Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Porpora 'Duel-Porpora and Handel in London'

Magazine article Gramophone

Handel: Porpora 'Duel-Porpora and Handel in London'

Article excerpt

Handel * Porpora 'Duel--Porpora and Handel in London' Handel Alcina--Sta nell'ircana pietrosa tana. Ariodante--Scherza infida; Suite de ballet. Catone in Utica--Quando piomba improvvisa saetta. Tolomeo--Inumano fratel, barbara madre; Stille amare, gia vi sento Porpora Arianna in Naxo--Nume che reggi 'I mare. Calcante e Achille--A questa man verra. David e Bersabea--Dolce e su queste alte mie logge a sera; Fu del braccio omnipotente. Mitridate Alza al soglio i guardi. Polifemo--Overture; II gioir qualor s'aspetta Giuseppina Bridelli mez Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu / Franck-Emmanuel Comte Arcana (F) A461 (66' * DDD) Includes texts and translations

The existence of two competing Italian opera companies in London during the mid-1730s is a story that is sometimes told with more fantasy than sense. With input (and an erudite booklet note) from musicologist Stefano Aresi, Giuseppina Bridelli presents the concept of a duel rounded off by witty artwork showing her fencing with her sister. Numerically, Porpora appears to win the duel (seven selections), but Handel more than holds his own with Ruggiero's 'Sta nell'ircana pietrosa tana' (the horns and oboes are too receded, although the bustling strings and polished heroic singing are marvellous), and Ariodante's heartbroken 'Scherza infida' is played and conducted as beautifully as any other performance I can remember; Bridelli eloquently sings anonymous 18th-century embellishments preserved in the Royal Academy of Music library. …

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