- HWV 7a -

- HWV A11 -

- HWV 40 -

Rinaldo: Gabriela Künzler
Armida: Heidrun Kordes
Almirena: Deborah Lynn Cole
Argante: Martin Bruns
Goffredo: Florian Mayr
Eustazio: Nicholas Hariades


Oreste: Gabriela Künzler
Ermione: Heidrun Kordes
Ifigenia: Deborah Lynn Cole
Pilade: Jochen Elberth
Filotete: Florian Mayr
Peter Cornelius Chor


Serse: Gabriela Künzler
Arsamene: Florian Mayr
Romilda: Heidrun Kordes
Atalanta: Helen Centner
Ariodate: Jyrki Korhonen
Amastre: Nadja Michael
Elviro: Martin Bruns
Peter Cornelius Chor


Staatskapelle Wiesbaden (on modern instruments)
Director: Michael Hofstetter


1 CD
Händel Classic Audio
[no reference]

Released in ?1996
Recorded in 1996

1 CD
Händel Classic Audio

Released in ?1994
Recorded in 1994

2 CDs
Händel Classic Audio
[no reference]

Released in ?1995
Recorded in ?1995


The Wiesbaden opera house has released several CDs of excerpts from some of their Handel productions. Those semi-commercial releases are for sale directly from the Gesellschaft der Freunde des Staatstheaters Wiesbaden, and include Rinaldo and Oreste (each on one CD) and an abridged Serse on two CDs. These are interesting examples of the work which can be done by an opera company, with some advantages and some drawbacks. All the performers are genuinely involved, and this gives a convincing feeling of listening to people who are used to working together, and who follow the same path. The results are solid and engaging performances. On the other hand, as most of the singers feature on different recordings, their voices and personalities fit the part they sing with varying success. 

The most satisfying of the three recordings is undoubtedly Rinaldo, in which the cast is particularly well balanced. Mezzo-soprano Gabriela Künzler offers a good performance as Rinaldo, although her 'Cara sposa' is slightly engorged. Heidrun Kordes’s entry as Armida is as impressive as it needs to be, and Deborah Lynn Cole is a nice Almirena. Martin Bruns' ‘Sibillar gli angui d’Aletto’ and ‘Vieni, o cara’ are good without ridiculing Argante, Nicholas Hariades is a good Eustazio, and Florian Mayr is excellent as Goffredo. The orchestra is lively, dramatic, and expressive in all three recordings. In Oreste the cast sounds slightly less at ease, although they are still praiseworthy. Serse is very demanding for the cast, notably because there are quite a lot of parts to be cast. Künzler doesn’t sound at her best, although she improves during the recording. Despite his evident skill, the role of Arsamene is too high and tense for Florian Mayr (as it is for most of countertenors). As Atalanta, Helen Centner provides some tense utterances. Although Nadja Michael’s Amastre is full of energy, her singing is slightly engorged and marred by average diction.




© Philippe Gelinaud - November 2004

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