Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Classical Rein on the Greatest-Ever Love Story; OPERA

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

A Classical Rein on the Greatest-Ever Love Story; OPERA

Article excerpt

Byline: BARRY MILLINGTON

Paride ed Elena Barbican

GLUCK'S Paride ed Elena is a reworking of one of the most famous love stories ever told: that of Paris and Helen. You might think that the face that launched a thousand ships - those of Helen's compatriots, determined to get her back - would also have precipitated one of the composer's most popular operas.

But for some reason, Paride ed Elena has never found widespread favour.

In the 19th century it was completely forgotten and even in modern times it has rarely surfaced. All the more welcome, then, was this well-prepared, strongly cast concert performance with the Gabrieli Consort and Players under Paul McCreesh, who is also to record it for DG.

One possible reason for the work's neglect is that the role of Paris was written for a soprano castrato, obliging the part to be taken today - since it is too high for most countertenors - by a soprano (or mezzo-soprano).

All four lead roles are thus sopranos (to avoid which Paris is sometimes taken by a tenor down an octave). …

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