Magazine article Opera Canada

Rodelinda, Regina De' Longobardi

Magazine article Opera Canada

Rodelinda, Regina De' Longobardi

Article excerpt

DANEMAN, TAYLOR, ROBBIN, THOMPSON, Purves, Blaze, Raglan Baroque Players, Nicholas Kraemer, director. Virgin/Veritas 5 45277 2 (3 CDs).

RODELINDA, WRITTEN FOR THE ROYAL ACADEMY of Music, premiered in 1725 at the King's Theatre in London and ran for 14 performances. The libretto, inspired by actual historical events, takes place in Milan in the 7th century.

Although this Veritas release was recorded immediately following a 1996 semi-staged, public performance in London, the results are curiously static. While each aria appears to have been carefully considered, caressed and then lovingly molded into an individual work of art, the drama as a whole has seemingly been ignored. What emerges is a reverential, somewhat bloodless recording that is clearly more about style and voice than it is about theatre.

Soprano Sophie Daneman has a lovely instrument and is clearly an expressive singer, but she makes little of the dramatic demands of the role. She is clearly at her best in expressions of tenderness or reflection, such as in the poignant Act II aria, "Ritorna, o caro," but one is left with a fairly two-dimensional realization.

Bertarido, a role that was created by the great Italian castrato, Senesino, is sung here by the immensely gifted Canadian countertenor Daniel Taylor. The main appeal of Taylor's voice is its beauty and sensuality of sound, qualities that he freely exploits on this recording. Listen to his grief-stricken outpourings in the moving aria "Dove sei, amato bene," the pastoral murmurings of "Con rauco mormorio" or the heartfelt emotion of the duet "Io t'abbraccio. …

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