Kulturkompasset | critics of culture events

Swinging Alessandro by Händel i Bucharest.


Händels opera Alessandro. from left Julia Lezhneva, Max-Emanuel Cencic, Laura Aikin. To the right conductor George Petrou. Foto: Henning Høholt

BUCHAREST:  The famouse conducter George Petrou led a concertant performance of Händels brilliant opera Alessandro med a very good cast, in fact one of the best Händel cast I have heard for along time, – and, specially in Paris and in France we are used to listen to the beste ensembles and soloists in the world. – This is my strongest reference to George Friedrich Händel. This production at Atheneum in Bucharest during the Enescu Festival 2013  was outstanding.

Text and photos by Henning Høholt

Max-Emanuel Cencic, left, and George Petrou, conductor. Foto: Henning Høholt

The cast was brilliant, headed by one of the leading counter tenors in the world Max-Emanuel Cencic, first class in the titelrole – Alessandro, expressiv, beautiful voice, wonderful coloratura, a center in the performance. His two wimens was of the same very high quality: The beautiful coloratura soprano Julia Lezhneva as Rossane, and the excellent and dynamic soprano Laura Aikin as Lisaura. Furthermore we enjoyed very much Xavier Sabata, countertenor,  as Tassile, together with them we enjoyed  Juan Sancho, tenor, as Leonato, and Vasily Khoroshev, counter tenor, as Cleone. Pavel Kudinov, bass, as ClitoA  very good casting.

From left: Laura Aikin and Max-Emanuel Cencic. Foto: Henning Høholt

Alessandro (Alexander the Great, HWV 21) is an opera written for the Royal Academy of Music (1719) composed by Georg Friederic Händel in 1726. Paolo Rolli was the librettist and based the story on Ortensio Mauro´s La superbia d’Alessandro.

The story is based around Alexander the Great´s journey to India, where he meets Poro, the king of India, who was the subject of another Händel opera of that name.

Synopsis: Alessandro comes to believe that he is the son of the god Jupiter. His delusion is such that he demands to be worshipped as a god. His Macedonian captains conspire to cure him of this belief, but their efforts are weak. During the course of the work, Rossane and Lisaura are rivals for the affection of Alessandro.

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Ensemble Armonia Atenea was founded in 1991, did a great job, good musicality, many outstanding musicians, good energy, which is needed to get Händel to swing. A great evening.

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George Friederich Händel

Regarding Armonia Atenea:

The Friends of Music Orchestra

Armonia Atenea is the new international name of the Athens Camerata. The orchestra was founded in 1991 by the Friends of Music Society of Athens with the inauguration of the Megaron, the Athens Concert Hall. Since then it has been its resident orchestra actively supported by it. From 2011 the orchestra has spread its main activities between the Megaron and the newly built Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens.
Armonia Atenea presents a multifaceted identity, equally at home on period and modern instruments. It encompasses a wide concert repertoire from early baroque to 21st century, as well as opera and ballet productions.
The Echo Klassik winning conductor George Petrou holds the post of artistic director. Former artistic directors have included sir Neville Marriner, Christopher Warren-Green and Alexander Myrat.

The orchestra maintains a busy concert schedule in Athens and also appears in many of the world’s most prestigious venues and festivals such as the Musikverein (Vienna), the Theatre des Champs – Elysees (Paris), the Innsbruck Summer festival of Early Music and the Versailles Festival. Future highlights include appearances at the Opera Royal Versailles, the Salle Pleyel, the Theatre an der Wien, the Goethe-Theater in Bad Lauchstädt, the Concertgebouw and the Bucharest Enescu Festival.

The orchestra has a long list of cd releases for companies such as DECCA, MDG, BMG, EMI Classics and ECM Records, always receiving the highest praise from the international press («Diapason 5», BBC music-«Recording of the month» and Opéra-«Découverte»).

The latest recording of Armonia Atenea, Handel’ s opera Alessandro, with a star cast including Max-Emanuel Cencic, Karina Gauvin, Julia Lezhneva and Xavier Sabata has been recently released by DECCA (sponsored by The Friends of Music Society of Athens). It will be followed by a European tour. Further recent releases include the world premiere recordings of Handel’s Alessandro Severo and Gluck’s Il Trionfo di Clelia (MDG).

The orchestra has collaborated with famous conductors such as Fabio Biondi, Thomas Hengelbrock, Philippe Entremont, Christopher Hogwood, Helmut Rilling, Heinrich Schiff, Stephen Kovacevich, Mstislav Rostropovich, Yehudi Menuhin and soloists such as Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Joshua Bell, Leonidas Kavakos, Radu Lupu and Mischa Maisky.

 

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