Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount




CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Ariodante – opera in three acts HWV 33 (1734-35)
Joyce DiDonato (mezzo) – Ariodante
Matthew Brook (bass) – The King of Scotland
Karina Gauvin (soprano) – Ginerva
Topi Lehtipuu (tenor) – Lurcanio
Marie Nicole Lemieux (contralto) – Polinesso
Sabina Puértolas (soprano) – Dalinda
Anicio Zorzi Giustiniani (tenor) – Odoardo
Il Complesso Barocco/Alan Curtis
rec. January 2010, Villa San Ferma, Lonigo
Texts included
VIRGIN CLASSICS 0708442 [3 CDs: 69:54 + 63:50 + 59:15]

Experience Classicsonline

Ariodante has fared well on disc, and that’s not about to change. Alan Curtis has gathered an estimable vocal team without a weak link, harnessed them to his imaginative, lithe band Il Complesso Barocco, rehearsed thoroughly albeit presumably congenially, and then, still at the Villa San Ferma, Lonigo, set down this three act masterpiece with great flair and imagination.

Too often, weaker Handel operas coast through their first Acts, incrementally building tension but having already dissipated energy too early to create a work that succeeds on every level. With Ariodante one is pitched into the fray without excessive delay. Arias and recitatives, and the ballet music that is so integral a part of the work, all function toward its appointed resolution. With crisp rhythms and resilient orchestral playing to accompany and support them, the solo singers enjoy a perfect platform. Karina Gauvin is Ginerva, and her focused, light, agile, finely scaled voice proves once again estimable whether solo or in ensemble. Polinesso is taken by Marie Nicole Lemieux whose contralto provides the heavy guns, though as her Act I aria Coperta la frode triumphantly demonstrates, this is a singer whose voice and musical sensibilities are of the highest order. Matthew Brook is the Scottish King and manages the tough divisions of Voli colla sua tromba extremely well. His is not a dark chocolately bass but it is focused and stylistically very persuasive indeed. Bigger names have fared much, much worse. He sings splendidly. Topi Lehtipuu is warmly engaging as Lurcanio.

And now to the title role, which is taken by Joyce DiDonato. Her initial appearance makes a lovely impression. She has the voice, the shading, and the technique for the role, and immediately establishes via her arioso Qui d’amor nel suo linguaggio, that she has the personality for it too. She continues in this vein too, proving that she is as fine a mezzo in this role as any on disc. Naturally one’s reservations are personal but in my case persistent. I find, in the context, that the B section of Scherza infida, that recital favourite, is too elastic; that the pause is too ostentatious and knowing – too stagey in short. Also, surely her ornaments are too discursive here, even more so on the return to the ‘A’, which lacks simplicity and repose. The ornaments on long phrases are beautiful – consistently so – but it’s the shorter ones that disconcert me. If you notice the bassoon line, weirdly trilling along, you’ll be doing well.

The opening scene of Act III is intensely dramatic; the recitatives are well paced and whilst DiDonato’s own trilling in Cieca notte is only half successful, it’s of little real account.

Soprano Sabina Puértolas takes on the relatively small role of Dalinda but there is nothing small about her voice, which is excellently calibrated and theatrically impressive. Puértolas’s martial divisions in Neghittosi, or voi che fate? are fiercely etched. When we arrive at Dopo notte we find that DiDonato has a full complement of panache and resplendent tone for it; splendid all round. The two balancing duets for Lurcanio and Dalinda, and then for Ariodante and Ginerva are accomplished with great imagination, balance and tonal sensitivity.

So this highly successful account can now be considered a real front-runner. Minkowski [457 271-2] has Sophie von Otter and Lynne Dawson as well as the formidable, indeed paint-stripping, Polish contralto Ewa Podles. None is demonstrably superior to Curtis’s cast however and I prefer DiDonato to von Otter tonally. McGegan [HMU 907146/8] had the great advantage of Lorraine Hunt in the title role; I wouldn’t ever be without that great singer, notwithstanding DiDonato’s excellence. Ivor Bolton’s cast included Ann Murray, a stellar Handelian, but the other roles are not quite so consistently cast, and I prefer the Curtis recording on this account. Further back, of course, there is Janet Baker with Raymond Leppard, whose LP box still graces my shelves. Like Hunt, Baker’s tone is richer than DiDonato’s, and again there’s no chance of my forsaking her interpretation.

But this new set has real advantages. The full ballet music is here, the work is performed with stylish affection, the ensemble is water-tight, the recording quality is outstanding, and the title role is taken with great authority.

Jonathan Woolf

























































































Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.