Handel’s sparkling opera Partenope on Erato reunites a star cast under the direction of Riccardo Minasi.
Partenope (London, 1730) tells the story of the legendary founding Queen of Naples, who is courted by three suitors (Emilio, Arsace and Amindo). The work is imbued with high seduction and grand theatricality and the inventive musical richness of the Caro Sassone scales the peaks of delicacy. The bloody battles for hearts and on the battlefield alike and a score teeming with energy and wicked charm contains some of the pure vocal gems of which Handel is the undisputed master.
Philippe Jaroussky takes the role of Arsace, Prince of Corinth, while Karina Gauvin is the eponymous queen. She has superb credentials as a Handelian and has recorded Ariodante (with Joyce DiDonato and the late Alan Curtis) and Giove in Argo (with Ann Hallenberg and Curtis) for Erato. The rich-voiced Italian mezzo-soprano Teresa Iervolino takes the role of Rosmira – Arsace’s former lover, who is disguised as a man, Prince Eurimene – while the Hungarian soprano Emőke Baráth takes the role of a real man, Prince Armindo, who is in love with Partenope. “Supremely stylish” were the words used by The Telegraph to describe John Mark Ainsley when he sang Emilio (yet another prince seeking Partenope’s hand) at English National Opera, and the distinguished Italian bass Luca Tittoto brings authority to the role of Partenope’s advisor Ormonte.
The album was recorded on February 2015 in Lonigo, Veneto, Italy.