Adriano in Siria: Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1734)

Pergolesi: Adriano

★★★★

(Opera Settecento at Cadogan Hall, 16 September 2015)

It’s no exaggeration to say that I’d been looking forward to this Adriano in Siria since the curtain fell on the last one. It’s the first full opera I’ve heard by the precociously gifted Pergolesi, who died at the age of only 26, and who is best known here in England for his haunting Stabat Mater. However, I suspect I’ll get to know Adriano itself pretty well by the end of the year. The production company Parnassus will soon* be releasing their own new recording of the opera, featuring a rather formidable cast, and Opera Settecento’s concert performance was perfectly timed to whet appetites and throw down the gauntlet.

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Giove in Argo: George Frideric Handel (1739)

Giove in Argo

★★★½

(Britten Theatre, Royal College of Music, 26 March 2015)

The final event of this year’s London Handel Festival for me was this staged version of the pasticcio opera Giove in Argo. Although Catone in Utica was also a pasticcio, the two differ because Giove is made up of arias and choruses from Handel’s own earlier operas rather than those of other composers. (However, as I’m still very much a Handel beginner, most of them felt new anyway!) It dates from 1739, the year after Xerxes, and represents one of Handel’s very last forays into Italian-language productions in London.

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