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You’ll remember that Handel’s version is a comedy, but Leonardo Vinci’s 1725 effort, based on the same libretto – described by opera manager Owen Swiney as ‘the very worst book (excepting one) that I ever read in my whole life’ – really doesn’t seem to be. This is a live recording of what must have been a very tedious evening in the theatre. Handel admired Vinci but this performance makes him sound very ordinary – an uninspired imitator of Vivaldi, full of hammering bass-lines and tiresome sequences. The conducting (Antonio Florio) has no life, the playing (I Turchini) little variety, the music itself only rarely blossoms out of standard Baroque pleasantness into something more interesting; you have to wait a long time for relief from the combined weight of common time, squarely bashed harpsichord and coloratura-by-numbers, but there are moments of relief when the characters get soppy with harps and drooping melodies. Good singing, though Sonia Prina occasionally sounds stretched.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica


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