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Agrippina (1985)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama | Music
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Her position at the side of her husband, Emperor Claudius, is not enough to satisfy the ambition of Agrippina, Empress of Rome. She schemes to elevate her son by her first marriage, Nero, ... See full summary »

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Günter von Kannen ...
Claudio
Barbara Daniels ...
David Kuebler ...
Janice Hall ...
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Her position at the side of her husband, Emperor Claudius, is not enough to satisfy the ambition of Agrippina, Empress of Rome. She schemes to elevate her son by her first marriage, Nero, to the throne. Then she will need only Nero to accomplish and acquire everything she dreams of. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

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Great performances in a lovely production
16 June 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Thus far, my two favourite Handel productions have come from Glyndebourne, 2006's Guilio Cesare and 1998's Rodelinda. This 1985 Agrippina is one of the better Handel productions. It is not entirely authentic with the three male sopranos and altos parts being replaced by two tenors and a baritone, which may infuriate those who believe that Handel's vocal writing oughtn't be messed with. However, it is a traditional and gorgeous looking production and is well preserved on video. The plot of the opera is ridiculous strictly speaking but the music is typically gorgeous, and performed wonderfully by the orchestra and Arnold Ostmann, who takes sprightly tempos without rushing. The performances, helped by staging that is a good balance of fun and serious, are just as impressive, with the only weak link being the Ottone of Claudio Nicolai, whose singing I found wobbly too often. However, Janice Hall is an outstanding Poppea, making the most of Handel's florid writing and singing gorgeously. Barbara Daniels has the largest role and is incredibly powerful in both voice and acting. Gunther Von Kannen is in booming voice as Claudio and makes for an amusing buffoon. David Kuebler is somewhat heroic yet suitably self-centered as Nerone, and Carlos Feller is his usual reliable self in the role of Lesbo. Overall, not the most authentic production on the block, but very well sung and it looks lovely. 9/10 Bethany Cox


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