Alan Curtis / Il Complesso Barocco

Handel: Giove in Argo

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Handel's Giove in Argo (Jupiter in Argos) is bottom-of-the-barrel stuff, a pastiche (or, in the parlance of the time, pasticcio) of numbers from earlier operas stitched together into a mythological-pastoral plot that is absurd even by the standards of Baroque opera. It is a notable sign of the success of the Baroque opera revival that this has appeared on a semi-major label, Virgin Classics. The pieces were all from operas that were fairly recent at the time, and it's possible that the work was intended as a kind of greatest-hits reprise, but London audiences did not bite; the opera was long thought to be lost, and it had its modern premiere only in 2006, with newly written recitatives. The curious will do well with this release by the reliable conductor Alan Curtis, the very unusual mezzo-soprano Theodora Baka, longtime Curtis soprano Karina Gauvin, and the group Il Complesso Barocco. You also get a detailed booklet essay by the work's rediscoverer, John H. Roberts. Handel seems to have put his strongest numbers up front; the first act is a good deal more exciting than the other two. There are a lot of choruses, and Oh quanto bella gloria, a celebration of hunting set in the mighty harmonic blocks that only Handel could manage, is prime mature Handel. Several of the arias are also top-notch, and everything's well performed. Probably for Handel completists, but everything is well done, including the engineering from the entirely appropriate Villa San Fermo in Italy.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Giove in Argo, HWV A14
1 3:30 Amazon
2 1:29 Amazon
3 2:00 Amazon
4 0:48 Amazon
5 3:56 Amazon
6 3:19
7 0:44 Amazon
8 7:18 Amazon
9 1:12 Amazon
10 2:34 Amazon
11 1:00 Amazon
12 1:07 Amazon
13 0:23 Amazon
14 3:37 Amazon
15 1:39 Amazon
16 3:39 Amazon
17 2:02 Amazon
18 1:52
19 2:42 Amazon
20 1:23
21 6:10 Amazon
22 0:23 Amazon
23 5:16 Amazon
24 0:57 Amazon
25 6:01 Amazon
26 1:09 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Giove in Argo, HWV A14
1 1:28 Amazon
2 0:44
3 3:55
4 0:40 Amazon
5 5:46 Amazon
6 1:02 Amazon
7 1:58
8 6:45 Amazon
9 1:15
10 4:52 Amazon
11 0:19 Amazon
12 4:23 Amazon
13 1:15
14 2:44 Amazon
15 4:09 Amazon
16 4:51 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Giove in Argo, HWV A14
1 2:51 Amazon
2 1:17 Amazon
3 7:00 Amazon
4 0:59 Amazon
5 4:58 Amazon
6 0:28 Amazon
7 2:33 Amazon
8 0:50
9 3:31 Amazon
10 1:13
11 5:44 Amazon
12 0:52 Amazon
13 4:14 Amazon
14 1:12 Amazon
15 1:45 Amazon
16 1:51
17 2:08 Amazon
18 0:38 Amazon
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