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- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 13.31 x 13 x 1.91 cm; 280.09 Grams
- Manufacturer : Erato / Warner Classics
- Manufacturer reference : 0825646090075
- Label : Erato / Warner Classics
- ASIN : B014E89S4W
- Number of discs : 3
- Best Sellers Rank: #64,956 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
- Customer Reviews:
pHandel's sparkling opera Partenope reunites contertenor Philippe Jaroussky and soprano Karina Gauvin, who both made such and impact in the recording of Steffani's rediscovered Niobe - released by Erato in early 2015 and welcomed by Grammaphone as "a landmark event". Every moment of Partenope's comedy, romance and drama is captured by the dynamic conductor Riccardo Minasi and his ensemble Il Pomo d'Oro.ppJaroussky takes the role of Arsace, Prince of Corinth, while Karina Gauvin in Queen Partenope herself.p
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chanteurs pour les seconder,Minasi et son IlPomo d.Oro véhicule une énergie contagieuse nous faisant redécouvrir cet opéra.Recommandé
“Qual Farfalletta giro a quel lume e ’l mio Cupido la belle piume ardendo va.”
“Like the poor wanton in the night,
I flutter the fatal light,
and there my Cupid soon consumes
the painted beauty of his plumes.”
Note the extreme over-translation of the booklet. But the reality is there unavoidable. She is the one who causes all catastrophes and traumas.
Three or four men are available around her. Arsace, the king of Corinth; Armindo, the prince of Rhodes; Emilio, the prince of Cuma; and Eurimene, under Armenian habit. And this last one is the key to the opera because he is not what he seems to be. He is under disguise to be able to check on not his but her lover Arsace to whom not he but she, Rosmira, the princess of Cyprus, is betrothed for marriage. She discovers the game of the queen of Naples and she considers Arsace is not clean cut enough and does not refuse, reject the queen advances.
But the whole situation becomes tense when the prince of Cuma decides to come to Partenope’s court to conquer her with an army. He knows her reputation I guess and he thinks the only way is a good old bout of war. Strangely enough, Partenope loves the idea and she favors the aforesaid war. Out of superficial selfish satisfaction, she decides to ask Arsace to be her general in this war. What can he do? Nothing, even if Rosmira, under disguise but Arsace knows better from the very start, protests, just as much as Armindo. The queen had to choose one out of three and they were all equal for service. So she favors one and causes jealousy in Rosmira even under disguise. Rosmira then supports Armindo’s claim to counter the choice of Arsace. But the queen does not change her mind.
Comes the battle and the queen is saved by Armindo and Arsace with Eurimene capture Emilio, in fact, Arsace does and Eurimene will pretend “he/she” did to capture the grace and attention of the queen. Arsace cannot protest too much because he knows who this Eurimene is. So he is burning for love for Rosmira, under disguise, and he is obliged to accept being belittled by Eurimene because he knows better. And that is only the beginning.
The queen goes on with her game and does not pick Armindo as her favorite courtier, and she favors either Arsace or Eurimene, more or less equally, making Rosmira under disguise every minute more jealous and looking for vengeance.
As Eurimene, he/she protests against Arsace who tries to steal his/her victory (Emilio’s capture) and still as Eurimene, he/she decides to challenge Arsace in some kind of single combat because this time he/she accuses Arsace to have broken his vows to Rosmira who is clearly kept out of the picture though she is right in the middle of it.
Imagine the situation; Out of love for Rosmira, Arsace has to let Eurimene win and kill him because he cannot win against Rosmira and kill her. Love orders him to lose and thus die by his own lover’s hand. It is not simpler for Rosmira who is still in full love with Arsace though her desire for vengeance is seemingly stronger. But how can she win and kill her lover, or how can she lose and be killed by her lover? And we must keep in mind Arsace knows who Eurimene really is and Eurimene knows that Arsace knows who she really is. I have told you Marivaux with a little bit of tragedy sprinkled on top.
Arsace will save the tale by deciding that he will fight bare-chested. His opponent has to do the same, which is difficult for Eurimene. And that’s how the whole trick is revealed but this is purely lying to the queen who has to forgive Rosmira, to accept to let Arsace go to Rosmira and to take the one who so far was second choice, Armindo. She generously let the poor Emilio go back home and take care of his wounds, more mental and moral than physical. If anyone died in this story it only was a few soldiers. Among these princes the soldiers are secondary. The only one who stands out is the captain of the guard, Ormonte who stands all the more out because he is a bass singer.
