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Serse was the first Handel opera I saw on stage, where its rare blend of comedy and romance came across as especially piquant. Those comic elements – deft touches of parody, irony and farce – are presumably much harder to realise in the studio. So whereas William Christie’s 2003 live recording makes good use of the flamboyant characterisation and volatile energy that fuel onstage humour, Christian Curtyn’s new studio version eschews comic exaggeration for a more nuanced and sensitive account of the plot’s romantic entanglements. Recitatives flow smartly and the top class soloists include Anna Stéphany as the mad, bad and dangerous Serse, David Daniels as the lovelorn Arsamene and Rosemary Joshua as the faithful Romilda. With its short, tuneful arias and amorous imbroglios, Serse is delectable baroque entertainment, and the Early Opera Company’s polish and vivacity seem a fair exchange for Curnyn’s downplaying of the broader humour on offer.

Graham Lock Read the full review on Agora Classica

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Early Music Today, 2013 - ©Rhinegold Publishing