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David Shengold
Opera News, December 2016

Film director Doris Dörrie has ventured operas before, with mixed results, but this production from May 2009’s Göttingen Festival is quite lovely visually and—thanks to the experienced, animated (and animating) conductor Nicholas McGegan—musically responsible and refreshing. Bernd Lepel’s very beautiful sets smartly combine structural and pictorial elements of European Baroque and Classical Japanese theatrical art, and Dörrie obtained more than respectable shadow play and stylized movement from her singers—the use of silhouette abetted by the lavish Japanese costumes gorgeously worked by Lepel.

In crafting Admeto for Senesino, Faustina and Cuzzoni, Handel consciously created musical and vocal challenges for three of international superstars of his day. The three fine vocalists McGegan had at his disposal—British countertenor Tim Mead, Swedish soprano Marie Arnet and American soprano Kirsten Blaise—would hardly be so ranked, but they all offer informed and highly enjoyable Handelian singing here. They remain active Baroque practitioners. Mead moves and acts with dignity, and, if his voice is somewhat monochrome, it falls gratefully on the ear and is capable of both the sustained phrases and agile decoration needed here. Arnet, a handsome woman with an expressive face, brings admirable stylistic understanding and fine breath control. Blaise boasts a bright, agile light soprano (and looks good in lingerie); slow cantilena and faster passagework go equally well. © 2016 Opera News Read complete review





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