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In the 1730s Handel compiled three pasticci, taking the music almost entirely from his own earlier works. Whereas Oreste (1734) and Alessandro Severo (1738) were heroic opera seria, Giove in Argo (1739) was a pastoral fantasy and differed too in featuring numerous choruses, which Handel presumably included as a sop to his audience’s growing preference for oratorio. Winton Dean dismissed Giove in Argo as an ‘unsatisfactory hotchpotch’ and it certainly feels like a hasty cut- and-paste job, with the imported arias losing much of their resonance and impact in the new setting. Still, Handel’s music can charm, irrespective of context, and it is well sung here by a strong cast headed by Karina Gauvin and Ann Hallenberg. A smattering of newly composed arias and ariosos may also tempt the curious, but – despite its handful of incidental pleasures – Giove in Argo is a very minor work, of interest chiefly to completists.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing