Classical Opera Company - Artaxerxes - Opera Now
01 April 2011Opera Now
Opera Now Choice
The Classical Opera Company has done a huge service to
Thomas Augustine Arne, whose claim to fame until now has been as the composer
of ‘Rule, Britannia!' In his heyday (the
mid-18th century) Arne was a major player in London's musical and theatrical
life following the death of Handel. It
was Handel who remarked, on hearing Artaxerxes,
he ‘had no idea we had such an opera in the English Language'.
The original score for Artaxerxes
was destroyed in a fire at London's Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in 1808, but Ian
Page, the artistic director of the Classical Opera Company, has reconstructed
the work from secondary published sources, adding new recitatives and
commissioning a convincing finale from ‘music restorer' Duncan Druce.
The work was handsomely staged at Covent Garden's Linbury
Theatre in 2009 to celebrate the tercentenary of the composer's birth. Now it appears on this stylish, beautifully
produced recording from Linn Records.
Linn are masters at capturing every detail and nuance of the
performances, and here they have proved that opera is well within their
remit. The orchestra has a natural sheen
and the voices - especially those of the women - are radiant. Countertenor Christopher Ainslie gives a
muscular performance in the title role; Elizabeth Watts and Rebecca Bottone
provide pure vocal class.
Downloads are available on Linn's website at Studio Master
Quality, CD Quality or MP3 (or you can buy the disc, of course).
Related LinksClassical OperaArtaxerxes