Baroque-perfect as Baroque-perfect can be
In the opera, mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux (in one of her growing list of “trouser” roles) is Ariodante, betrothed to his beloved Ginevra (soprano Rosemary Joshua). Their upcoming marriage is blessed by her father the King (bass Kimm Julian). But the duke Polinesso (countertenor David Walker) lusts after Ginevra. She rebuffs him; and in revenge he schemes with her lady-in-waiting Dalinda (soprano Christine Brandes) who is in love with him, to thwart the marriage. He almost succeeds and the plot thickens: Ariodante attempts to end his life and Ginevra, falsely accused of infidelity, is desperately driven to madness. But unlike the more popular story of young love, this is not a tragedy, and as fate would have it, the bad guy dies, and Ariodante and Ginevra, as well as Dalinda and Ariodante’s brother Lurcanio (tenor Bruce Fowler) who has long been in love with the now repentant Dalinda, are joined in marriage and live happily ever after. (Click HERE to watch a videotaped interview of Vivica Genaux on the music and the story of Ariodante.)
The singing was near-flawless as were the character portrayals and, happily for an opera about young love, the singers all looked the part. Handel himself couldn’t have asked for more beauty of tone or greater vocal agility which, in an opera lasting for three hours and packed with beautiful arias and duets, the singers had numerous opportunities to display. And they did! With high-caliber performances such as this, Ariodante soon will be a lesser known opera no more.
And how the critics RAVED!!!
Listen to Vivica talk about Ariodante with Nicolas Reveles, San Diego Opera’s Director for Education.