Saturday, 27 October 2012

Handel's Lotario

The neglect of Handel's opera Lotario is quite baffling. First performed in December 1729, it flopped and was not performed again until the 1950s … when it again flopped. The resuscitation I listened to today was from 2004, with Alan Curtis and his Complesso Barocco featuring a first-class list of today's singers, including Sara Mingardo, Simone Kermes, Sonia Prina and Vito Priante. I even liked the tenor (Steve Davislim) and appreciated the absence of male altos (Curtis uses female contraltos, in deference to my prejudices).

The music is first-class. Curtis apologises that, to accommodate the work on two CDs, some recitatives and some da capos had to be cut in order to bring the work in at 2 ½ hours rather than three. He need not have apologised to me: I have no objection to having the essence of Lotario, rather than every single note, and I am not in the slightest concerned with following the nuances of “the plot” (which is pretty ridiculous, as usual, and all in Italian, anyway). Nice just to sit back and bask in fine music and fine singing for two and a half hours.

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