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Bill White
Fanfare, March 2013

HANDEL, G.F.: Rinaldo (Glyndebourne, 2011) (NTSC) OA1081D
HANDEL, G.F.: Rinaldo (Glyndebourne, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7107D

As might be expected from Glyndebourne, the musical side of things is first-rate. The classy period ensemble, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, is led here impeccably by…Ottavio Dantone. All of the singers are very good, starting with contralto Sonia Prina as Rinaldo. Prina…sings the music very well…Goffredo is sung by mezzo Varduhi Abrahamyan and Eustazio by countertenor Tim Mead, both in fine voice…The enemy forces provide some of the best music in Rinaldo and here coloratura soprano Brenda Rae as Armida scores a triumph in some of Handel’s most difficult and spectacular music. Rae is able to portray both the alluring seductress of Rinaldo and the angry twice-rejected sorceress with equal skill and believability. Luca Pisaroni brings his fine bass-baritone voice to bear on the role of the Saracen leader, Argante, and produces some highlights of his own. Soprano Anett Fritsch gives us a very well sung “Lascia ch’io pianga” as Almirena…

…it comes in razor sharp Blu-ray video and hi-def surround sound. Recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Richard Wigmore
Gramophone, January 2013

HANDEL, G.F.: Rinaldo (Glyndebourne, 2011) (NTSC) OA1081D
HANDEL, G.F.: Rinaldo (Glyndebourne, 2011) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7107D

There are some good visual gags—the explosions in the school chemistry lab, Rinaldo’s magic flying bicycle, the hilarious final battle-as-football-match. The cast throw themselves into their roles with skill and verve.

Contralto Sonia Prina sings colourfully…and sensitively negotiates the production’s shifts between Rinaldo the timid, bewildered adolescent and Rinaldo the macho hero. As a pigtailed bespectacled Almirena, soprano Anett Fritsch is true and touching both in her birdsong aria with sopranino recorders…and in ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’. The rich-toned…Varduhi Abrahamyan and the firm, unhooty countertenor of Tim Mead make their mark as the Christian knights.

Filming is effective…The extras, too, are worth having, with thoughtful, unclichéd comments from producer, conductor and leading members of the cast. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Lawrence Devoe, October 2012

This production comes from 2011 Glyndebourne performances directed by Robert Carsen who delivers an idiosyncratic staging, to say the least. Baroque specialist Ottavio Dantone leads The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The video and audio properties of Rinaldo are absolutely superb.

Carsen’s concept of Rinaldo is that of a schoolboy’s fantasy, complete with boarding school uniforms in a classroom with an ever-changing blackboard. Odd as this may seem, it actually works, aided by some very special stage effects such as knights on bicycles…a soccer game and many clever costume changes. Do not miss Armida in a sexy rubber body suit, surrounded by naughty schoolgirls. Videography is splendid and there are many gorgeous closeups.

The Glyndebourne Festival opera house has a fabulous acoustic and you get to hear many details in the pit that would be glossed over elsewhere. The voices are well balanced and the singers take every advantage of the sympathetic hand of maestro Dantone.

…Glyndebourne has assembled a superb cast of Baroque specialists in the principal roles with special kudos to the female leads and bass Pisaroni. Director Carsen’s conceptualization of this classic legend as a schoolboy’s dream was a bold move…The numerous lighthearted moments in this opera might not have been Handel’s intent, but they do enhance the proceedings. Coupled with outstanding work in the pit and a recording team par excellence, I share the hearty reception given by the lucky Glyndebourne audience in attendance. Highly recommended. © 2012 Read complete review

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