Handel: Hercules [2DVD Video]

  • Код: BAC013
  • Производитель: Bel Air Classiques (FR)
  • Код производителя: 3760115300132
  • Цена: 163.99 zł
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Opera Barokowa
premiera polska:
kontynent: Europa
opakowanie: plastikowe etui

Picture Format: NTSC 16:9
Sound Format: Dolby Digital 5.1 PCM Stereo
Region Code: All
Duration: 190 minutes

Luc Bondy’s Aix-en-Provence production, here captured at a later Paris performance, confirms that Hercules is superb theatre. The grafitti-style opening titles are the epitome of urban chic, although it is strange that the DVD producer thinks we do not want to see William Christie and Les Arts Florissants. I imagine that Handel could have employed a few choice words to describe Bondy’s pretentious, sub-Freudian remarks in the booklet-note, even though the eating of this pudding is not so bad as the published recipe suggests.

Many of Bondy’s ideas about detail and stagecraft are impressive and convincing. However, the central conflict in this staging is fundamentally misinterpreted. Bondy is determined to portray ambiguities and elements from classical myths where they do not exist in Thomas Broughton’s libretto. In Sophocles, Hercules is a serial adulterer; but in Handel’s drama it is transparent that he and Iole are innocent. The entire point of Handel’s plot is that Hercules’s wife Dejanira makes false conclusions about her husband’s fidelity and that her unjustifiable jealousy has tragically fatal consequences.

Instead, Bondy portrays Dejanira as an innocent victim, Iole as a scheming greedy hypocrite, and Hercules as a thoroughly unpleasant cad. All three characterisations grind against Handel’s music. But if you accept that this is a distorted invention based on Handel’s drama, it becomes an accomplished and powerful experience.

Joyce DiDonato’s finest moment as the nervously twitching Dejanira is a penetrating, tearful performance of ‘Cease, ruler of the day to rise’ (taken at an extremely slow tempo). Swedish soprano Ingela Bohlin has striking looks and a lovely clear voice: Iole’s ‘My father!’ and ‘My breast with tender pity swells’ are highlights. Toby Spence’s articulate singing makes him a potent Hyllus, but Malena Ernman’s narrow vowels do not soften Lichas’s appearance as one of the toughest inmates in Prisoner Cell Block H.

The pursuit of vivid dramatic expression is laudable, occasionally the musical means are not. Hercules’s ferocious accompanied recitative as he dies could be sung with Handel’s rhythm and notation and still be as theatrically compelling as William Shimell’s fiery yet approximate performance. The chorus of Les Arts Florissants sing with clarity, precision and a good sense of the libretto’s meaning, although there are a few quirks, such as an ugly jerking emphasis on ‘the world’s avenger is no more’ in the lamenting conclusion to ‘Tyrants now no more shall dread’. Dejanira’s ‘Where shall I fly?’ has more potential to it than just the hasty madness Christie and DiDonato bring to it: a little more space would allow it to make a deeper impact, and there is scope in Dejanira’s anguish for vocal beauty in order to increase pathos. Rather than an outright mad scene, the most distinguished performances convey that this scene is also a terrifying moment of lucidity.

Christie is so good at capturing the colours in Handel’s music that it is a shame he invents his own from time to time. However, he gives compelling evidence as to why the Earl of Shaftesbury reported that Handel’s orchestra was ‘charmed with Hercules’.
Author: by David Vickers

Joyce DiDonato (Dejanira), William Shimell (Hercules), Toby Spence (Hyllus), Ingela Bohlin (Iole), Malena Ernman (Lichas), Simon Kirkbride (Priest of Jupiter)
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie

wydano: 2006-02-06
more info: www.naxos.com

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