Ormisda: George Frideric Handel and Friends (1730)

Ormisda - Maria Ostroukhova

★★★★

(Opera Settecento at St George’s, Hanover Square, 28 March 2017)

I’m running slightly behind on London Handel Festival reports, but didn’t want to forget this remarkable Orsmida, dominated by an absolutely brilliant performance from the talented mezzo Maria Ostroukhova. Like Catone and Elpidia in previous Festivals, Ormisda is a pasticcio, pulled together by Handel using arias from other composers’ operas. Not only did this enable him to fill one of the slots in the 1730 opera season, easing his workload a little, but it also introduced London audiences to some top arias from the Continent. Ormisda pulls together some very enjoyable music by Hasse, Orlandini, Vinci, Leo and Giacomelli, to tell a classic opera seria tale of dynastic politics in ancient Persia.

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Il Vologeso: Niccolò Jommelli (1766)

Vologases IV of Parthia

★★★

(Classical Opera, at Cadogan Hall, 28 April 2016)

Another rummage in the drafts folder has unearthed several music posts which are now well out of date, but I would still like to publish them for my own records. Please indulge me! Let’s start with an opera, which I saw in a concert version at the end of April. This was part of Classical Opera’s Mozart 250 project, which was inaugurated by last year’s Adriano in Siria by J.C. Bach.

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Antigono: Christoph Willibald Gluck (1756)

Metastasio: Antigono

★★★

(Ensemble Serse, Grosvenor Chapel, London, 25 April 2015)

I know what you’re thinking. Serse again?! But no: fear not. No Xerxes today: instead I’m rather belatedly posting about Ensemble Serse, a London-based company of young musicians and singers who specialise in ambitious resurrections of Baroque opera. Their mission statement is to offer a musical experience that’s as close as possible to what an 18th-century audience might have heard. That means no cuts, all possible cadenzas and a take-no-prisoners attitude to singing.

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