There is one mistake in the cast of this opera. Since Rosmira is a woman under disguise as a man, it is most surprising that the second male who has an alto voice in the opera is not really a man but a female soprano. This is only the sound recording but even so, harmonics are audible and this Armindo is thus a woman under disguise. It is obvious only Rosmira should have been in that situation, the only man with female harmonics. It is not that difficult to find two countertenors nowadays. That disguise trick is common with Marivaux in the same century as Handel, but it is also common in the Elizabethan theater with Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and some others. It is in the tradition of Saint Bartholomew’s Fair to have men dressed as women and women dressed as men, which will become a scandal under the Puritans. But it is funny or tragic according to the plots only if it is a dramatically necessary disguise. I am sorry to say the voice of a woman will always be the voice of a woman. It is not only a question of pitch but a question of harmonics.
The opera though is quite great because of the extreme flexibility of Philippe Jaroussky in his distorted, tortured and twisted part where he loves Rosmira without any wavering; where he is submitted to the advances of the queen he cannot refuse though he knows they are badly interpreted; where Eurimene is nothing but his own lover Rosmira. This disguise is killing him literally since he has to accept to die under her sword and this disguise is killing Rosmira too since she has to accept to die under Arsace’s sword or to kill Arsace with her own swords.
That superficially light situation is given by Partenope at the very beginning: “L’amor ed il destin combatterà per me” as she sings (“In my defense to combat now, both love and fate shall meet.”) The love and fate are the same as Marivaux’s “Le jeu de l’amour et du hasard” (“the game of love and chance”) and fate is nothing but chance because it is a game and not a battle. But this queen is nothing but such a vain superficial self-centered egotistic mental pervert practicing hand jobs for pleasure.
But from the very start too, Arsace knows the stratagem of his lover: “O Eurimene ha l’idea di Rosmira o Rosmira si finge Eurimene. Più lo sguardo in quel volto s’aggira, più confusa quest’alma diviene.” (“Or Eurimene has Rosmira’s air, or she the name of Eurimene feigns. The longer I survey each feature there, the more are my perplexities and pains.”) That’s just why Armindo should have been a man and a countertenor because Arsace and Armindo are the only two legitimate young lovers. Emilio is a military bully and can be a banal heroic tenor, one century before the invention of the voice for the Italians and Wagner.
Jaroussky has all the flexibility he needs to depict all the various shades of love, grey, pink or blue, in his fate, nearly his fatal situation. Rosmira is slightly funnier with her mezzo-soprano voice she uses to feign being a man and to remember from time to time she is a woman, but her mood is practically always the same: vengeance overall and vengeance all the time. Her discomfiture at the end when she is challenged to bare her chest which is, in fact, a pair of breasts is in a way the proper humiliation of this extremely selfish, self-centered egotistic woman. Rosmira cannot live long within Partenope’s love frolicking because she wants to control all the butterflies and put them in a cage with one light in the middle so they burn their wings one after the other. Jaroussky is a born singer of all love pains in the most romantic and dramatic way, as well as the most inebriating joys of the same love in the most erotic and surrealistic tradition that Handel could not know yet but Jaroussky does.
Brilliant opera, indeed, though Armindo is reduced to what he should not be reduced to, a prop under disguise till the very last minute.
In the alternative ending Arsace is giving the moral of the opera, instead of Partenope in the official ending, and here he goes (directly in English)
Followers of Cupid,
You who are ever changing,
You will never find a love
More faithful than the first.
It seems that your first object
No longer melts your heart;
But, unfaithful lovers, admit
You still feel it.”
This alternative end is like a confession but also a redemptive submission to this Cupid who is responsible for all our whimsical at times lubricious desires. He is the real bad boy in the story, though it is the grown-up Venus who tries to rape the young virginal teenager Adonis and that attempt being refused she has the last word by getting his life impaled on the tusks of a boar.
How much more civilized we are here, mellow and sweet, yet capricious and brought to submission in the end.
Dr. Jacques COULARDEAU
Top reviews from other countries
Along with Rodelinde, this is the second Handel opera I have seen at the ENO both of which were great fun believe it or not. This recording is even better, and I cannot recommend it enough. I believe Gramophone Magazine raved about and I can hear why. Fantastic!!!
