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Stephen Smoliar, March 2013

HAYDN, J.: Orlando Paladino (Staatsoper unter den Linden, 2009) (NTSC) 2057788
HAYDN, J.: Orlando Paladino (Staatsoper unter den Linden, 2009) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 2057784

The music was performed on period instruments by the Freiburger Barockorchester under the direction of René Jacobs. The stage direction was produced jointly by Nigel Lowery and Amir Hosseinpour.

Musically, Jacobs has once again produced a splendid performance of the spirit of eighteenth-century classicism. His chemistry with all of the singers is excellent, no matter how many things they have to be doing up on stage.

Dorati was certainly right to revive interest in the opera. This video of a Berlin production will do much to sustain that interest. © 2013 Read complete review

Lance Hulme
Early Music America, December 2010

Although this work lacks the inspired genius of Mozart, it is unfair to Haydn (1732–1809) to imply that his most performed opera is in any way inferior. The vocal and instrumental writing are masterful, and if the libretto falls short of Da Ponte, the hallmarks of Haydn’s personal style—sudden Neapolitan chord shifts, for example—make for a delightful work. Orlando Paladino is a dramma eroicomico, a satirical opera seria, which allows Haydn to employ the entire spectrum of operatic writing from comic folksong-like melodies to dramatic bravura coloratura passages.

René Jacobs’s direction is typically fresh and balanced, and the Freiburger Barockorchester performs with humor and lightness of touch. To say the cast is uniformly excellent is not to detract from each singer’s individual appeal. All roles are wonderfully cast and performed with attractive voices and dramatic craft. As for the direction, this reviewer saw derivative Peter Sellars-influenced Regietheater overshadowing excellent performances. Eighteenth-century characters scurry about in 21st-century flea market costumes on a Tim Burton nightmare Christmas-tree market set. Why, during Pasquale’s Leporello-esque aria, must we be diverted from excellent singing by frenetic gesticulations? The irony of this sort of stage direction is unnecessary in an already genre-mocking work.

The cinematography rightly varies close-ups and full-stage viewings. The DVDs have no supplemental biographies or commentaries. I would have liked a discussion with Jacobs on his use of pianoforte in the recitatives and some musicologica musings about an excellent performance of an unjustly neglected opera.

Jerome R. Sehulster
Stamford Advocate, July 2010

 Franz Josef Haydn’s “Orlando Paladino” (2 DVDs; EuroArts) is a heroic comedy based on sections of Ariosto’s Renaissance epic “Orlando Furioso.” Alcina, the sorceress, loves Orlando, the knight, who loves Angelica, a beauty from Cathay, who loves Medoro. Soprano Marlis Petersen sings Angelica; Tom Randle is Orlando, the wild Alexandrina Pendatchanska is Alcina.

Kurt Moses
American Record Guide, July 2010

Marlis Petersen (Angelica) impresses the listener with her very beautiful and smooth soprano, and she is also a fine vocal and physical actress. She dominates the stage (partly because of her good looks) whenever she appears. ...most of the cast acts as well as sings very well. The stage direction by Nigel Lowery and Amir Hosseinpour emphasizes physical action, and that had to be an important consideration when this cast was hired. But they also sing well, and their comic routines are often really funny.

René Jacobs conducts vigorously. He is known for his fast tempos, and in this work they are more appropriate than in Mozart. His relatively small orchestra (I counted 41 players) sounds better than many such baroque instrument groups, but they play with very little vibrato. The set is simple: the outdoor scenes have a few trees scattered about the stage, and the indoor scenes have a few pieces of generic furniture. The sound is excellent.

I recommend this release, especially to lovers of baroque opera. This is one of the best videos of a baroque opera I know.

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10:53:32 AM, 10 October 2015
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