Outstanding Alcina: Highlighted by Joyce DiDonato

25/10/2014

SpainSpain  Handel: Alcina, The English Concert, Harry Bicket (conductor), El Baluarte, Pamplona, and Auditorio Nacional, Madrid, 12 & 14.10.2014 (JMI)

 

Concert Version

 

Cast:
Alcina: Joyce DiDonato
Ruggiero: Alice Coote
Morgana: Anna Christy
Bradamante: Christine Rice
Oberto: Anna Devin
Oronte: Ben Johnson
Melisso: Wojtek Gierlach

One of the most attractive events at the start of the opera season has been this Alcina with Joyce DiDonato. The concert tour began on 10 October at London’s Barbican, followed by Pamplona and Madrid,continuing in Vienna and Paris, and ending up at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

This is a fairly complete version of Handel’s opera, and The English Concert gave an excellent performance. A magnificent orchestra! To me, its director, Harry Bicket, has always seemed a sensitive musician, although short on imagination in his conducting. This impression was reinforced during the first act, but in the second half his delicacy and sensitivity were excellent and produced a convincing reading.

Alcina was performed by Joyce DiDonato. There are singers noted for their vocal quality and others for their refined technique, but few of them fall into the category of genuine artists who are able to convey emotion through their singing. Ms. DiDonato combines it all. She has a very attractive voice, impeccable technique, an impressive ease in agilities and, finally, a capacity to move available only to the very best singers. Her entire performance was outstanding, but if I had to single out just one moment, I would choose the aria “Si, son quella” in Act I. Outstanding as she was in Pamplona, she was even better in Madrid, where the aria “Ah, mio cor, Schernito sei” bordered on true perfection. A GREAT ARTIST, in capital letters.

The character of Ruggiero has special significance, apart from having two of the best known and brightest moments of the opera: “Verdi prati” and “Sta nell’ircana.” These quite different arias allow one to fully assess the quality of their interpreter.  Alice Coote did very well in both cases but was better in Pamplona than in Madrid, where she did not seem to be at her best.

Soprano Anna Christy was an able interpreter of Morgana, especially in the aria that ends the first act, “Tornami a Vagheggiar.” Christine Rice is not a contralto, but she did well in the part of Bradamante, singing with musicality and an attractive voice. She was particularly good in “Vorrei vendicarmi.

The fifth female in the cast was the young Irish soprano Anna Devin as Oberto. Her voice is quite attractive, without problems in coloratura, and she almost stole the show with “Barbara, io ben lo so.” She has a bright future.

The male voices were at a lower level, especially Ben Johnson as Oronte. Wojtek Gierlach as Melisso was better although not particularly convincing.

José Mª Irurzun

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and more in Buenos Aires during 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Beethoven 250 at London’s Southbank Centre __________________________________
  • NEW! Snape Maltings – January to April 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Saffron Hall in February – August 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2020 – Gluck’s Paris and Helen __________________________________
  • NEW! Surrey’s Grange Park Opera in 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Leeds Lieder Concert Series 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Usher Hall 2019-2020 Orchestral Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera in 2019-2020 and New Artistic Director __________________________________
  • UPDATED! ENB in 2019-2020 and Opening of their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW AND UPDATED! BEST OF 2019 FROM SOME OF OUR REVIEWERS __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST ZLATA CHOCHIEVA IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR TOM HAMMOND IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ballet Icons Gala 2020 at the London Coliseum on 26 January __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR HERVÉ NIQUET INTERVIEWED ABOUT GRÉTRY’S RICHARD, COEUR DE LION __________________________________
  • PIANIST JAMES LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ANGELA GHEORGHIU IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NOW REVIEWED! MATTHEW BOURNE’S ROMEO AND JULIET IN CINEMAS FROM 22 OCTOBER __________________________________
  • REVIEWED! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month