Handel: Berenice

This Berenice is Curtis’ seventh complete recording of a Handel opera for Virgin Classics; the six previous works (Admeto, Arminio, Deidamia, Radamisto, Rodrigo and Fernando, rè di Castiglia) were re-released in a special 15-CD box in 2009, and 2011 will bring the release of Ariodante, with Joyce DiDonato in the title role, supported by Karina Gauvin, Sabina Puertolas, Marie-Nicole Lemieux, Topi Lehtipuu. In Berenice, set in Alexandria in 80 B.C., the title role of the Egyptian queen is taken by Swedish soprano Klara Ek, while Italian countertenor Franco Fagioli is Demetrio, the man she loves, but who loves her sister Selene, played by Italian mezzo Romina Basso; another Swedish soprano, Ingela Bohlin takes the travesty role of Alessandro, the man Berenice is expected to marry for political expediency, but whom she finally happily chooses as her consort. Berenice was composed at a turbulent time in Handel’s career, when he was undergoing both professional and personal crises. It turned out to be the last opera he wrote for John Rich’s new theatre in Covent Garden and was performed only four times before disappearing from view. The first staged production since the 18th century took place in 1985 in the UK, at the University of Keele; the opera was subsequently staged in Cambridge in 1993; in Germany, the Karlsruhe Handel Festival presented Berenice in 2001

Album info

Release Date: May 14, 2010
Label: Virgin Classics