Classical Opera Company - Artaxerxes - The Sunday Times
Artaxerxes, premiered in London in 1762 and for nearly 80 years thereafter a repertoire piece, is an Italian opera seria with a libretto (the composer's translation from Metastasio) in English. The music, however, is far from parochial, with as rich an array of influences as any Handel. Page and co achieved a signal success when they revived the piece, with newly composed recitatives (by Page) and finale (by Duncan Druce), at Covent Garden in 2009. This recording, more intimate than epic, happily preserves that achievement. Christopher Ainslie is outstanding in the title role.