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Order number S 108 080
Georg Friedrich Händel: Alcina
Cover La Traviata
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Alcina: Anja Harteros
Ruggiero: Vesselina Kasarova

Morgana: Veronica Cangemi
Bradamante: Sonia Prina
Oronte: John Mark Ainsley
Melisso: Christopher Purves
Oberto: Deborah York

Bavarian State Orchestra
Ivor Bolton
Recorded live at the Prinzregententheater in Munich, July 2005

(German, English)
· text
· libretto (German, English, Italian)
The festival premiere of ALCINA at the Prinzregententheater on July 17th 2005 was, like so many other premieres of baroque operas, a highlight of the Munich opera season. Who does not like to think back to "Poppea", "Rinaldo" or, needless to say, "Giulio Cesare".
The production featured Anja Harteros and Vesselina Kasarova, two superstars of the international opera scene. Under the approved direction of Ivor Bolton, the entire ensemble was celebrated by the audience with standing ovations, and no less euphoric was the echo in the press!
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"[] atmospherically captured and of great tonal beauty, a highly vivid performance. [] an agile ensemble spraying one vocal spark after the other. The title role is brilliantly presented by Anja Harteros in shining soprano colours, hitting the exact balance between expression and artistry. Even the supporting parts feature highly elaborate coloraturas by Veronica Cangemi, Sonia Prina and others. [] very recommendable recording []."
hifi & records, Uwe Steiner, 1-2008

"[…] Ivor Bolton’s musical effort at the conductor’s desk of the brilliantly performing Bavarian State Orchestra is characterised by profound expression and an appreciation for the essence of the work.  Handel’s score is presented very smoothly nuanced and in a vivid flow. Anja Harteros is a highly expressive Alcina. Vesselina Kasarova makes memorable use of the rich, melodious sound and the versatility of her characteristic mezzo-soprano for the role of Ruggiero. []."
Die Rheinpfalz, rg, 3.11.07

"…first class ensemble of soloists…Especially Anja Harteros as Alcina and Vesselina Kasarova as Ruggiero stand out with their colourful vocalisation and high virtuosity. []"
Dresdner Neueste Nachrichten, K.N., 17.12.07

"[…] In a beguilingly vocal fusion, Anja Harteros in the title role and Vesselina Kasarova as Bradamante head a choice ensemble which, conducted by Ivor Bolton, enchanted the audience at the Bavarian State Opera with their performance of 'Alcina'."
Die Welt, Manuel Brug, October 2007

"There is no better way to perform Händel! […] Veronica Cangemi as Morgana sets the first standard: She sounds warm, airy, tempting – and technically flawless. Just as brilliant: Vesselina Kasarova as Ruggiero and the entire ensemble. However, as excellent as they all may be, Anja Harteros leaves them in the dust. Her performance as Alcina is so captivating that no-one will understand anymore, why Ruggiero is leaving her. She is supported by the excellent quality of the recording […]"
Partituren, Jan/Feb 2008, KH

"With a tight orchestral sound and a festival tension especially tangible in surround sound, Ivor Bolton plays against all Händel clichés. Action-packed recitatives, psychologically complex, intimate, almost ruminant arias. Vesselina Kasarova is the star of the world class ensemble; her tonal balance between alto and countertenor is perfect. The title role is given a dramatic range by Anja Harteros […]"
Audio, Malte Ruhnke, December 2007

"[] achieving altogether high standards. Ivor Bolton conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra gives us a rich orchestral sound with downright toe-tapping tempi, biting rhythms and thrilling accentuation. [] Anja Harteros performs the title role with a carefully regulated, sensuous vibrato, great intelligence, exemplary articulation, and the distinguished euphony of a freely flowing soprano voice which is secure even in coloratura passages.   [] Vesselina Kasarova  - currently one of the most fascinating, charismatic of expressive singers around, and this results in her glowing performance of Ruggiero being all the more explicit. []"
Das Opernglas, W. Borchers / A. Thot, Heft Nr. 11

" [] legendary production of ‘Alcina’ in Munich [] Although Christof Loy’s production remains hidden from us ( this is a CD and not a DVD- as FARAO classics point out, ) one regrets this less and less, the more one listens – so vividly is the music performed, allowing the circumstances of the action to be understood. For this, the fascinated listener has to thank the captivating delivery of these excellent actresses - Harteros and Kasarova, with their perceptive sense of colour. [] absolutely full-blooded baroque performance practice [] Powerful, rich in colour and musically full of inspiration, without degenerating into heavy handedness or crudeness, this mischievous conductor prepares us a feast, which, now  preserved on disc, will brighten up the gloomy season with three and a quarter hours of merrymaking."
Thüringische Landeszeitung, Wolfgang Hirsch, 17.11.07

"… she (Anja Harteros) sounds the depths of Alcina’s soul perfectly, allows the character to develop and at the same time shines out with her extremely agile, slender yet assertive soprano voice. She has in Veronica Cangemi’s performance of the role of Morgana, a true and evenly matched relative. [] It is precisely this live flavour [] which in partnership with Ivor Bolton’s essential grasp of the score that endows this 'Alcina' with its singular dynamism."
Musik an sich, Sven Kerkhoff, November 2007

"Baroque titbit… [] the recording from the Munich Prinzregententheater leaves a fabulous musical impression. [] thus the figure of the sorceress Alcina, with the distinguished emotional breadth of Anja Harteros grows vocally (and also theatrically!)  into a female figure of some greatness. [] Top marks, vocally, go to Vesselina Kasarova, who so excitingly sounds out the torn soul of the trouser role of the young hero Ruggiero. The secondary roles are also marked by their pithy delivery [] Ivor Bolton caters for dramatic tension [] Multi channel listening makes the music seem extraordinarily rich in contrast."
klassik.com, Egon Bezold, 12.11.07

"… As was to be expected, Ivor Bolton and the Bavarian State Orchestra perform outstanding baroque music in such an exhilarated and exact way that even die-herd sceptics are simply swept away …"
The Art of Culture, Marcel H. Swoboda, Oktober 2007

"Sometimes, this is the way it goes with the highlights of the Munich State Opera: They are taken off the program much too early, even though the fans cannot see and hear enough of them. But at least, Handel’s Alcina is now available on CD. And once again, one can experience the sensuality, the eroticism, and the delicate noblesse of this production featuring the wonderful duo Anja Harteros (title role) and Vesselina Kasarova (Ruggiero). Under the musical direction of the ever energetic Ivor Bolton, the Bavarian State Orchestra effortlessly stands up to experts for old music …"
Münchner Merkur, th, 17.10.07