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Handel: Theodora on DVD

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Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post

1996 - William Christie - Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - Glyndebourne Chorus

Stellar cast of exquisite singers - Upshaw, Hunt, Daniels, Croft as principals, and minor roles also very good.

I'm a little puzzled - if I understood correctly, some of our members object to this production (probably mainly due to the updated staging).

I find it absolutely spectacular. First of all, this an oratorio, not an opera. So, the staging shouldn't be considered subversive in any way, because it is there just adding visual elements, and they are strikingly beautiful. It's not like Sellars was tampering with Handel's stage instructions. I don't know if you all consider this to be a valid point, but for me it is. I think in a way that it is more acceptable to add some striking imagery to an oratorio than to frontally contradict the author's staging instructions for an opera. In this case there are no staging instructions, so, I feel that letting the imagination soar up to the sky is less upsetting; at least, to me. I'm fully aware of the internal contradiction in what I'm saying, since Handel never intended this to be staged in the first place, so some will say that it is even worse tampering... but strangely enough, the above is the way I feel.

Second, I've rarely seen such a spectacular MUSICAL performance on DVD. You all know that I prefer opera (well, generally speaking, because it's an oratorio here, but done in a very operatic way) with the visual/theatrical aspects, but I'm fully aware that my choice prevents me from spending as much money on the top recordings with the best singing artists (I spend enough on DVD's and blu-rays, I can't afford both my collection of opera on visual media - by now, somewhat extensive - AND an equally extensive collection of CD box-sets).

So, when I see a DVD that has exquisite singing, it's the best of two worlds, and I surely won't fault this production for what some will say it's objectionable staging.

You get a formidable conductor, a spectacular historically informed period orchestra, top singers in all roles and what you get is lots, lots, lots of pleasure.

I feel that I don't even need to write up a detailed review of this product. It would just be a boring gushing endless string of praise. I'll just say, A+, highly recommended!!!