Handel: G. Cesare "Al lampo dell'armi" Andreas Scholl (live)




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Published on Jul 2, 2008

High resolution and stereo sound:

George Frideric Handel
Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17
"Al lampo dell'armi"
Cesare's aria from Act II, Scene 3

Libretto: by Nicola Francesco Haym, after Giacamo Francesco Bussani.

Premiere Cast, February 20, 1724

Cleopatra: Francesca Cuzzoni, soprano
Sesto: Margherita Durastanti, mezzo-soprano
Giulio Cesare: Senesino, alto castrato
Tolomeo: Gaetano Berenstadt, alto castrato
Nireno: Giuseppe Bigonzi, alto castrato
Cornelia: Anastasia Robinson, contralto
Achilla: Giuseppe Maria Boschi, bass
Curio: John Lagarde, bass

In this video:

Andreas Scholl, countertenor
Accademia Bizantina
Direction: Ottavio Dantone

Live performance from Festival de Musique de Dresde, 12 May, 2008

I had uploaded this aria by Scholl from his "Arias for Senesino" album. But due to the technical inefficiencies the sound was very poor. I meant to redo it but never did because of all the other projects I lost myself in. But when I listened to this recent performance of Scholl on radio, I had to get back to my original idea. The sound is still not the top quality one. But it is remarkable, even more so than the recording, the precision he sings with. Sung at the very end of the program, live performance of this aria clearly shows his extraordinary control and precise coloratura without falling behind the tempo or losing his projection. As an added value, his variations in the da capo are impressive yet not exaggerated. This should be a good answer to all the sceptics out there who insist that he sang this in 30-40 takes and the technicians put it together like a jigsaw puzzle, lol :))

"Opera Giulio Cesare in Egitto was first performed at the King's Theatre, Haymarket, London, on 20th of February 1724 with legendary alto castrato Senesino (Francesco Bernardi) performing the title role, Francesca Cuzzoni as Cleopatra. The opera was an immediate success. Handel revived it (with changes) in 1725, 1730, and 1732; it was also performed in Paris, Hamburg, and Brunswick. Like Handel's other works in the opera seria genre, Giulio Cesare fell into oblivion in the 19th century. In the 20th century, it was revived (in heavily altered form - reorchestrated and revamped with the male castrato roles transposed down for a baritone, tenor or bass) in Göttingen in 1922 by the Handel enthusiast Oskar Hagen. Hans Knappertsbusch and Karl Bohm both conducted it in Munich in 1923 and its first American performance took place at the Smith College of Music in Northampton, Massachusetts, in 1927. The first British revival of a Handel opera was the staging of Giulio Cesare at the Scala Theatre in London in 1930, by the London Festival Opera Company, singing in English. The young Herbert Von Karajan conducted a production in Ulm in 1933. In modern times, it has proven to be by far the most popular of Handel's operas, with more than two hundred productions in many countries. The title role and the roles Ptolemy and Nirenus were written for castrati, and in modern productions, Giulio is either transposed for baritone or sung by a contralto, mezzo-soprano, or, more frequently in recent years, a countertenor. The characters of both Nirenus and Ptolemy are sung by countertenors.

The work is considered by many to be Handel's finest Italian opera, possibly even the best in the history of opera seria. It is admired for its superb vocal writing, its dramatic impact, and its deft orchestral arrangements."
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Original text:

Al lampo dell'armi
quest'alma guerriera
vendetta farà.

Non fia che disarmi
la destra guerriera
che forza le dà.


In the flash of an arm
this warrior's soul
will have its revenge.

Let not my warlike arm
be weakened
by the one who gives it strength.


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