René Jacobs

Haendel: Rinaldo

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    9
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AllMusic Review by

Rinaldo, Handel's first Italian opera, is still arguably his best Italian opera. Or, to put it another way, Handel found what worked -- hair-raising arias, affecting harmonies, colorful orchestrations, wild special effects, and a story that his English audiences would accept as a compliment to their own magnificence -- and he stuck with it until the English were sick of Italian operas. Handel's Rinaldo works wonderfully well in this recording directed by Rene Jacobs. Jacobs makes the drama work, making one believe in the unlikely coincidences that constitute its plot. He makes the theatrical effects work, making one believe in Handel's monumental thunder that precedes the arrival of the evil queen. He makes the colorful orchestrations work, making one believe in Handel's lush and voluptuous score. But Jacobs is not alone. The singers are uniformly excellent; from the terrifying Inga Kalna's evil queen through the sympatric Miah Persson's pathetic Almirena and the powerful Lawrence Zazzo's good king to the exquisite Vivica Genaux as the hero Rinaldo. The Freiburger Barockorchester plays superbly and Harmonia Mundi's sound is wholly lifelike. Rinaldo: Handel's Italian opera that works.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Rinaldo, opera, HWV 7
1
1:12
2
2:56
3
1:16
4
3:36
5
4:39
6
5:05
7
1:36
8
2:27
9
1:18
10
2:29
11
4:16
12
1:01
13
1:12
14
6:10
15
1:15
16
2:47
17
3:14
18
1:31
19
1:50
20
3:12
21
2:15
22
7:10
23
2:17
24
9:58
blue highlight denotes track pick