I've always been fond of Handel, and his opera output I have been more familiar with over time. Alcina is not one of my favourites, but Handel is one of those composers that any work of his is worth listening to and Alcina is no exception to that. This production is very good. It is very opulent and regal-looking, with stage direction that is intelligent, poignant and even sexy in places. The orchestral playing is both authentic and stylish with a clear understanding of Handel's style, and while a tad too fast at times William Christie shows that he is experienced in early music and also loves it. The performances are top drawer, with top plaudits going to the tour-De-force Alcina of the late Arleen Auger, her singing beautiful and agile and her interpretation insightful and full of depth. Della Jones may have a vibrato that may sound overdone to some, but her basic tone maintains its warmth, her style is excellent and overall her Ruggiero is very charming. Kathleen Kuhlmann is a splendid Bradamante, after Auger the second best of the cast in my opinion, truly thrilling singing and a very truthful interpretation. Donna Brown is a more than credible Morgana, while Jorge Lopez-Yanez, apart from some stolid acting, sings with elegance as Oronte and Martina Mussachio's Oberto enchants. In conclusion, very good. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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