The Metropolitan Opera HD Live: Season 6, Episode 5

Handel: Rodelinda (3 Dec. 2011)

TV Episode  |  Music
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 11 users  
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Bertarido escaped to Hungary after Grimoaldo's armies had attacked, even though he had once been an ally of Bertarido. Now he has returned in disguise to rescue his wife and son, whom he left behind. But Rodelinda believes him to be dead.


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Title: Handel: Rodelinda (03 Dec 2011)

Handel: Rodelinda (03 Dec 2011) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Episode credited cast:
Andreas Scholl ...
Joseph Kaiser ...
Stephanie Blythe ...
Iestyn Davies ...
Shenyang ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Harry Bicket ...
Himself - Conductor
Metropolitan Opera Chorus ...
Deborah Voigt ...
Herself - Host


Bertarido escaped to Hungary after Grimoaldo's armies had attacked, even though he had once been an ally of Bertarido. Now he has returned in disguise to rescue his wife and son, whom he left behind. But Rodelinda believes him to be dead.

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3 December 2011 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Has some impressive moments, but never entirely convincing
25 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw this Met production of Rodelinda as I love opera, love Handel, admire Renee Fleming and have liked a vast majority(if not quite all) of the Met HD broadcasts. Rodelinda is a fascinating opera, the plot is complicated but very moving and conflicting and the music is some of Handel's most beautiful. This Met production is certainly not bad, I could actually tell that a lot of effort went into it, but I was never entirely convinced. The High Definition is splendid I give you that, complete with clean camera work and picture quality and good sound.

And the production certainly looks great. Updated to Milan in the 18th century, the costumes are sumptuous and the settings likewise. The production's look wasn't the problem, the authenticity was. As great as it looked, I didn't get the sense I was watching a Handel opera, it was also too elaborate for the very intimate drama. I would also say the same with the musical direction. Handel's score is treated with briskness, respect and played absolutely beautifully and skillfully even on period instruments, plus the conducting is efficient.

But...I am not sure whether it was the venue or the orchestra size, but it didn't feel like an opera written by Handel as though it was being performed during his time, mostly it was like the orchestra playing brilliantly but in a modern setting and often seemed swamped in a venue as large as the Met is. The staging does have some realism with a few compelling moments, however there were too many times where it was lacking in rhythm and not as simple as it should have been, therefore the drama was not as engaging or as moving as I knew it could've been.

The singing is good, often very good, but the acting wasn't as impressive, not always looking very natural. The best in support were Iestyn Davies, whose countertenor fills the house better than Scholl's did, and Shenyang, who was a good fit for his role. Andrea Scholl has a beautiful voice, but for an opera house so large it sounds underpowered. His character Bertarido is a very interesting character, the opera's most interesting character perhaps, but Scholl was too bland for me, not steely enough.

Joseph Kaiser sings beautifully, and I know from his performance in Capriccio that he has the vocal size to sing at the Met. I wasn't however convinced by his acting either though, never quite bringing out Grimoaldo's conflict. Stephanie Blythe is not as good dramatically as she was in Orfeo Ed Euridice and Das Rheingold, her character's predicament didn't really move me in the way it should. But the voice is fantastic, intelligently worded and many interesting vocal colours.

Renee Fleming I admire, and while the stage direction doesn't always allow her to bring the drama naturally to life, I do think she is terrific in the role. She has the creamy, sincere voice, the musicality, the style, the nuances and the warmth and intelligence in her acting to make her performance as Rodelinda memorable. Overall, didn't really convince me, but partially recommended for how good it looks, for Fleming and while not always authentic and uneven dramatically Handel's opera is treated with intelligence and respect. 6/10 Bethany Cox

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