39 02:54 Amazon
40 00:09 Amazon
41 00:53 Amazon
42 02:19 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Agrippina
1 00:20 Amazon
2 03:29 Amazon
3 00:43 Amazon
4 02:12 Amazon
5 00:23 Amazon
6 04:24 Amazon
7 00:23 Amazon
8 01:46 Amazon
9 03:54 Amazon
10 00:15 Amazon
11 01:31 Amazon
12 02:13 Amazon
13 00:25 Amazon
14 03:48 Amazon
15 00:49 Amazon
16 01:30 Amazon
17 02:43 Amazon
18 00:22 Amazon
19 01:38 Amazon
20 03:41 Amazon
21 00:19 Amazon
22 01:41 Amazon
23 01:31 Amazon
24 04:25 Amazon
25 00:46 Amazon
26 01:57 Amazon
27 06:10 Amazon
28 03:58 Amazon
29 04:24 Amazon
30 00:45 Amazon
31 00:22 Amazon
32 02:28 Amazon
33 00:53 Amazon
34 01:58 Amazon
35 01:11 Amazon
36 00:54 Amazon
37 04:45 Amazon
38 02:03 Amazon
39 02:20 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick