Handel - Ariodante (Alan Curtis, Ann Hallenberg) 
NTSC 16:9 (720x480) VBR Auto Pan&Scan | Italiano (LinearPCM, 2 ch) Italiano (Dolby AC3, 6 ch) | 7.72 Gb + 4.08 Gb (DVD9+DVD5) Classical | Dynamic | Sub: Italiano, English, Francais, Deutsch, Espanol | 157 min | +3% Recovery
On 8 January 1735 at Covent Garden, Handel presented his new opera Ariodante, labeled a Dramma per musica in three acts. It was based on a libretto adapted anonymously from Ginevra, principessa di Scozia (1708) by Antonio Salvi which was based on Orlando furioso (1532 Canti 4-6) by Ludovico Arioso. Handel had been a shrewd and successful businessman ever since arriving in London in 1710, staging Italian operas to rousing approval from London audiences. But by 1735, Handel was undergoing a period of financial difficulty and professional uncertainty. His problems began with the phenomenal success of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, which opened in 1728 and ran for 62 successive performances, the longest run in the English theatre up to that time. A play with ballads and popular songs that satirized the passionate interest of the upper classes in Italian opera, it called into question the relevance of opera sung in Italian to a rising middle class that demanded less exotic and effete fare. This was followed by the arrival of Niccolo Porpora from Naples, who quickly entered into favor with the king and much of the English nobility, and became Handel's fierce rival, soon reigning supreme in London's theatres. Porpora had several hugely successful seasons at the Haymarket Theatre, and began to entice the finest performers away from Handel, with promises of larger fees and greater adulation. Handel now faced the prospect of bankruptcy (still an imprisonable offense) and was compelled to devise several schemes by which he might stave off failure and confront Porpora's phalanx of acolytes and sycophants directly. This forced him into his period of greatest creativity, which included renouncing Italian opera and inventing the English oratorio, for which he is most revered. By Michael Birman
Performer: Ariodante – Ann Hallenberg Ginevra – Laura Cherici Dalinda – Marta Vandoni Iorio Polineso – Mary-Ellen Nesi Re di Scozia – Carlo Lepore Lurcanio – Zachary Stains Odoardo – Vittorio Prato Il Complecco Barocco Conductor – Alan Curtis
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