A mio parere, tra le tantissime registrazioni dei titoli operistici di Handel apparse negli ultimi anni, quelle davvero riuscite si contano sulle dite di due mani (e probabilmente non arrivano a dieci): hanno ottenuto buoni, spesso ottimi risultati specialmente William Christie e René Jacobs. Da qualche anno sono apparsi sulla scena Il pomo d'oro e il loro direttore Riccardo Minasi (chissà se un giorno qualcuno si deciderà a incidere l'interminabile opera di Cesti dalla quale presumo questo complesso abbia preso il nome), ed hanno subito sparigliato, per così dire. Tutte le loro incisioni operistiche hanno ottenuto dei premi (lo splendido "Tamerlano", o il "Catone in Utica" di Vinci) e non c'è dubbio che li abbiano meritati: a riprova di quanto affermo, consiglio di ascoltare come affrontano l'ouverture o le bellissime "sinfonie" che punteggiano l'opera che qui recensisco. Si tratta dell'ennesima prova che l'approccio all'italiana alla musica di Handel (già tentato con successo, per esempio, da Giovanni Antonini) è legittimo e garantisce grandi soddisfazioni.
Questa "Partenope" si può dire sia il coronamento della recente attività de Il pomo d'oro: il risultato è a mio avviso di assoluta eccellenza, anche grazie a un cast che difficilmente potrebbe essere migliore di questo. Primeggiano ovviamente Philippe Jaroussky (la sua resa della arie, con il supporto di un magnifico accompagnamento orchestrale. è perfetta) e Karina Gauvin; ma una graditissima sorpresa è il basso Luca Tittoto, dotato di un bel timbro ricco di armonici: dubito che Johann Gottfried Reimschneider, primo interprete di Ormonte, potesse aspirare a un successore migliore di questo.
In conclusione, considero questa "Partenope" una delle più belle incisioni handeliane recenti (che mette finalmente in pensione i venerandi dischi di Kuijken, che aveva inciso l'opera alla metà degli anni '70: rendiamo grazie al musicista belga per la pionieristica opera di riscoperta, ma è ora che vadano in soffitta).
Il faut dire que, pour une fois, les maîtres de musique disposaient d'un texte et d'une intrigue moins niaise que les productions de l'époque. Combinant poésie et les inévitables rebondissements et changements d'humeur, Stampiglia produisit un support très ramassé dans le temps et totalement focalisé sur l'importance du sentiment amoureux, la fidélité, la trahison, la bravoure et, surtout, un jeu de séduction incessant et produisant des ravages dans les coeurs et les esprits.
Tout ceci a permis à Handel de réaliser une partition enchanteresse, toute en finesse, très subtile et, souvent, d'une poésie et d'une légèreté qui confinent au sublime. On remarquera en particulier les divers aria accompagné du violon solo tout en dentelles, totale innovation dont je ne suis pas certain qu'elle ait été ensuite reprise par lui (en tous cas, pas dans l'ensemble des opéras que je connais de lui pour sûr).
L'autre innovation consiste en des récitatifs généralement très courts (à l'exception de la scène finale où tout se dénoue au bout de dialogues qui vont provoquer incompréhension, stupeur puis soulagement de la vérité révélée) débouchant rapidement sur de longs aria et quelques très belles parties à voix multiples.
L'interprétation donnée ici repose sur la version originale de 1730 toutefois complétée d'une sinfonia et de trois airs pour Armindo ayant visé à mettre en valeur la star de la production révisée de 1737. On trouvera aussi en toute fin du troisième CD la version alternative de la longue scène finale tirée de cette même version révisée de 1737 et se concluant sur un air d'Arsace avant le choeur final.
Erato a réuni pour le présent enregistrement un ensemble d'interprètes de toute beauté. Karina Gauvin a gagné encore en présence apportant une rondeur à son timbre qui font d'elle une Partenope idéale. Elle délivre l'un des rares contre-ut que Handel ait jamais semés dans ses partitions avec une facilité sidérante. Philippe Jaroussky, après un ou deux airs qui manquent un peu d'implication dramatique bien qu'irréprochables au plan technique, finit par endosser son rôle de façon fort convaincante et touchante avec des airs tristes à vous donner la chair de poule. Le reste de la distribution lyrique est elle aussi irréprochable et révèle, en particulier, une mezzo-soprano, Teresa Iervolino, au timbre chaud et fort convaincante.
Riccardo Minasi conduit la petite formation baroque Il Pomo D'Oro avec l'énergie nécessaire et un sens des piano remarquable lorsque la partition exige douceur et couleurs. C'est techniquement impeccable et musicalement grandiose.
Tout cela est superbement enchâssé dans une prise de son top niveau finissant de faire de cette version LA référence d'un catalogue qui ne comptait jusqu'ici que deux autres versions (principalement Kujiken en 79 puis Curnyn 2005).