Culture Magazine

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Giulio Cesare

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
The Met imports a British production of Händel's most famous opera.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

Metropolitan Opera Preview: Giulio Cesare

Cocktails in Egypt: David Daniels (right) and Natalie Dessay as Caesar and Cleopatra
in the Met's new production of Giulio Cesare. Image © 2012 The Metropolitan Opera.

The Metropolitan Opera continues to be a showcase for the performance and production of baroque opera. Here, the company imports David McVicar's 2005 production of Giulio Cesare (alternate title: Giulio Cesare in Egitto) to the big stage as a vehicle for countertenor David Daniels (in the title role) and soprano Natalie Dessay as Cleopatra. This is the last new production of the 2012-2013 season.
Despite the British origin of this work (it premiered in London in 1724) the plot of Giulio Cesare has nothing to do with Shakespeare or that historical figure's assassination. Handel's opera retells the doomed romance between the Egyptian queen and the Roman military leader. The two leads have great opportunity for florid vocal display, with eight arias each.
Giulio Cesare is not some rarity dusted off by historical archivists. The work is considered to be Händel's finest, with musical invention, multiple orchestras at one point and other innovations that made it the most popular  stage work in 18th centiry London. It was one of the first baroque works to be revived in the 20th century (in a version using a baritone Caesar.) The Met will present an authentic 18th centurty style performance, conducted by Harry Bickett.
Giulio Cesare opens April 4, 2013.
Recording Recommendations:
Concerto Köln cond. Rene Jacobs (harmonia mundi, 1992)
Cesare: Jennifer Larmore
Cleopatra: Barbara Schick
Tolomeo: Derek Lee Ragin
Yes, the price is steep but this is a whopper of a set: a four-disc absolutely complete account of this famous score with mezzo Jennifer Larmore in her prime in the title role.

Les Musiciens de Louvre cond. Marc Minkowski (DG Archiv, 2003)
Cesare:  Marljana Miijanovic
Cleopatra: Magdalena Kozena
Tolomeo: Bejun Mehta
This is a live recordng of the opera made in Vienna under Mr. Minkowski, a period performance specialist. What's valuable here is the sense of electricity and live theater that you get from this recording. A cast of fine young singers (including Magdalena Kozena as a rare mezzo Cleopatra) give excellent account of themselves.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Metropolitan Opera Preview: Die Walküre

    Metropolitan Opera Preview: Walküre

    Robert Lepage's high-flying production returns. Anger management: Bryn Terfel as Wotan in Die Walküre.Photo by Ken Howard © 2011 The Metropolitan Opera. Read more

    By  Superconductor
  • City Opera: Vagabonds No More

    City Opera: Vagabonds More

    The New York City Opera announces its 2012-2013 season. "He'll flip ya. Flip ya fo' real."At today's presser, General Manager George Steel demonstrates his... Read more

    By  Superconductor
  • Review: Teseo (Chicago Opera Theater)

    Review: Teseo (Chicago Opera Theater)

    Teseo Music by George Frideric Handel Directed by James Darrah Conducted by Michael Beattie at Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph (map) thru May 2 | tickets:... Read more

    By  Chicagotheaterbeat
  • Opera Review: Mozart, Occupied

    Opera Review: Mozart, Occupied

    New York Opera Exchange opens a Così on Wall St. by Paul Pelkonen Mozart: 18th century anarchist.Photoshopped by the author. The New York Opera Exchange is... Read more

    By  Superconductor
  • Opera Review: Formula One

    Opera Review: Formula

    Karita Mattila burns up The Makropulos Case. Absolutely fabulous: Karita Mattila in The Makropulos Case.Photo by Ken Howard © 2012 The Metropolitan... Read more

    By  Superconductor
  • Opera Preview: Telemann's Orpheus

    Opera Preview: Telemann's Orpheus

    The City Opera presents a long-lost baroque masterpiece. by Paul Pelkonen Don't look back: Orpheus and Eurydice escape from Hades. Read more

    By  Superconductor
  • Opera Review: Blonde and Dangerous

    Opera Review: Blonde Dangerous

    The Philadelphia Orchestra presents Elektra. by Paul Pelkonen She's a lumberjack: Eva Johansson as Elektra.Photo by Martin Mydskov Rønne © 2006 Zurich... Read more

    By  Superconductor

Paperblog Hot Topics