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Handel: Rinaldo

Rinaldo: Sonia Prina, Goffredo: Varduhi Abrahamyan, Eustazio: Tim Mead, Almirena: Anett Fritsch, Armida: Brenda Rae, Argante: Luca Pisaroni., Mago: William Towers

Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment/Ottavio Dantone.
Director: Robert Carsen
Designer: Gideon Davey
Dramaturg: Ian Burton.

Glyndebourne Festival, Lewes, Sussex.

Opus Arte bluray DVD: OA BD7107 D




This updated Rinaldo comes from the worlds of schooldays and Harry Potter, and alienates Handel's music.

Robert Carsen's production had "mixed reviews" at Glyndebourne, and too in a reduced form at the Proms (without scenery).

This transposition of the absurd story is based on Tasso’s epic Gerusalemme liberata, about the First Crusade, a popular source for operas in the baroque era. As done here it seriously undermines appreciation of the music, which is generally well sung and, with Ottavio Danone in charge of the Orchestra of the Enlightenment, has strong musical values. I am relieved that we were not invited to go to Sussex to review it!

The blu-ray presentation is a bit skimpy; there are subtitles and Chapters on screen, but no timings or listings in the slender booklet, to help reviewing and returning to favourite bits, such as Cara Sposa.

I may try to give it another go but, all in all, I got more out of a recent, more modest, modern dress college staging in Blackheath by the Trinity Laban Opera Ensemble.

Peter Grahame Woolf

photo L: Prina & Fritsch as schoolboy/girl lovers