Handel: Arminio

Reviewed on Thu 05 May, 2016

The opera is full of wonderful arias. Those requiring a really smooth legato are beautifully sung; others are coloratura works demanding and receiving great skill from all the singers.

Written in 1736, Handel's Arminio has the familiar conflict between love, patriotism and filial duty. The background is of battle between Arminius, a Rhineland prince, and the Roman general Varus. The treacherous Segestes is father of Tusnelda, (Arminius’s beloved wife) and Sigismond, who loves Arminius’s sister Ramisa. Countertenors sing the two roles originally performed by castrati with a third countertenor singing the role of the Roman tribune. The opera is full of wonderful arias. Those requiring a really smooth legato are beautifully sung; others are coloratura works demanding and receiving great skill from all the singers. CD 2 opens with the fantastic 'Quella fiamma': this is a real firework display and also boasts an exciting oboe obligato. Vince Yi is outstanding among a fine cast. There is the happy ending, essential to opera seria, all protagonists joining in a final chorus. The booklet is interesting and contains the libretto in four languages, though the English is strange in places. A thoroughly enjoyable experience!
–Ruth Piatkus