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Stuart Broomer
The WholeNote, February 2019

The Balthasar Neumann Ensemble plays period instruments and three of the eight roles are sung by countertenors. Meanwhile, there’s a steely sheen to the furnishings, an iMac adorns a desk, and the fine mezzo-soprano Patricia Bardon, who has sung many of Handel’s principal females, plays the title role, stalking the halls of power in a leather skirt; at other times, the scatterbrained Nero, sung by countertenor Jake Arditti… © 2019 The WholeNote Read complete review




Clive Paget
Limelight, February 2019

Patricia Bardon makes a fearsome Agrippina, her ample mezzo larger than we are used to in this repertoire but wielded to fine effect. Danielle de Niese gives Poppea a terrific emotional core, steering a nuanced course from nice to nasty. Both countertenors, Jake Arditti and Filippo Mineccia, are sweet-toned and act well as Nerone and Ottone. Mika Kares’ Claudio is a super voice... Fine sound and image. © 2019 Limelight Read complete review



David Shengold
Opera News, February 2019

Thomas Hengelbrock’s adept conducting…yields considerable pleasure, as does the playing and singing of his style-conscious Balthasar Neumann Ensemble. Gideon Davey’s handsome, neoclassical, Fascist-era sets and striking costumes are atmospherically lit by Carsen and Peter van Praet. © 2019 Opera News Read complete review




Michael Johnson
ConcertoNet.com, January 2019

HANDEL, G.F.: Agrippina [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2016) (NTSC) 2.110579-80
HANDEL, G.F.: Agrippina [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2016) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0078V

Thomas Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble provide state-of-the-art support throughout. The overture begins with Handelian stateliness, but it soon veers into the lively tunefulness that accompanies the twists and turns of the plot. © 2019 ConcertoNet.com Read complete review



Opera, January 2019

HANDEL, G.F.: Agrippina [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2016) (NTSC) 2.110579-80
HANDEL, G.F.: Agrippina [Opera] (Theater an der Wien, 2016) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0078V

Enhanced by a fresh and immediate vocal performance, Danielle de Niese’s perfectly judged Poppea portrays a smart little cookie determined to use whatever nature has given her to further her ends. © 2018 Opera



John W Barker
American Record Guide, January 2019

Agrippina was his only opera created during Handel’s youthful stay in Italy. From our standpoint, it serves as a kind of “prequel” to Monteverdi’s Coronation of Poppea—which Handel is unlikely to have known. Agrippina is a portrait of a decadent, intrigue-ridden court. The title character schemes to have her son, Nerone (Nero) set as successor to her current husband, Claudio (Claudius)—and mezzosoprano Bardon is brilliant in portraying her both vocally and dramatically.

…This is a very even cast, and all its members are excellent in their parts. I don’t recall encountering Hengelbrock as an opera conductor before, but he directs with fine feeling for the piece. This performance was captured at Vienna’s historic Theater an der Wien in March 2016. © 2019 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



David Vickers
Gramophone, October 2018

Poppea’s development from shallowness and gullibility to vulnerability and wisdom is acted wonderfully by Danielle de Niese (her singing is a mixed bag). Filippo Mineccia is a magnetic and versatile stage performer as the honourable yet naive Ottone…

Thomas Hengelbrock’s full-blooded conducting of the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble has theatrical acumen and is vividly sonorous whether sweet, dark, seductive or furious. Although quick music crackles vigorously, briskness is often at the expense of detail. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone





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