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Graham Lock
Early Music Today, June 2020

HANDEL, G.F.: Deidamia (DNO, 2012) (NTSC) OA1088D
HANDEL, G.F.: Deidamia (DNO, 2012) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7110D

David Alden’s splendid production of Deidamia is a joy. His witty update of Handel’s last opera captures its bitter-sweet blend of irony and heartbreak, and features a stellar performance from Sally Matthews, whose portrayal of Deidamia, as she passes from innocence to the disillusion and fury of ‘M’hai resa infelice’, is intensely moving.

There’s strong support too from Veronica Cangemi’s Nerea and Olga Pasichnyk, whose gauche, laddish Achilles in a frilly pink frock is a comic delight… © 2020 Early Music Today Read complete review

Richard Lawrence
Gramophone, February 2013

HANDEL, G.F.: Deidamia (DNO, 2012) (NTSC) OA1088D
HANDEL, G.F.: Deidamia (DNO, 2012) (Blu-ray, HD) OABD7110D

Sally Matthews is perfect as Deidamia: saucy in ‘Nasconde l’usignol’, heartfelt in ‘M’hai resa infelice’, with its echo of the first concerto in Handel’s Op 3 set. Veronica Cangemi is delightful as her fellow princess. Ivor Bolton conducts with passion: splendid sforzandos in another intense aria, ‘Se il timore’. The audience certainly enjoyed it all. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2012

A modern look at a story set among Greek mythology from David Alden, a director with a track record of causing raised eyebrows among opera diehards. Handel’s Deidamia was an operatic oratorio, its plot so slight that you have to admire how he could build such an extended score. That it has never achieved a place in the repertoire is unjust from a musical prospective, though to stage the work for modern audiences would stretch the producer’s imagination. Alden answer is to update it to present-day Greece, add a tropical island, a few non-singing characters to fill out the stage, some silly dances, aerobics, a submarine, and a cast that can apparently walk on water, and hopefully the audience will not get bored by Handel’s lack of action. Words do not always coincide with the updated actions, but that probably didn’t matter overmuch, the active backdrop deflecting from some overlong arias. The story, for what it is, relates to the prophesy that Achille will die if he ever takes part in an attack on Troy, his father sending him out of the way dressed as a woman to live with Licomede. There he meets his daughter, Diedamia, and they fall in love. But circumstances change, and with the Trojan army threatening the Greeks, only an army under his leadership can save Greece. In the end, with Diedamia’s backing, he leaves to save Greece though both know they will never see one another again. Musically we have Sally Matthews outstanding in the leading role, her intrinsically beautiful voice used with intelligence; the many vocal acrobatics easily handled; and her good looks extend to her scene in a swimming costume. Padded shoulders, supposed to add a male presence to Olga Pasichnyk’s Achille, are too obvious to the cameras, though she has the appropriately weighty tone, while the potent voice of Silvia Tro Santafe as Ulisse, is another female in a male role. Veronica Cangemi is very effective as Nerea, who falls for the attractions of Andrew Foster-Williams as Fenice—dressed here as a cigar-smoking American soldier—the major roles are completed by Umberto Chiummo as Licomede. Surrounded by modernity, it seems strange to have then involved the outstanding period instrument group, Concerto Koln, with Ivor Bolton conducting, but we are passing through a mixed-up time in the world of Baroque opera. Excellent video quality with superb sound, the colours attractively vivid. The disc also comes in standard DVD format on OA 1088D. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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